Daily Archives: April 8, 2010

Folbre calculates tax payback year in NY Times Economix Blog

photo by Alan Cleaver

In a recent NY Times Economix blog, Nancy Folbre, UMass Amherst economics professor, calculates tax payback year.  This calculation is “the number of years beyond age 21 that it takes average taxpayers to fully repay the government (and their fellow taxpayers) for the public funds expended on them in their first 21 years.”  She argues that although some dislike paying taxes, it is important to understand that the government pays for us.  Paying taxes after the age of 21 is, in a sense, paying back the money that the government invested in us while we were young.  The benefits we receive from the government, for much of our lifecycle, far exceed the taxes we pay.

April 5, 2010
Tax Payback Year
By:  Nancy Folbre

It takes more than 17 years for average taxpayers simply to repay what older taxpayers invested in them.

You don’t have to take my word for it. If you’re willing to do some fairly detailed research and plug it into a spreadsheet, you can look back and estimate what the government has spent, to date, on you.

Then you can look forward and estimate what you expect to get from the government in health insurance, retirement and other benefits.

Then you can estimate your net taxes in each year — the difference between what you pay and what you get — and see how it varies over time.

Whether or not you like what you see, it will look very different than a picture based on taxes alone.

The Tax Foundation complains that Americans will pay more in taxes in 2010 than they will spend on food, clothing and shelter combined.

But young Americans and old Americans, in particular, will get more in benefits than they pay in taxes.

Let’s remember that we were all once young and hope eventually to grow old.

Ash and Boyce comment on release of Toxic 100 Air Polluters

The latest list of corporate polluters provides data about who is most at risk. (Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images)

 UMass Amherst economics professors and co-directors of PERI’s CTIP (Corporate Toxics Information Project), Michael Ash and James Boyce, discuss the release of  Toxic 100 Air Polluters, which includes the names of the biggest corporate air polluters in the U.S.  This list provides various details on the quantity and toxicity of the chemicals released.  It also includes the percentage of minority and low income people that are being exposed to the toxins.  “People have a right to know about toxic hazards to which they are exposed. Legislators need to understand the effects of pollution on their constituents,” Boyce said in a press release.  Ash agrees noting that by “making this information available, we are building on the achievements of the right-to-know movement… Our goal is to engender public participation in environmental decision making, and to help residents translate the right to know into the right to clean air.” (The Epoch Times, 4/9/2010)

PERI researchers release The Toxic 100 Air Polluters

James Boyce, Professor & Co-Director of PERI's Corporate Toxics Information Project

Researchers at the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI)at UMass Amherst have released the Toxic 100 Air Polluters, an updated list of the top corporate air polluters in the United States. The list informs consumers and shareholders which large corporations release the most toxic pollutants into our air, said UMass Amherst economics Professor James Boyce, co-director of PERI’s Corporate Toxics Information Project.

Amherst, MA – Researchers at the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst today released the Toxic 100 Air Polluters, an updated list of the top corporate air polluters in the United States.

“The Toxic 100 Air Polluters informs consumers and shareholders which large corporations release the most toxic pollutants into our air,” said Professor James Boyce, co-director of PERI’s Corporate Toxics Information Project. “We assess not just how many pounds of pollutants are released, but which are the most toxic and how many people are at risk. People have a right to know about toxic hazards to which they are exposed. Legislators need to understand the effects of pollution on their constituents.”

Read the full press release