Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

PolitiFact: Reagan tax cuts benefited biggest incomes

The statement

In the 1980s, "The lowest income people had the biggest gains."

Stephen Moore of the Wall Street Journal, on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher on Jan. 21

The ruling

Rachel Maddow got into a back-and-forth with Stephen Moore of the Wall Street Journal on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher.

Moore got the ball rolling with, "I say the Reagan tax cuts were the greatest economic policy of the last 50 years."

Moore said the economy boomed. Maddow said the deficit went up. Moore said the value of assets soared.

"Awesome," Maddow said. "What happened to the top first, 1 percent of the country? Their income went up roughly 80 percent."

"Everybody's income went up," Moore said.

Maddow began to cite a statistic about median wage from 1980 to 1990 when Moore interrupted.

"The facts are the facts, Rachel. The lowest income people had the biggest gains," Moore said.

Gary Burtless, an economist at the centrist-to-liberal Brookings Institution, said U.S. census data doesn't back Moore up.

According to census data, when presented in equivalent 2009 dollars, the income among the lowest fifth of the population increased about 6.3 percent (from $10,682 to $11,400). That's the lowest gain compared to other quintiles. Incomes rose 28.2 percent among the top 5 percent.

"These results clearly show that low-income Americans did not obtain the biggest income gains between 1980 and 1990," Burtless said.

According to the U.S. census, the share of the aggregate income received by families decreased in every quintile except the top quintile (where it increased from 41.1 to 44.3 percent). In other words, the richest Americans held a larger share of all income in 1990 than in 1980.

Economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez also analyzed income via tax data. According to their study, average inflation-adjusted income (pre-tax) per family in the top 1 percent increased from $427,000 in 1980 to $661,000 in 1990. That's a 55 percent increase. Meanwhile, the average per family in the bottom 90 percent fell from $30,900 in 1980 to $30,800 in 1990.

Saez, an economics professor at the University of California at Berkeley, said there was "increased concentration at the top and big losses at the bottom."

We rule Moore's statement False.

For other rulings, go to PolitiFact.com.

PolitiFact: Reagan tax cuts benefited biggest incomes 02/03/11 [Last modified: Thursday, February 3, 2011 9:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions in county funding toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]
  2. Small helicopter crashes into Odessa home

    Accidents

    ODESSA — Firefighters and sheriff's deputies were investigating Monday after a small helicopter crashed into the roof of a house in northwest Hillsborough County.

    Rescuers respond to a crash of a small helicopter on the roof of a home in the Odessa area on Monday. [Hillsborough County Fire Rescue]
  3. State investigation cites multiple failures in death of Largo child

    News

    LARGO — It was sweltering in the bedroom of the Largo mobile home the day a child welfare case manager visited in July.

    Liz Rutenbeck, 24, poses with her son William in a Facebook photo. Baby William Hendrickson IV died while his mother was in jail after police said his father left ihim in a sweltering room.  A state investigation into the boy's death found multiple failures on the part of the child welfare system.
  4. 'Siesta Key' star punched in face, not sure who did it

    News

    TAMPA —Alex Kompothecras, cast member on MTV's reality show "Siesta Key," tells police he was punched in the face outside a bar in Tampa's SoHo district.

    Alex Kompothecras, Juliette Porter, Pauly Apostolides, Madisson Hausburg, Chloe Trautman, Garrett Miller, Kelsey Owens and Brandon Gomes pose for a photo in Siesta Key in June before the debut of the MTV reality series Siesta Key. [
EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Editorial: Senate health care bill would be disastrous for Florida

    Editorials

    The frantic effort by Senate Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with something — anything — ranks raw politics over sound policy and threatens the health care of millions of Floridians. It is a desperate attempt to declare victory by shifting responsibility from the federal government …

    Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks in August in Doral.