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Two points on tax hikes clarified

By  - 1/18/2013

Dear Editor:
 
Thomas Adams did a superb job in his piece on tax hikes ("Looming tax hikes stir debate, questions over outcome," RBJ, 11/30/12), but two subtleties got bollixed, perhaps because I was not clear enough about the details.
 
First, the median wage, not income, has fallen back to 1999 levels, while as Adams accurately reported the average income of the bottom 90 percent (as shown on tax returns) has fallen back to the level of 1967.
 
Second, the meeting of Capitol Hill Republican leaders where they agreed to not cooperate with President Obama took place not when he was elected but the week after his 2009 inauguration. The significance of that meeting is best understood in the context of the insistence by GOP leaders in 2001 that even though President Bush lost the popular vote he had a mandate and that Democrats should therefore approve his tax cuts-which, as some of us predicted at the time, failed to produce any of the promised results, which were more income for all, faster economic growth and no new budget deficits.
 
David Cay Johnston

1/18/13 (c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.