A decade has now passed since the Bush-era tax cuts were signed into law, and the topic remains as divisive as ever.
To mark the ten-year anniversary of the tax cuts, extended last year for both upper- and middle-class Americans in a deal to reauthorize unemployment insurance, the non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities published five graphs illustrating how the cuts have changed America, and will continue to do so in the future.
What they find is unevenly distributed benefits. The percentage increase in after-tax income tilts greatly in favor of those making over $1 million, for one, especially when compared to Americans making between $40,000-$50,000. And at a time when the country is sunk in $14.3 trillion worth of debt, it’s adding vastly to deficit, too. Indeed, the cost of the upper-income tax cuts is roughly equal to the Social Security shortfall in that span, CBPP says.
Criticism of the tax cuts has not died, either. In a blog post this week, Roger Hickey, co-founder of the Economic Policy Institute, for example, called the cuts “another experiment in conservative voodoo economics.” And even some of those who’ve benefited most from the cuts now view them unfavorably, specifically the roughly 200 “Patriotic Millionaires” that recently wrote a letter to Congressional Republicans asking that their taxes be raised to help deficit reduction, rather than relying alone on cuts in government spending.
Below are five charts provided by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities showing different ways the Bush tax cuts have affected the nation.