Refuting the "50% don't pay taxes" Canard

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Refuting the "50% don't pay taxes" Canard

Postby Dardedar » Sat Aug 27, 2011 11:57 pm

Refuting the "50% don't pay taxes" Canard

Image

The claim that half the population doesn't pay taxes is a popular canard in our media. It has been spread so wide and deep that it is being picked up and regurgitated by those who really should know better. In the following I will address the claim, in it's various forms.

“It’s hard to have a fair tax system where only about half the people are paying,”


This is our own flatfooted Arkansas democratic Senator, Mark Pryor on August 23, 2011. Of course this statement is plainly false, by any measure. Everyone who lives in society, and buys a product, pays taxes. Lest anyone think I am selecting a single politician who misspoke, Jon Stewart provides several examples of this false claim being made by the media and politicians. See this clip from August 18.

When it is pointed out that this claim is patently false, sometimes the person will do a little investigating and discover that what they really meant to say was...

“51 percent of the public don’t pay any federal taxes right now.” LINK


This is our other flatfooted Arkansas republican Senator, John Boozman passing along another false variation of this. Everyone who buys a gallon of gas, pays "federal taxes." At this point, sometimes the person will do a little more checking and discover that no, what they really meant to say was...

Only about half the population pays federal, income, taxes.


At this point, we have arrived at the least false way of putting forward this extremely misleading canard. I went through the above two steps because, having done this dozens of times with the legion of peddlers of this talking point, they typically have to be trained how to state their canard in this least false way. Now we can begin where where we should have started in the first place. Here are a few of the ways this claim misleads and fails.

1) It commits the fallacy of cherry picking, which is:

"Cherry picking, suppressing evidence, or the fallacy of incomplete evidence is the act of pointing to individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position, while ignoring a significant portion of related cases or data that may contradict that position. It is a kind of fallacy of selective attention..." wiki blurb

How does it do this? First, by ignoring federal payroll taxes. As the conservative Heritage Foundation notes with the following graph, both of these taxes raise about the same amount of money for the government:

Image

Thus in 2010:

Federal revenue from personal income tax was ($898.5 billion) and 41.6% of federal revenue
Federal revenue from payroll taxes was ($864.8 billion) and 40% of federal revenue

These numbers vary each year of course. In 2008 for instance, the ratio was 45% (income) to 36% (payroll):

Image
LINK

But this hardly matters. Anyone can clearly see that both represent a substantial tax burden to the populace and substantial revenue stream to the federal government. Pointing to one, while purposely excluding the other, is profoundly dishonest and commits a textbook example of the cherry picking fallacy. A person who wants a fair consideration of tax burden would never appeal to such blatantly flawed reasoning.

In 2009, the percentage excluded from the category of federal income tax rose to 51%. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities points out why this year was an anomaly:

1) "The 51 percent figure is an anomaly that reflects the unique circumstances of 2009, when the recession greatly swelled the number of Americans with low incomes and when temporary tax cuts created by the 2009 Recovery Act — including the “Making Work Pay” tax credit and an exclusion from tax of the first $2,400 in unemployment benefits — were in effect. Together, these developments removed millions of Americans from the federal income tax rolls. Both of these temporary tax measures have since expired.
In a more typical year, 35 percent to 40 percent of households owe no federal income tax. In 2007, the figure was 37.9 percent.


Again, this does not, ever, excuse the purposeful and misleading exclusion of payroll taxes.

Another reason payroll taxes must not be excluded in any consideration of federal taxation is because it is a completely artificial semantic distinction. One is called Federal Income tax, the other is, if you are an employee, a Federal tax, calculated upon your income (payroll). Payroll taxes are a federal tax, are calculated based upon income (from work) and go into the same government coffers and are spent like all of the rest! What possible basis could there be to pretend one of these taxes can be ignored while only one of them is worth considering?

That's what this canard does.

Once it is established that to be honest, we must include payroll taxes, what then is the real percentage of those not paying either one of these federal taxes? The Tax Policy Center has the charts and calculations for 2011. They note:

Nearly Two-Thirds of Households That Will Pay No Income Tax... Will Pay Payroll Taxes

Image

So we find the honest way to state it is that 81.9% of the population is paying federal taxes, based upon income or income from payroll.

This leaves only 18.1% that are not paying these federal taxes. Who are these people that not paying? Observe:

Image

The chart shows that of this 18.1%, 95% of them are either elderly, or living in poverty. Only 5% of this category, (or 1% of the whole), represent people who are not elderly or living in poverty (less than $20k per year).

