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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 7, 2007 3:45 AM. The previous post in this blog was Survivor Portland Bureaucracy: Day 5. The next post in this blog is Cyberhash. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, May 7, 2007

Their own nests

Those tireless public servants who are running our country have given themselves quite a pay raise.

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This article underscores the fact that despite what Rush, Lars, O'reilly and other socialist talk show hosts say... Relative to what they make, the rich do not pay taxes. Compare president Bush's 24% with the 30-40% the average worker must pay in taxes and it's obvious we do not have tax system that taxes people based on their ability to pay. It gets worse as it was reported that presidential hopeful John Kerry paid something like 5% on income of $700 million.
Throw in all of the corporate welfare - taking money by force from the working class and giving it to the rich and a case could be made that the rich not only do not pay taxes but actually make money off of the working class via the tax system...A reverse Robin Hood scenario.

This article underscores the fact that despite what Rush, Lars, O'reilly and other socialist talk show hosts say...

Socialists? We'll hope thats a typo.

First, I'd caution about falling for anything published by Citizens for Tax Justice, which is a Union front group opposed to freedom.

The "average" worker doesn't pay anything like 30-40 percent of their income in taxes, even factoring in non-income-related taxes like sales tax or property tax. For instance, in Oregon in 2005 the tax on the average return by taxable income was 4.6 percent. This does not take into account the number of "workers" represented by the average returns. Toss in property taxes for another couple of percent. Social Security and Medicare would take an additional 7.65 percent on earned income (wages) which is a subset of gross income. You're at less than 15 percent before federal income taxes and that will amount to about 10 percent or less, depending on individual circumstances. So Bush paid 25 percent in federal taxes alone, Oregon's average worker pays 25 percent in total taxes. If Bush paid taxes in Oregon, he'd pay almost 8 percent on his AGI - almost twice what the average worker paid - plus a lot more in property taxes as the White House has a very high Maximum Assessed Value.

I do think something should be done about SS/Medicare payroll taxes with the cap rolled dramatically upward and the rates for lower-income workers lowered. As long as it's done in a revenue-neutral way (at least initially) it should be politically do-able.

a Union front group opposed to freedom....

If Bush paid taxes in Oregon, he'd pay almost 8 percent on his AGI - almost twice what the average worker paid - plus a lot more in property taxes as the White House has a very high Maximum Assessed Value.

Breathtaking.

Compare president Bush's 24% with the 30-40% the average worker must pay in taxes

As already pointed out, the "average worker" doesn't pay anything like 30-40% in the taxes you're comparing here. The 24% number is for federal income taxes only. My own 2006 effective rate (according to TurboTax) was only 19% -- and I consistently get hosed because I don't have enough deductions to itemize. A couple of years ago I compared with a coworker (who happened to make a little more than me) and his effective rate was under 10%.

According to IRS tax schedules for 2006, it looks to me like a family with up to $61,300 of taxable income would pay only $8440. That's not quite 14% of taxable income, so the "effective tax rate" as mentioned earlier (based on AGI) would be lower. For comparison, Bush's percentage of taxable income was about 29%, my own was about 21%.

[T]he rich not only do not pay taxes...

Well... by my calculations the Bushes and Cheneys combined paid almost $600K in federal income taxes alone. The rich most definitely DO pay taxes. Perhaps not as much as you'd like, fair enough... but to claim that they don't pay taxes is just plain hogwash.

I've blogged quite a bit on taxation issues myself. I'm not trying to say that the Bush tax cuts were the best thing ever. I think they should largely be repealed. And I definitely think that we need to completely reform FICA (as in, abolish it as a separate payroll tax and fold it into the income tax). But it's quite tiresome to hear all about how the rich never pay taxes when in fact it's the rich who are actually paying the federal bills.

There they go again. Bush and Cheney lowered tax rates all by themselves so only they would have more money in their stinking pockets. Never mind that the top 50% of wage earners paid 96% of the income taxes while the bottom 50% paid a whooping 4%. Also never mind that government tax receipts are at an all time high. Also never mind that our Governor has proposed an increase of only 20% in state spending. If Bush and Cheney, those stinking rats, paid more we could have half of all wage earners paying NOTHING.

Did you ever check out how much of Cheney's money is tied up in tax-free bonds? Last time I looked, it was quite a lot.

Never mind that the top 50% of wage earners paid 96% of the income taxes while the bottom 50% paid a whooping 4%. Also never mind that government tax receipts are at an all time high. Also never mind that our Governor has proposed an increase of only 20% in state spending.

That's right, never mind all of that. The point of this post is that Bush and Cheney championed tax cuts from which they greatly benefited. Why do you Bush people have such a problem with someone telling the truth?

The point of this post is that Bush and Cheney championed tax cuts from which they greatly benefited. Why do you Bush people have such a problem with someone telling the truth?

I dont have a problem with the truth. The problem is that the truth isnt news. Most politicians at the federal level are among the richest people in the country. They still paid more taxes than any of us. They also have the best healthcare. The best retirement. ALL of them. And thats never gonna change.

