According research by Nobel Prize-winning economist Peter Diamond and Emmanuel Saez, the optimal top income tax rate for wealthy earners is about 70 percent, far below today’s top rate of 35 percent. Diamond and Saez argue that the top tax rate should be set at the point where it maximizes revenue, which can then be used to aid lower-income Americans. They also note that “even increasing the average federal income tax rate of the top percentile to 43.5 percent, which would be sufficient to raise revenue by 3 percentage points of GDP, would still leave the after-tax income share of the top percentile more than twice as high as in 1970.” (HT: Americablog)
For how long can we afford to ignore these pesky Nobel Prize winners? You know, like Paul Krugman.
This is so, so sad.
From the National Priorities Project (a wonderful site you should subscribe to):
The average Bush tax cut in 2011 for a taxpayer in the richest one percent is greater than the average income of the other 99 percent ($66,384 compared to $58,506).
What’s wrong with this picture?
Who are the most-informed news viewers?
No surprise: it’s not those who watch Fox.
According to the latest results from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind Poll, some news sources make us less likely to know what’s going on in the world. In the most recent study, the poll asked New Jerseyans about current events at home and abroad, and from what sources – if any – they get their information. The conclusion: Sunday morning news shows do the most to help people learn about current events, while some outlets, especially Fox News, lead people to be even less informed than those who say they don’t watch any news at all.
Among other topics, New Jerseyans were asked about the outcome of the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East this past year. While 53% of New Jerseyans know that Egyptians were successful in overthrowing the government of Hosni Mubarak, 21% say that the uprisings were unsuccessful, and 26% admit they don’t know. Also, 48% know that the Syrian uprising has thus far been unsuccessful, while 36% say they don’t know, and 16% say the Syrians have already toppled their government.
But the real finding is that the results depend on what media sources people turn to for their news. For example, people who watch Fox News, the most popular of the 24-hour cable news networks, are 18-points less likely to know that Egyptians overthrew their government than those who watch no news at all (after controlling for other news sources, partisanship, education and other demographic factors). Fox News watchers are also 6-points less likely to know that Syrians have not yet overthrown their government than those who watch no news.
The best informed are those who watch Sunday morning news shows, read the New York Times or USA Today (the second surprised me), or listen to the non-profit NPR radio network.
Hats off to the informed!
And those of you watching Fox News? You’d be better off reading The Onion.