Robert McIntyre

Robert S. McIntyre is director of Citizens for Tax Justice and a contributing editor for The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

The Taxonomist

Bush's New Math Suppose you're the chief economic adviser to George W. Bush. For the past five months, you've been telling the public and your boss that his tax cut plan will cost $1.3 trillion over 10 years. How do you deal with the fact that your figure is arithmetically impossible? And more important, how do you counter Al Gore's widely reported claim that the Bush tax plan will cost more than $2 trillion over 10 years? That was the conundrum facing Larry Lindsey, Bush's supply-side tax guru. To solve his problem, Lindsey went to the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, whose vice chairman, Bill Archer of Houston, is a strong Bush backer. The committee's staff is widely respected for its nonpartisan analyses, so Lindsey had to frame his question carefully. And he did. First of all, Lindsey asked the committee estimators for a nine-year rather than 10-year estimate. On top of that, he knew that the committee's results would ignore the hundreds of billions of dollars in added...

The Taxonomist:

In a letter to the Washington Post on October 29, the Cato Institute's fiscal-policy director, Chris Edwards, wrote to urge the repeal of the corporate minimum tax. His central argument was that three of the companies that would get the biggest rebates, IBM, General Motors, and General Electric, are way overtaxed now. Indeed, he claimed, these companies paid "an enormous $3.4 billion, $1 billion and $5.7 billion, respectively," in federal income taxes last year. I immediately wrote to the Post to correct Cato's misstatements. The truth is that IBM paid a mere $191 million in taxes on its $5.7 billion in U.S. profits last year, a tax rate of only 3.4 percent. GM actually got a tax rebate of $105 million, despite $2.9 billion in U.S. profits. And GE paid $2.3 billion--not $5.7 billion--on U.S. profits of $13.1 billion. Moreover, GE's semi-respectable 17.7 percent tax rate last year was an aberration; over the previous two years, its tax rate was only 8.8 percent. To get its colossally...

The Reaganites and the Renegade

Conservative Republican strategists are hopping mad at Kevin Phillips. For years, they have embraced (with much success) the notion outlined by Phillips in his 1969 book, The Emerging Republican Majority, that middle-class voters could be wooed by running against the poor. But now, Phillips seems to have deserted his erstwhile allies. In his latest book, The Politics of Rich and Poor, Phillips advances an opposing populist theme that can be embraced only by Democrats: the idea of running against the rich. Phillips's earlier book was based primarily on extensive polling results showing a deep-seated white voter reaction against Democrats after enactment of the 1966 Civil Rights Act (a reaction that Lyndon Johnson himself predicted when he signed the bill). In contrast, his new argument rests mainly on economic data. He relies especially on recent reports from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) showing that over the past twelve years the rich have gotten much richer, while their...