Thursday, March 29, 2007


It's been said that GOP presidential candidates are moving to the right on the war as the country moves to the left. Rudy Giuliani's doing it on the economy, too:

As Forbes Endorses Giuliani, Giuliani Endorses a Flat Tax

Rudolph W. Giuliani accepted the endorsement of Steve Forbes yesterday and embraced Mr. Forbes's signature issue, saying he liked the idea of a flat tax -- something Mr. Giuliani denounced when Mr. Forbes was running for president.

...In 1996, when Mr. Forbes first ran for president, Mr. Giuliani, then the mayor of New York City, disparaged a flat tax in general ... saying the Forbes plan "would really be a disaster."

These days, Mr. Giuliani calls himself an advocate of supply-side economics....

A flat tax? You'll love that if you're already enjoying this:

Income Gap Is Widening, Data Shows

Income inequality grew significantly in 2005, with the top 1 percent of Americans -- those with incomes that year of more than $348,000 -- receiving their largest share of national income since 1928, analysis of newly released tax data shows.

... average incomes for those in the bottom 90 percent dipped slightly compared with the year before, dropping $172, or 0.6 percent.

The gains went largely to the top 1 percent, whose incomes rose to an average of more than $1.1 million each, an increase of more than $139,000, or about 14 percent....

This is a long-term trend, of course, as the accompanying chart makes clear. Please notice when inequality starts to increase, after staying more or less the same for decades:

Yup -- right after Reagan flattened tax rates at the top. And Rudy wants to flatten them even more.

And there's this about the current inequality:

The disparities may be even greater for another reason. The Internal Revenue Service estimates that it is able to accurately tax 99 percent of wage income but that it captures only about 70 percent of business and investment income, most of which flows to upper-income individuals, because not everybody accurately reports such figures.

And what does Rudy want to do about the taxation of investment income, most of which goes to the wealthy?

I've always been in favor of a low capital-gains tax. In fact, as mayor of New York, I used to try to urge--actually removing the capital-gains tax. I thought it would be one of the best special benefits of New York. I couldn't quite get the Congressional delegation to agree with that.

Remember all this next year when you're being told Giuliani's a "moderate."

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