The Washington Post reports on a study showing how Bush's tax cuts benefit the very rich the most, and the middle class the least.
Three successive tax cuts pushed by President Bush will leave middle-income taxpayers paying a greater share of all federal taxes by the end of the decade, according to new analyses of the Bush administration's tax policies.
Citizens for Tax Justice found that for the lowest fifth of taxpayers -- those earning below $16,000 -- federal taxes would fall 10 percent between now and 2010, while federal taxes for those in the second quintile -- earning between $16,000 to $28,000 -- would fall 12 percent. At the other end of the scale, the decline for the top 1 percent of taxpayers -- those making $337,000 and up -- would be 15 percent.
In contrast, for taxpayers earning between $45,000 and $337,000, the decline would be 7 percent, less than half the cut reaped by the very wealthy.
Figuring out whether tax policy benefits the wealthy or the poor is a hotly disputed subject. Liberals favor a progressive tax system in which households pay higher tax rates and a higher share of their total income as they climb up the income ladder. By that measure, the Bush tax cuts have made the tax code less progressive. By 2011, the poorest taxpayers' after-tax income will have risen only 0.3 percent, according to the Tax Policy Center, while household income for the richest 1 percent of taxpayers will have jumped 8.6 percent.