From Michael McPhee, White Lake:
Jordan Adams’ response (“Letter writer wrong,” Aug. 3, 2011) to my letter (“Skin in the game,” July 20, 2011) on the Michigan tax reform was a bit wobbly. He rejects a source of mine as being “leftist” without substantiating the claim or providing data to dispute their findings. That source, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, is a non-profit, non-partisan think tank that’s well-respected across the political spectrum. Their data highlights the inequity within our tax codes, particularly our flat-rate income tax. Many newspapers have cited their work, including this one, I believe.
He portrays my preference for a graduated-rate income tax as some sort of radical departure but fails to explain why nearly all other states and the IRS utilize it. Instead, he wanders off point to describe taxes as redistribution of wealth which, even if true, would still be irrelevant. Taxes are inevitable and when the governor (Rick Snyder) sought tax reform to balance the budget, he asked everyone to make a sacrifice and put some skin in the game, but that didn’t occur. GOP lawmakers must have just smiled at each other with a nod and a wink because working families and pensioners all got stuck with higher taxes, but the wealthy were spared and businesses got a huge tax cut.
Nevertheless, he tries to justify the break for businesses by asking readers a loaded question: “Is their situation better or worse than in 2007, when the Michigan Business Tax was enacted?” (As if the crash of 2008 never occurred.) But our decline began much earlier than 2007, dating back to the free trade movement when our jobs first went overseas. Sadly, the answer is the same even if the question is framed around Gov. (John) Engler’s tenure. Jordan Adams says the tax reform is “sound economics,” but his discourse on how lower business taxes can help us sounds like the trickle-down theory, an old, widely discredited idea.
We’re having a jobless recovery in this country today despite a massive federal stimulus. Giving businesses a big tax cut to help create jobs in Michigan may prove just as fruitless. If so, many of us will want a skin graft and a new governor.