Thursday, August 16, 2012

Income distribution by state

I've spent time looking over and analyzing the tax policies of both parties. There should be a way of figuring out what is the most fair and hopefully best for the country. Is the top marginal tax rate too low? Should capital gains and dividends be taxed as ordinary income? Should there be another *level in addition to short term and long term capital gains?

*I like the idea of "longer" term capital gains tax. If you hold a stock for 5+ years then you pay only 5% in capital gains. Something like that.

I spend time thinking about this because there are good things the public sector can do that the private sector won't do. I thinking improving the roads, police force, public schools, healthcare, etc are all worthy causes. These things cost money and even though nobody really likes paying taxes they are necessary.

The debate between both parties seems to be settled except that Obama wants the Bush tax cuts to expire for the wealthy. You would think this would upset people making a lot of money. Now who makes this money? Where do they live? Who do they vote for? I combined the 2008 electoral map with the census data of income by state to come up with the following facts.
  • The average (not weighted) income for a state that voted for Obama was $54,219. The states that McCain carried averaged $45,484.
  • The % of the electorate that made $200,000 or more was 4.4% in Obama's states and 2.8% in McCain's states.
  • The % of the electorate that made under $25,000 was 23.2% in Obama's states and 28% in McCain's states.
  • There are more households making under $25,000 a year (28M) than those that make over $100,000 (22M). (That isn't a political point, but more something that just surprised me)  
Anyway, I don't know why I care. 1) I won't really be able to affect this policy. 2) Why should I be upset that poor states (the bottom 9 states in % of population under $25k voted for McCain) continually vote for a party that doesn't seem to care about them? Does anyone else notice that out of the 22 states that had less than national average (24%) of population making under $25k there are only 3 (Wyoming, Utah and Alaska) that voted for McCain? These are facts that I probably shouldn't be thinking about the day before I close on my home.

No comments: