Taxes and the Economy: An Economic Analysis of the Top Tax Rates Since 1945 (Updated)
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Hungerford, Thomas L.
[Excerpt] Advocates of lower tax rates argue that reduced rates would increase economic growth, increase saving and investment, and boost productivity (increase the size of the economic pie). Skeptics of this view argue that higher tax revenues are necessary for debt reduction, that tax rates on high-income taxpayers are too low (i.e., they violate the “Buffett rule”), and that higher tax rates on high-income taxpayers would moderate increasing income inequality (change how the economic pie is distributed across families). This report attempts to explore whether or not there is any evidence of an association between the tax rates of the highest income taxpayers and economic growth. The analysis in this report does not provide a comprehensive model to examine all the determinants of economic growth. Data are analyzed to illustrate the association between the tax rates of the highest income taxpayers and measures of economic growth.
taxes; economic growth; income; tax rates; income inequality