Monday, August 08, 2005

Good Question

From over on Crooked Timber:

...a few days ago that Senator Rick Santorum made a claim in an online interview about federal taxation. Senator Santorum said that the federal tax rate for the average family has gone up from 2% (in 1950) to 27% today. Furthermore, he claimed that income from a second worker simply replaces the money that the family pays in increased federal taxes. They would enjoy the same net income if taxes went back to 1950 levels and the second worker stayed at home.

I’m really rather sure that this isn’t true. I’m relying on the Tax Policy Center: They say that federal taxes on a family of four at the median income have gone up from about 7.4% to about 14.4%, and that the family would have saved $4436 if we could roll back tax rates. That doesn’t correspond to the Senator’s story.

I checked last night, and Santorum repeats this point in his book, It Takes a Family. It’s on page 123 and 124, and there’s no source. (There’s a bibliography of sorts, but it just lists a series of sources used in each section. There’s no way to connect any specific point to any source.) When I called his press office again to ask for a source, they referred me to the publisher, who couldn’t help me. Nonetheless, he’s repeated this claim at least two more times, on Hardball with Chris Matthews and on Fox News.

Shouldn’t the Senator care whether what he’s saying is right or wrong? Wouldn’t it be nice if a journalist asked him about it?

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