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Media Roundtable: How decades of tax cuts for the rich fuel income and wealth inequality

Lori Erickson

On this edition of Your Call’s Media Roundtable, we discuss an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity about how decades of tax cuts for the rich fuel income and wealth inequality. In 1980, the top income tax rate for individuals was 70 percent. Today, it’s 37 percent.

If the 70 percent rate were still on the books, taxpayers with more than $1 million in income in 2019 could have owed $87.9 billion more in taxes that year, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of IRS data. That’s more than enough money to rebuild and repair all the bridges and water systems across the country slated for work under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed by Congress in 2021.

How have US tax laws led to wealth and income inequality? And how should the media cover the relationship between taxes and widening inequality?


James Steele, Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist, and co-author of America: What Went Wrong? The Crisis Deepens

Web Resources:

The Center for Public Integrity: How four decades of tax cuts fueled inequality

Malihe Razazan is the senior producer of KALW's daily call-in program, Your Call.
Rose Aguilar has been the host of Your Call since 2006. She became a regular media roundtable guest in 2001. In 2019, the San Francisco Press Club named Your Call the best public affairs program. In 2017, The Nation named it the most valuable local radio show.