2) Furthermore, we find that payroll taxes take a much more substantial percentage of income from the working poor. This reveals the motives of those who exclude payroll taxes.
.
.
Image

LINK

Notice how, because payroll tax is capped at $108,600 the very wealthy end up paying a much smaller percentage of their income in payroll tax than the poor.

The following example illustrates this point:

Image
LINK

Then there is the famous Warren Buffet example:

"Mr Buffett... survey of 15 of his 18 office staff at his Berkshire Hathaway empire... he was paying 17.7% payroll and income tax, compared with an average in the office of 32.9%."

"I’ll bet a million dollars against any member of the Forbes 400 who challenges me that the average (federal tax rate including income and payroll taxes) for the Forbes 400 will be less than the average of their receptionists." LINK


Another graph showing a fair consideration of total taxes:

"The following graph comes from a report (pdf) by Citizens for Tax Justice. It compares the share of the total tax burden -- that means income taxes, payroll taxes, state and local taxes, capital gains taxes, and so forth -- with the share of the total income for different groups. It's the single most important graph to understand our tax system."

Image
Washington Post


The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has an excellent article which goes on to address further misconceptions which I will quote here [numbering is mine]:

Misconceptions and Realities About Who Pays Taxes

2) The 51 percent figure [2009] covers only the federal income tax and ignores the substantial amounts of other federal taxes — especially the payroll tax — that many of these households pay . As a result, it greatly overstates the share of households that do not pay any federal taxes... only about 14 percent of households paid neither federal income tax nor payroll tax in 2009,....

3) This percentage would be even lower if federal excise taxes on gasoline and other items were taken into account.

4) Most of the people who pay neither federal income tax nor payroll taxes are low-income people who are elderly, unable to work due to a serious disability, or students, most of whom subsequently become taxpayers.

5) Moreover, low-income households as a whole do, in fact, pay federal taxes. Congressional Budget Office data show that the poorest fifth of households as a group paid an average of 4 percent of their incomes in federal taxes in 2007 (the latest year for which these data are available), not an insignificant amount given how modest these households’ incomes are — the poorest fifth of households had average income of $18,400 in 2007. [4] The next-to-the bottom fifth — those with incomes between $20,500 and $34,300 in 2007 — paid an average of 10 percent of their incomes in federal taxes.

6) Even these figures understate low-income households’ total tax burden, because these households also pay substantial state and local taxes. Data from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy show that the poorest fifth of households paid a stunning 12.3 percent of their incomes in state and local taxes in 2010.

7) When all federal, state, and local taxes are taken into account,the bottom fifth of households paid 16.3 percent of their incomes in taxes, on average, in 2010. The second-poorest fifth paid 20.7 percent.


Regarding the objection that poor households receive Earned Income Tax Credits...

8.) The majority of EITC recipients receive the credit for only one or two years at a time, such as when their incomes drop due to a temporary layoff; they pay federal income tax in other years. In fact, EITC recipients pay much more in federal income taxes over time than they receive in EITC benefits. A leading study of this issue found that taxpayers who claimed the EITC at least once during an 18-year period paid a net $473 billion in federal income tax over that period (in 2006 dollars)."


They summarize:

Bottomline: "The federal tax system is progressive overall, but state and local tax systems are regressive and undo a significant share of that progressivity."


Considering that, let's also take a moment and consider the state tax situation, as any fair and comprehensive examination of taxes would.

Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in All 50 States

"This study assesses the fairness of each state’s tax system, measuring the state and local taxes paid by different income groups in 2007 (including the impact of tax changes enacted through October of 2009) as shares of income for every state and the District of Columbia... The study’s main finding is that nearly every state and local tax system takes a much greater share of income from middle- and low-income families than from the wealthy. That is, when all state and local income, sales, excise and property taxes are added up, most state tax systems are regressive."

Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy

Let's look at Arkansas specifically:

"When all Arkansas taxes are totaled up, the study found that:

* Arkansas families earning less than $15,000—the poorest fifth of Arkansas non-elderly taxpayers—pay 12 percent of their income in Arkansas state and local taxes.

* Middle-income Arkansas taxpayers—those earning between $26,000 and $42,000—pay 11.7 percent of their income in Arkansas state and local taxes.

* But the richest Arkansas taxpayers—with average incomes of $911,500—pay only 6.8 percent of their income in Arkansas state and local taxes."


See the state by state break down here:

http://www.itepnet.org/wp2009/statespecific.html

UPDATE: Here is a useful chart that shows tax break down, state by state:

Image

Excerpt:
"The Corporation for Enterprise Development recently released a scorecard for all 50 states, and it has boatloads of useful information. That includes overall tax rates, where data from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy shows that in the median state (Mississippi, as it turns out) the poorest 20 percent pay twice the tax rate of the top 1 percent. In the worst states, the poorest 20 percent pay five to six times the rate of the richest 1 percent." Soaking the Poor, State by State

So we find that, as with payroll taxes, the poor and the middle class pay a *greater* percent of their income in state and local taxes than the wealthy. Yet this also gets excluded in this canard that only considers the carefully cherry picked category of federal, income, tax.

