Paul Krugman ends the old year by engaging in his usual habit of misinterpreting data, saying in a blog post that, “it’s now a fact as opposed to a mere projection that Obama significantly raised taxes at the top.” Actually the president can’t set tax rates, and so to whatever extent tax rates were raised, they were raised by Congress.
Further, the chart presented by Dr. Krugman shows that they were raised by a Republican-controlled Congress, a feat which the Democratic-controlled Congress never even attempted when they had a Democratic president. The chart shows that taxes on the rich rose slightly in Obama’s first term when Congress was led by Democrats, and then moved right back down until they were at the same low level in 2012 that they were at in 2007, before Obama was in office.
That’s because Obama could negotiate nothing more than a two-year self-limiting tax increase with a Democratic Congress, and it was not until Republicans controlled the House that a significant, permanent tax increase made it through. That’s hardly the picture painted by Dr. Krugman’s piece.
One could also quibble with Krugman’s claim that an increase from 19% to 25% is “significant.” It strikes me as rather trivial, given that the top rate in 1960 was 90%.
I know, I know, “the Republican minority blocked legislation” and all that, but when a majority cannot execute its agenda, it does not deserve to continue governing as a majority.