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Steve, the first chart does show how the rich got the biggest tax cut. I know, I know, they also paid the most, and it is hard to cut when no or little taxes are paid in the first quintile.

Great find though. Does show how the redistribution argument is so weak. We can always give more, but at what costs?

Good analysis to indicate that the tax cuts posed no additional hardship on lower income earners.

Two trillion dollars in total federal tax receipts....boggles the mind, doesn't it? $70 billion for the Department of Education. Can someone tell me what we are getting for that $70 billion?

I'll wager some sharp people could
find 5% to cut from federal spending and we would see no reduction in services.

Steve, the left thinks everything is broke, so no help there.

Bob:
the Department of Education spending is I believe mostly on student loans interest subsidy and maybe on No Child Left Behind act (I'm nor sure thought if it is the same or seperate budget).

The actual (and huge) education spending is on state level (as the USA constitution stipulates).

How about eliminating the income (corporate and individual) tax and social security tax and go with a progressive labor tax on business. No more wealthy people complaining about paying too much in taxes. And business can keep tax rates lower by keeping a lid on upper pay scales. Of course if a company decides to highly compensate and pay the tax, well that's the company's decision. Same with the gas tax. I would like to see $2 or $3 per gallon. If you choose to drive 50 miles to work each way in a gas guzzler, that's your choice.

mark - Unless I'm mistaken, what you're proposing is that self-employed people would pay no taxes, and that corporations would pay a progressive tax (calculated per individual worker) on the wages they pay people. Since you're also proposing eliminating income and SS taxes, then that resulting tax on wages would have be very high indeed.

In other words, the owners of a business would pay very low taxes (since they would receive their money as dividends instead of wages, and there would be no income tax) but the tax system would force them to pay their workers as little as possible to decrease the company's tax burden.

Essentially you've proposed the most regressive tax structure I've ever encountered.

"the first chart does show how the rich got the biggest tax cut"

Yet, doesn't the second chart show that the rich pay the same percent of taxes as they have before? Calling a reduction in marginal tax rates a "tax cut" is misleading because the rich still pay the same percentage of taxes and they currently pay MORE dollars than ever before.

"go with a progressive labor tax on business"

Why would you want to tax employment? Either Bermuda becomes an even more attractive place to headquarter a business or everyone becomes an independent contractor. If it wasn't for tax-advantaged retirement plans, a consumption tax instead of income/fica would probably be the most consistent and fairest. The problem is that it would be too tempting for Washington to keep income/fica in place in addition to a consumption tax.

Hey, congrats on being recognized on CNBC. It's about time.

Kkrsystof,

My question was loaded. NCLB is roughly 23.4 billion while Pell Grants and other financial aid amount to about 15.4 billion. So, there is money being dolled out (financial aid is good) but I seriously question the effectiveness of the federal government on programs and initiatives by central bureaucracies.

As an example, Goal 3 of the NLCB strategic plan is drug free schools. Right. Did you know that a school cannot search a locker for drugs without getting sued by the ACLU?

IF we're serious about fixing public schools it starts with the district school board. You can throw all sorts of money at this but if the board is lax on governance, discipline and curriculum you might as well burn it.

Oh yeah, and do away with tenure.

Interesting data, and it jibes with the IRS data here http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/06asa04tables.xls .

Another advantage of the IRS data is that it shows the change in the share of total income within the various percentile groups.

Seems to show that income disparity generally has declined under Bush. Although it increased in 2004 after the 2003 tax cuts, it has not gone back to the record disparities of 2000. It may well be that disparity is associated with broad economic progress.

However extremely strong centralizations of wealth, as in totalitarian regimes, are not productive.

Perhaps there is an optimal distribution, that leads to broad economic prosperity, and both the flatter and the narrower distributions are associated with relative economic decline.

"IF we're serious about fixing public schools it starts with the district school board."

No, it starts with giving the consumer the right to seek independent alternatives without penalty. We aren't going to (and shouldn't) eliminate public support for education, but we shouldn't use the subsidy to create an education cartel.

Political manipulation of the school board doesn't solve the problem because it doesn't address the problem of restricted consumer choice.

It isn't that the school boards (or whoever would control them) underperform by intention, but the essence of management is compromise and balance (to use scarce resources for their best effect) and without competition there is no test for the optimality of that balance.

Mazzula,

I think you misunderstood my viewpoint. If schools are to change, parents are going to have to get more involved. If parents expect the schools to do everything and be everything and not actively challenge what is going on, it's not going to improve. You can build fancy air conditioned schools with the latest equipment....and fill them up with pampered, spoiled, unchallenged kids and it goes to pot. Literally.

I've raised 2 children in an upper middle class school district and know first hand how school boards, unchecked, operate. And, may I add that the liberal left is ruining our schools.

Your point about competition is valid and competition is long overdue. My point to all parents.....get off your a--, get your head out of the sand and monitor what the heck is going on. Then work to change it at the local level where it belongs. Don't expect the federal nanny to come up and babysit it for you.

"And, may I add that the liberal left is ruining our schools."

Yes, I agree with everything you wrote above. Parents need to be more involved, despite the resistance of schools to accommodate parental concerns.

Why should educators ignore the informed consent of students any more than physicians can ignore the informed consent of patients?

But note that the problem goes beyond the agenda of those who are running the schools, and their fear of a parental veto. In my view, the worse problem is that those who are running the schools don't seem to understand that they are imposing an agenda at all.

It is as though they say, "I object to your wanting X to be taught whereas I want to teach Y, so I claim the Bill of Rights forbids teaching X and mandates Y. After all, my belief in Y is justified and true, and therefore there is no first amendment right for you to disagree."

As a believer in the disparaged "X", I would rather schools taught X than Y, but in a better world neither side would claim their truth was a constitutional mandate. No one knowingly prefers ignorance, so the best course to decide truth is a vibrant marketplace of ideas.

Report has been out a while.

Roundly discussed on several blogs.

16% of federal spending (not including Iraq, the $110B this year) goes to the 'rough men', with serious profits for the suppliers, who let you all sleep peaceably at night.

I say it is too much to spend.

Top quintile gets much more from the rough men than bottom quintile.

Report has been out a while.

Roundly discussed on several blogs.

16% of federal spending (not including Iraq, the $110B this year) goes to the 'rough men', with serious profits for the suppliers, who let you all sleep peaceably at night.

I say it is too much to spend.

Top quintile gets much more from the rough men than bottom quintile.

In order to get better schooling, the parents have to get more involved.
If the parents get more involved, they have less time to spend making money.
If the parents are making less money, they pay less taxes.
If the parents pay less taxes, then the schools get less money.
If the schools get less money, their quality of education declines.

Funny how these things always come back to bite us. Free public schools aren't free. Personally, I'd rather pay my own money for my children's schooling, because then the school would at least have some stake in making sure I'm satisfied with the quality of their education.

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