Wednesday, May 04, 2011

"The top X% of wage earners pay X% of income taxes."

This is a favorite line of right-wingers (fill in your own figures, top 1% pay 58%, top 2% pay 72%, etc.). You get the point they try to make, go easy on the wealthy, they pay their fair share and then some.

Please. As usual, it's all hocus pocus word games. I'll show you.

Suppose a country had a population of 10 people. Person A, the tycoon, made $100 per year, and the other 9 people all made $10 each per year. Thus the total amount of income to be taxed = $190. Suppose 10% is the income tax rate applied to all. This means the total amount of taxes paid is $190 x 10% = $19.

Person A, the tycoon, paid $100 x 10% = $10 in taxes. $10 / $19 = 53%

So you see, Person A, 1/10 of the population, paid 53% of the total taxes paid -- wow, what a swell person, cheers, bravo.

Ahh, not so fast. Person A pays 53% of the total taxes paid because Person A makes 10 times more than each of the other 9 people. Duh. But that's not the point! The point is all 10 people pay the same tax rate, thus it's arguably very fair. Person A doesn't deserve applause or accolades as this person is doing the equivalent of all other citizens in this country.

And this is with a system of one tax rate for all. If it was a bit more progressive, where say Person A had to pay a 15% tax rate, then we're talking: $15 / $24 = 63%, or Person A now pays 63% of all taxes paid.

As you can see, right-wingers try to use deception by shifting the viewpoint quite a bit. It just takes a little bit of thinking to see what they're doing, but how many people take the time to do that thinking?

Meanwhile, the sad fact of the matter is the top 400 wealthiest households in the U.S. (worth $350+ million) pay a lower tax rate than the average citizen pays.

Yes, let's continue to cut taxes for the rich -- woe to them....


Anonymous said...

Ah, but the tax rates in the United States IS progressive so your example does not hold water.

You claim that the conservative uses deception when citing these numbers is pure fallacy because the folks at the independent National Taxpayers Union compile similar stats and publish them annually: You also make a bogus claim about the wealthiest four hundred households because being wealthy may have very little to do with income. In fact, I would say that this is an intentionally misleading statistic because the truly wealthy do not depend on wages to cover their cost of living but derive the bulk of their monies from investment returns which they have already paid tax on to make in the first place and pay tax on their returns.

The bottom line is that conservatives want lower taxes so everyone can prosper while the Marxist wants to penalize and control the job creators/maintainers through egregious taxation and penalization.

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