February 4, 2003 | News Releases on Taxes
Heritage Web Site Offers "Reality Check" on Taxes
Would President Bush's economic growth plan help only the rich?
Would it drive up federal deficits and make Medicare and Social
Security reform all but impossible? How many married couples and
families would save money under the Bush plan? How are dividends
taxed? And who are the "rich," anyway?
There's no shortage of questions when it comes to the frequently
arcane realm of tax and economic policy. Now, thanks to
"Reality Check," a Heritage Foundation Internet feature launched
, there's no shortage of answers, either-quick,
authoritative answers, backed up by hard facts and updated daily to
reflect the latest twists in the tax-cut debate.
"The idea here is to cut through the rhetoric, to set the record
straight and keep it straight," says Heritage economist William
Beach. "Heritage's primary mission is to give the facts that
puncture the political posturing. Like the claim that only the
richest 1 percent would get a break if the double tax on dividends
is eliminated. In fact, more than 84 million Americans own stock in
one form or another, and all would benefit from such a cut."
They're not alone, according to "Reality Check": Under the Bush
plan, 34 million Americans would see the "marriage penalty"
reduced-that quirk in the tax code that forces many two-income
married couples to pay more in taxes than similar couples who
merely live together.
What about the claim that a big tax cut would cause government
revenue to slow to a trickle and force lawmakers to slash funding
for popular programs? That happened in the 1980s, right? Government
figures show otherwise: In 1980, the last year before the 1981 tax
cut, revenues were $956 billion (in constant 1996 dollars), notes
Heritage budget expert Brian Riedl in one of the many short
articles found on "Reality Check." Government revenues exceeded
that amount eight times over the next 10 years. In fact, annual
revenues in that decade averaged $102 billion above their 1980
"The numbers here clearly show that budget deficits rose because
spending rose-not because the tax cut caused government revenues to
dry up," Beach says.
For more see
Heritage's Reality Check