The Madeleine Brand Show for April 17, 2012

Too high? Too low? What's the right amount of taxes?

Tax Preparers Help Last-Minute Filers As Tax Deadline Looms

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A pedestrian walks by an H & R Block office on April 15, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Despite having an extra three days to file your income taxes this year, an estimated 15 to 20 million people will wait to the very last minute to file their taxes with a high number relying on tax preparation services.

Happy tax day! Not a typical cause for celebration, but let's use the opportunity to ask whether we should actually be paying more or less in taxes.

The Senate voted against the so-called "Buffett rule", which would have required millionaires to pay at least 30 percent in taxes on investments. Taxes on investments, or capital gains taxes, are typically taxed at a lower rate than income. Critics claim the new tax would do little to remedy the federal deficit, raising $47 billion in revenue when $7 trillion in deficits are expected.

Does higher taxes stifle innovation and growth in the economy? Does lower taxes create an inequality crisis?

Guest:

Tim Noah, senior editor for the New Republic, and author of "The Great Divergence: America's Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do About it."

Richard Rahn, senior fellow at the Cato Institute.


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