One of the more interesting documents published by the IRS — I know, I know, not the hardest criterion in the world — is its report on the income and taxes of the top 400 taxpayers (pdf). A lot of attention gets focused, rightly, on the remarkably low average tax rate these people pay — less than 17 percent in 2007, the lowest on record.
But I was struck by something else: in several years during the last decade the top 400 accounted for more than 10 percent of all capital gains income in America. Just 400 people!
Conservatives often try to sell the notion that reducing the capital gains tax is about helping small business people. But you really want to think of the fact that a significant chunk of that tax break is going to just 400 people.
And when you think about financial regulation, you similarly want to bear in mind that when asset prices rise, a tiny handful of people get a large chunk of the gains; I don’t know this for sure, but I’d bet that they somehow end up bearing a much smaller share of the losses when the bubble bursts.
Anyway, think about it: a lot of policy is dictated by the interests of a group of people who, if you could separate them from their entourages, would fit easily into McCosh 10.
Just found out one of the big conservative conferences is in the same hotel as Netroots Nation. I’m sure they’ll be tracking us — but we’ll be tracking them, too.
Live – and archived – on BlogTalkRadio: Tuesday May 1 thru Friday May 6
• Scott Tribe joins host Kevin Wood on Virtually Speaking Sundays, the Maple Syrup Edition. The topic is election watch, Canada; from a Liberal Party POV. Scott is the current site admin for Progressive Bloggers, the centre-left blogging aggregate in Canada. A member of the Liberal Party of Canada, he blogs here. Sunday May 1. Listen here beginning 5pm pacific|8pm eastern. Archived herebeginning midnight.
• Digby and Joan McCarter (DailyKos’s mcjoan) together on Virtually Speaking Sundays. What did the Sunday morning talking heads cover, distort or ignore? Consider us a counterpoint. Listen here beginning 6pm pacific|9pm eastern, Sunday, May 1.
• David Swanson - antiwar activist, blogger and the author of War Is A Lie – recently returned from a trip to Afghanistan – on Virtually Speaking Susie with Susie Madrak. Listen here beginning 6pm pacific|9pm eastern, Tuesday, May 3.
• Stuart Zechman, Jay Ackroyd on VS A-Z: This week in liberalism the topic is … tba. | Listen here Thursday May 5 @ 5pm pacific | 8pm eastern. Beginning 8pm eastern, Listen here Beginning midnight May6, archived here.
• Olivier Knox on Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd. Conflicts in the Republican caucus; international concern – or it’s lack – regarding US debt service. Listen here beginning Thursday, May 5 @ 9pm eastern/6pm pacific.
One attendee asked when the country was going to start trying to “trickle up” instead of following failed “trickle down” policies. Later, a frustrated constituent stood up and told Huizenga that his party has been completely captured by the richest Americans, to applause from the audience:
CONSTITUENT: You [by endorsing the Ryan plan] have done something that I have been unable to do trying to explain to my friends, and all my neighbors, and my relatives, that your party has become of the rich by the rich and for the rich! (applause)
Dana Milbank on why he’s not going to the White House Correspondents Dinner. I don’t know why any self-respecting journalist would go, but then, clearly most of them don’t have any self respect.