Friday, October 9, 2009

Another (40 Percent) Marginal Tax Rate

I have emphasized the large implicit marginal tax rates faced by homeowners (with mortgages under water), but renters face a large implicit marginal tax rate too. Professor Kevin M. Murphy writes me:

"You might want to note that the $8,000 new home buyer tax credit provides an additional 40% marginal tax for single households with between 75K and 95K in income and married households with between $150k and $170K of income."

If you are single and a first time home buyer (thus, single but NOT currently a homeowner), you get the full $8000 if you earn less than $75K but nothing if you earn more than $95K. Thus, by earning $20K beyond $75K this person gives up $8 in tax credits (not to mention paying the usual income and payroll taxes). 40% = 8K/20K.

The list of employment-reducing public policies keeps growing:

  • mandating the employers with large payrolls provide health insurance, but that employers with small payrolls do not
  • means-tested mortgage modification (presenting millions of workers with implicit tax rates in excess of 100% (sic))
  • means-tested new home buyer credit
  • mean-tested student loan modification
  • unemployment insurance extensions
  • state income tax hikes,
  • IRS means-tested enforcement of prior tax debts
  • marginal federal tax rate hikes on the "rich"!

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