By Fadhel Kaboub
I was recently asked to testify before the Ohio House of Representative’s Tax Reform Legislative Study Committee. I urged the committee to carefully consider the long-term negative consequences of the regressive tax policy for the State of Ohio and its residents. What follows is the gist of my testimony along with some of the data that I presented to the committee.
Working class families continue to suffer from real income growth stagnation since the 1980s despite a steady rise in productivity (Figure 1). However, in order to continue supporting the growth of the U.S. economy, household consumption (the engine of GDP growth in the U.S.) became increasingly dependent on access to credit (credit card debt, student loans, car loans, home equity lines of credit, subprime loans, reverse mortgage loans, etc.). That is why household debt as a percent of disposable income has peaked at almost 140% in 2007 (Figure 2). The proper response to this problem is an increase in disposable income rather than easier access to credit.