Remember, 95 Percent of Americans Will See a Tax Cut!


That is, if you narrow the definition of "tax" to "federal income tax" (as opposed to, say, federal cigarette taxes or carbon surchages), change the definition of "Americans" to "American households," and "95 percent" to "75.5 percent." And it's better to just ignore the tax-cranking going on at the state and local level:

A free fall in tax revenue is driving more state lawmakers to turn to broad-based tax increases in a bid to close widening budget gaps.

At least 10 states are considering some kind of major increase in sales or income taxes: Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin. California and New York lawmakers already have agreed on multibillion-dollar tax increases that went into effect earlier this year.

This is inevitably being spun as the sad-but-unavaoidable byproduct of the crashing economy. But as Michael Flynn and Adam B. Summers detailed in our bookmarkable May cover story, if states had simply kept their budget growth pegged to GDP growth plus inflation growth (nevermind actually cutting anything) during the comparative good times of 2002-2007, instead of embarking on a spending binge, they would have enough money to cover their current budget "shortfalls."

In a California minute, total U.S. tax rates are jerking northward toward 1970s levels, all at a time when the president and his economic advisers talk about kick-starting consumer spending. It's curious.