Right Hooks

You Say 'Taxes,' He Says 'How High?'

Jul. 26, 2014

CNBC’s Steve Liesman asked Barack Obama, “You’ve said a bunch of times that [we should be] getting the wealthy to pay a little bit more, and you’ve succeeded in raising that top tax rate to 39%, or rolling back the tax cuts. Is there a limit there? Is there a limit to how much you believe the government should take from an individual in terms of a top tax rate?” Obama cavalierly responded, “You know, I don’t have a particular number in mind, but if you look at our history we are still well below what, you know, the marginal tax rates were under Dwight Eisenhower or, you know, all the way up even through Ronald Reagan. Tax rates are still lower on average for most folks. And what that means is that we probably can make some more headway in closing loopholes that folks take advantage of. As opposed to necessarily raising marginal rates.” So much is wrong here: Reagan lowered taxes from a 70% top rate to 28%. And Obama seems to think there’s lots of wiggle room to hike taxes without crushing the economy. But a 1970s-style tax policy is wrong for America.

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