Times Tax Article Based on Out-dated Figures, Arbitrary Data

New York Times reporter David Cay Johnson led the paper’s latest crusade for liberal fluff Thursday with a front-page article on the supposedly horrible news that the rich are getting richer, and simultaneously not having as much of their wealth confiscated by the government.

The article featured recently-released IRS figures that showed in the year 2000, the 400 wealthiest taxpayers accounted for double the U.S. income they did in 1992, while their tax burden "plummeted" about 4%.

Amazingly, the article quotes selective experts who blame President George W. Bush for this trend, even though all of the measured statistics come from years when not he, but Bill Clinton was President. "Regardless of which party these 400 are in, these are the guys Bush wants to help, even though they have so much money they don’t know what to do with it," Citizens for Tax Justice director Robert S. McIntyre told Johnson. "How Bush feels about the half of the population that doesn’t have much money is he got them a tax cut worth an average of $19 each.”

Johnson does not quote anyone implicating President Clinton for the trend that took place while he was president.

"Those seeking to foment class warfare should recall that the results cover the years of the Clinton Administration, not the Bush Administration," said Rep. Jim Saxton (R.-N.J.), Vice Chairman of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee (JEC), in a written statement.

The article was laden with other flaws, as well. According to the press release today by the JEC, more than 75% of the top 400 taxpayers were not in that group in any of the previous years. This, Saxton said, makes it ridiculous to compare successive years against each other.

"Comparing the income and taxes paid by a changing group of people over the years doesn’t convey meaningful information about the changing characteristics of actual taxpayers," Saxton said in the same written statement.

He added that the analysis of 400 was arbitrary, especially since a percentile breakdown would have been a more useful set of data.

"I don’t know what is especially significant about the 400 figure," said Saxton, "but this will tend to be a shrinking proportion of all taxpayers over time."


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