Not to stand up for the current administration, as I don't care for much of their politics, but the $111,000 tax saving that Cheney realized in 2007 is not going to do much to offset the $6.9 million donated to charity in 2005.

"In a press release of March 5, 2001, the Cheneys reported that they had established the Gift Administration Agreement on January 18, 2001 to donate all net after tax proceeds from various stock options that the Vice President had earned at Halliburton and for their service on the boards of directors of other companies to three designated charities--George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates, Inc. for the benefit of the Cardiothoracic Institute, the University of Wyoming for the benefit of the University of Wyoming Foundation, and Capital Partners for Education for the benefit of low-income high school students in the Washington, D.C. area."

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/04/20060414-2.html

Hmm. I make pretty good money, but I'm paying more in income tax than both GW and Cheney. I'm nowhwhere near that league income-wise. Include SS, Medicare, and Oregon income tax and my total tax rate is 30% higher. (Interesting that neither Texas nor Wyoming have income taxes)

Democrats can fix this. Just send the next Iraq funding bill, paid for not by taking on more debt, but with an income tax surchage on those with incomes over $200K? $400K? War is about sacrifice, and everybody should do their part.

"I make pretty good money, but I'm paying more in income tax than both GW and Cheney."

Time to fire your accountant.

Whoops. I meant rate, not absolute tax.

Replace "income tax" with "income tax rate."

They still paid more taxes than any of us.

Yes, but not enough.

Jack, don't you find it odd that the initial report you sited only mentioned the evil Bush and Cheney. Why no mention of say Nancy Polosi or John Kerry or maybe even Ted Kennedy and Diane Finestein. These folks have very little earned income subject to withholding but a whole lot of other income such as interest on municipal bonds which are tax free. I believe you'll find that Big Ketchup and John Kerry had a much lower tax burden, percentage wise, than the evil Bobbsey twins.

The point of the story is the tax cuts that the Bush administration has championed. If Gore or Kerry were president, they never would have happened. Everyone you mention would be paying the same as, or more than, they paid in 2000.

Fair enough, Jack. The Bush tax cuts benefitted Bush and Cheney. Bush's effective tax rate was cut by 14%, Cheney's by 21%.

To determine the relative fairness of that, though, we'd have to compare it with how the effective tax rate changed for average workers, right? Are there any stories about how much the average worker's tax rates were cut, updated to 2006?

The only reference I could find after a quick search was for stats related to 2004 versus 2000. In that report from the New York Times, which pointed out how much money the rich were saving with these cuts, they explained that the effective tax rate for the middle earners, with incomes up to about $50K, dropped from 5% in 2000 to 2.9% in 2004.

That's a 42% drop in effective tax rate for that group, compared with the 14%/21% drop for Bush/Cheney.

So did Bush benefit from his own tax cuts? Yep, absolutely. Did average people benefit more (as a percentage of tax savings)?

So it would appear. If anyone has numbers that contradict that conclusion, by all means I'd like to hear about them.

But if the "point" is simply that Bush saved money with his own tax cuts, who cares? Most all of us saved money with his tax cuts.

Many middle-class taxpayers saved very little, because they suddenly became subject to the alternative minimum tax, which took the benefit much of the tax cuts away.

The top tax rate on capital gain (the kind of income mostly rich people have) is now a mere 15%, with no contribution to Social Security, whereas lots of average workers pay 25% regular tax plus another 7.5% or so into Social Security.

Meanwhile, the Social Security wage base continues to rise, to where it's now going to be $100,000 or so. Trust me, middle-class families are getting shafted royally.

I would like to clarify and re-emphasize some of the comments I made in the first post. When I say the rich do not pay taxes I do not mean they pay zero dollars in taxes. I mean that relative to what they make (% of total income) they do not pay taxes. It's a lot of money all right but relative to what they make it's nothing compared to the middle class.
No typo. I call Rush, Lars, O'reilly and others socialists because while they condemn social welfare they will not condemn corporate welfare which is an integral part of the socialist machine. Socialism cannot survive without corporate welfare.
Socialism is the favorite form of government for the elites because not only do the elites get money from business interests here - money generated by working class they also get money from money TAKEN (taxes) from the working class. What a deal!
One must figure corporate welfare into this equation to get an accurate picture of who pays what in taxes.
One must also figure 15% for Social Security taxes, not the 7 1/2% or so you see on the paycheck stub as the true cost of Social Security taxes. This tax is not subject to deduction so anybody who works pays at least 15% of their income in taxes. Compare that with John Kerry's 5%.

Hmmm...Wonder how much John Edwards saved? Or is he so saintly and generous that he donated it all to charity?

Income tax, schmincome tax. It's just a bloated load of crap anyway.

The only way to make our tax system fair is to implement a national sales tax such as this here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FairTax

How about simply enforcing whatever tax we have uniformly? Meaning that everybody pays the same rate. No exceptions.
Also one must understand the concept of relative impact. A good example of this is the big pay raise that went to Oregon teachers after they got "their guy" into office. If you're a teacher and you have to pay $50.00 more per year in taxes but get $1000.00 more per year in salary as a result of this tax increase are how are you going to vote?


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