Business Professor Analyzes Income Tax Reform Law

Sean Casten

From retired UI-C Business Professor Darold Barnum.

He offers this disclaimer:

“I am not involved with the formal campaign of Sean Casten, but I am a member of an independent grassroots group supporting him.”

Chickens Voting for Col. Sanders

My father-in-law Henry was an accountant and his wife Rose had an eighth-grade education.

When they argued about finances, Henry would end up saying, “Rose, figures don’t lie.”

To which she would respond, “Henry, figures don’t lie, but liars figure!”

Peter Roskam

This story seemed apropos when listening to Peter Roskam boast about his tax-cut law at his appearance before the Daily Herald Editorial Board.

He once again claimed the median-income family of four in the Sixth District making $135,000 annually will save $4,600 on their taxes, implying these are average for the district.

Roskam’s own website states the district’s median-income is $97,387.

To check out his tax-saving claim, I went to the website he often uses, that of the conservative Tax Foundation (

Using their interactive map, Sixth District average savings for taxpayers earning $137,699 is $2,332.

Dorald Barnum

About half of what Roskam implies is typical.

But things get worse.

According to the Tax Foundation, those earning less than $10,000 get an average tax cut of only 0.4% of their income.

The averages for other income ranges:

  • $10,000-$25,000 saves 0.8%
  • $25,000-$50,000 saves 2.8%
  • $50,000-$75,000 saves 2.1%
  • $75,000-$100,000 saves 2.0%
  • $100,000-$200,000 saves 1.7% and
  • $200,000-up saves 4.5%.

After the poor, the next biggest losers are Roskam’s core supporters, those earning between $100,000 and $200,000.

With 1.7% savings on the average, they get about 1/3 of the 4.5% saved by the rich, and those with high deductions often will see their taxes increase because of the $10,000 cap.

So, like my father-in-law, Roskam is good at figuring out how to manipulate numbers to make something appear to be true when it is not

My wealthy cousin said this: Middle class voters supporting Roskam are like chickens supporting Col Sanders.

Darold Barnum is Professor Emeritus at UIC’s College of Business Administration, earning MBA and PhD degrees from the Wharton School. Among other subjects, he’s taught finance and strategic management to both students and professionals, and has consulted with organizations ranging from family businesses to Fortune-500 corporations. His publications over the last decade concern organizational efficiency.


Business Professor Analyzes Income Tax Reform Law — 5 Comments

  1. Given that the new Standard Deduction has now been increased to $12,000 for Single and $24,000 for married, someone making under $10,000 would be paying ZERO in taxes, and would probably receive a credit.

    I would be interested in finding out more about this “independent grassroots group” he belongs to.

  2. So “saves” translates to “biggest losers” to this chucklehead.

    Why don’t you sit this one out Professor F’wit?

  3. This “professor” doesn’t sound too bright.

    Several problems are apparent.

    The analogy of chickens voting for Col Sanders isn’t appropriate since Sanders runs an operation that kills many chickens.

    The tax cut, on the other hand, saves most people money (including poor people), according to the stats which he provided.

    Of course people earning less than 10 k aren’t saving that much.

    Does this person know what a standard deduction is?

    People earning less than 10 k were barely paying into the federal income tax *before* Trump doubled the standard deduction.

    But they are saving money.

    Is someone really a “loser” if they don’t get as much of an added benefit as someone else?

    Are they not both better off?

    “With 1.7% savings on the average, they get about 1/3 of the 4.5% saved by the rich, and those with high deductions often will see their taxes increase because of the $10,000 cap.”

    Here’s the bait and switch. First, the rich are saving three times as much as the poor, and that’s bad!

    Then, maybe the rich will pay more because of SALT deduction changes!

    This guy is a mess.

    Maybe he should have just focused on what % of people will save money vs how many will have a net increase in their tax liability due to changes in SALT deductions.

    Voters in the 6th would like to know that number!

    Instead, he obfuscates and goes all over the place.

    I don’t see Roskam or Casten being upfront with a simple and germane concept like that either.

    We have stupid people in our universities, stupid people in our government.

    We have to do better.

    We have to, folks!

  4. I used the same calculator that Barnum linked, and it calculated a tax savings of $4,839 for a couple with an income of $137,699 with two dependants that was filing jointly.

    That’s using the standard deduction.

    Using Roskam’s $135,000 income number, the tax savings was calculated as $4,608, which is basically what Roskam said it was.

    Barnum(I wonder if he’s related to PT Barnum?) must have used the numbers for a single filer, which is not what Roskam was talking about.

    Also, a person with his background should know that median family income and median household income are not the same thing – median family income is usually higher.

    I give the prof a ‘D-‘ for this effort, and that’s because I’m feeling generous today.

  5. Isn’t Casten the Anti-Life, Pro-Death guy that supports women who kill infants in their womb? Casten is on record saying that an abortion procedure is like gall bladder surgery. Casten compared Trump to Osama bin Laden.

    Casten is a nutball given his ridiculous comments and statements.

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