Thanks for your input from the employer’s viewpoint. Yes, you are right both that people pay the payroll tax whether they pay income tax or not, and they pay the whole payroll tax, not just “their half” of it. You can easily rework my examples to fit the combined payroll tax plus income tax rate, and the point remains that high earners get more benefit from the ESHI deduction. I should add that the chart from Kaestner and Lubotsky is based on much more detailed calculations than my examples, including both income and payroll taxes

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Economist, Senior Fellow at Niskanen Center, Yale Ph.D. Interests include environment, health care policy, social safety net, economic freedom.

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