Excuse me, Democrats: Bush's tax cuts made income taxes more progressive

"It all started with the Bush tax cuts that favored the wealthy," Lincoln Chafee said Tuesday night. It was the second time he made that assertion — that the Bush tax cuts favored the wealthy. This is dogma on the American Left, and it's taken as truth by much of the mainstream media.

Chafee's wording is vague enough that it would be silly to conduct a Pinnochio-style fact check on him, instead it's valuable to explain what he's omitting.

Yes, across-the-board cuts to the federal income tax are more valuable, dollarwise, to higher earners, because higher earners pay more income tax. A more informative way to study whether an income tax cut "favors the wealthy," is to ask, "does it give a higher percentage tax cut to higher-earning taxpayers or lower-earning taxpayers?"

The 2001 Bush tax cut knocked about 7.8 million taxpayers down to zero in federal income tax liabilty — so that's a 100 percent tax cut. In general, this was a much higher proportion tax cut the less money you made.

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