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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Regressive Vs. Progressive Taxes: Do Southern Tax Policies Kill Poor People?

Katherine Newman, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University, says the tax system in the South is killing poor people — literally.

Newman is also the co-author of “Taxing the Poor: Doing Damage to the Truly Disadvantaged.”

She says that sales taxes are leading to higher death rates, more crime and a lower rate of high school graduation. Mainly in the South and increasingly in the West. She writes:

While the federal government has largely stuck by the principle of progressive taxation, the states have gone their own ways: tax policy is particularly regressive in the South and West, and more progressive in the Northeast and Midwest. When it comes to state and local taxation, we are not one nation under God. In 2008, the difference between a working mother in Mississippi and one in Vermont — each with two dependent children, poverty-level wages and identical spending patterns — was $2,300.

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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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