Fuzzy Math Demolition of the Day

Ryan Chittum does a number on a widely-linked Steve Moore column, which had claimed that Democrats had plans for a 62 percent top tax rate. The way that Moore compares a 28 percent Reagan tax rate to the 63 percent nightmare is eye-popping.

For Moore’s headline purposes he includes state taxes to get to 62 percent, but when he compare it to rates under Reagan, he doesn’t include state taxes.

The comparison is much more misleading than that, really. Moore is also including things like payroll taxes to come up with his fake 62 percent number, while not including them in that 28 percent Reagan figure. You can’t do that, boss.

The column is pretty bad, but it’s also unnecessary, because almost nothing in the budget and debt debates is as dead and fetid as a discussion of tax hikes. They’re not happening. The most Democrats can hope for is some down-the-line discussion of flatter progressive taxes.

(Via Bruce Bartlett.)