Chris Blattman Worries About the Emergence of Yet Another Profession
DeLong: What Has Happened to Milton Friedman's Chicago School? DRAFT

Republican Judd Gregg (R-NH) Is a Liar

So Justin Fox says:

The Curious Capitalist: Judd Gregg’s dubious tax math: Republican New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg (or one of his staffers) writes:

The growth in tax revenues from 2002 through 2007 were some of the largest in history. The tax system became much more progressive, with the top 20% of income earners paying 85% of the taxes -- a rate much higher than during the Clinton years -- all while keeping capital-gains rates low.

I'll blame the WSJ opinion editors for the verb-subject disagreement in the first sentence. But I'm assuming the facts came from Gregg. Except they're not quite facts—and since this sort of tax disinformation is pretty common, I couldn't resist wasting an hour digging up the data to refute them.

Non-fact No. 1: The tax revenue gains from 2002 through 2007 weren't "some of the largest in history," unless you define "some" extremely broadly. Adjusted for inflation, U.S. government revenue rose 20% from 2002 to 2007. That ranks 24th among the 58 rolling five-year periods between the end of World War II and 2007. Just barely above average.... Over the full eight years of the Bush administration, it appears likely that federal revenue growth will be just about zero. Over the eight Clinton years it was 58%.

Non-fact No. 2: The percentage of federal taxes paid by the top 20% of the income distribution in 2005 (the most recent year covered by the Congressional Budget Office's annual examination of tax rates and the income distribution) was 69%. The percentage of federal income taxes was 86%....

The cuts in tax rates on capital gains and dividends during the Bush years accentuated this kink, so on the whole a fair-minded observer would have to say the tax system became somewhat less progressive. Which isn't what Judd Gregg said.