This chart is also informative and makes the point that in reality, everyone is paying federal and state and local taxes:

Image

This chart is from this article The 51% Zombie Lie.

Conclusion:

The above is the long version and should give you all the information you need to drive a stake through this canard when you see it. Here is the main argument summarized in one sentence:

"81.9% of the population pays federal taxes based upon income or payroll, and of the remaining 18.1% that do not, 95% of these are elderly or very poor."

If our politicians and media want to state the tax situation fairly, with regard to just federal taxes, they should consider referring to the situation in this way.

Image

One more thing to consider. Us wealth divides up something like this:

Image

Consider the argument says we have a problem or an unfair situation because taxes are too low on the individuals contained within that red dot. Really?

***
Bonus rebuttal:

It’s A Myth That 47% Of Americans Pay No Taxes, In Truth 86% Pay Taxes

"The actual number of Americans who don’t pay any taxes isn’t half, but 14%. This group of non-taxpayers of any kind is largely composed of the elderly and disabled. The people who don’t pay taxes do so because they can’t work.
The myth that the wealthy are carrying the tax burden for America is used to justify tax cuts for the rich. Conservatives use the inaccurate statistic hand in hand with their, “wealthy are the job creators argument.” One statistic that was intended to demonstrate the loss of income due to the recession, along with the impact of the Obama tax cuts has been distorted and misused to justify a policy of not asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share.
The truth is that 86% of Americans pay taxes. In one recession strapped year (2009), less than half of single filer taxpayers paid federal income taxes.
Millions of Americans are not being told the truth that almost 90% of us pay taxes, and that much of the reason why there were fewer people paying federal income taxes in 2009 was that Barack Obama signed the largest tax cut in US history.
Since the truth undercuts the conservative’s reverse Robin Hood steal from the poor to give to the rich policy, they are going to do their best to keep the facts buried under a mountain of misinformation."

Politics USA

Nice unpack of this here also: "Mitt Romney versus the 47 percent" LINK
"I'm not a skeptic because I want to believe, I'm a skeptic because I want to know." --Michael Shermer

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Re: Refuting the "50% don't pay taxes" Canard

Postby youdontgetit01 » Sun Aug 28, 2011 12:46 pm

You just don't get it...Or, maybe this needs to be explained to you another way. Politicians on both sides speak in this language. What they say is genuinely if not narrowly true .Context and further discussion is always required. So, when I read the shock and dismay painfully authored by this writer, i have neither sympathy or pity. This is the real world and this is all part of the game. To suggest one side is innocent and victimized by these tactics doesn't pass the laugh test. All right now listen and I will tell you the secret. Statements like this are weapons. Weapons used in a war. That war is politics in the United States. This is a war people. Until you recognize that fact you will continually be slain on the battlefield. This advice was free. I charge for the rest.

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Re: Refuting the "50% don't pay taxes" Canard

Postby Savonarola » Sun Aug 28, 2011 1:29 pm

I won't speak for Dardedar, as he certainly doesn't need my help... but I don't think anyone needs yours, either. I'll demonstrate:

youdontgetit01 wrote:To suggest one side is innocent and victimized by these tactics doesn't pass the laugh test.
I don't think that anybody has argued this. But to suggest that both sides being guilty means that both sides are equally guilty doesn't pass the laugh test.

youdontgetit01 wrote:Statements like this are weapons. Weapons used in a war. That war is politics in the United States.
Do you really think that nobody here understands this? If so, you aren't very bright.

youdontgetit01 wrote:This is a war people. Until you recognize that fact you will continually be slain on the battlefield.
Just like in '06 and '08? Or was it not a war until '10? You're not very good at this.

youdontgetit01 wrote:This advice was free. I charge for the rest.
No you don't. You just don't have anything worth sharing. Your "advice" posted here was free because nobody will pay for something worth nothing.

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Re: Refuting the "50% don't pay taxes" Canard

Postby Dardedar » Sun Aug 28, 2011 5:31 pm

youdontgetit01 wrote: ...when I read the shock and dismay painfully authored by this writer,


Dear "youdontgetit," you confuse disgust with "dismay." I have been knocking these things down for decades and am well aware of how common they are. I think my above post demonstrates that not only am I aware that there is a political battle going on with regard to these issues but I also, unlike you, show up for that battle with detailed arguments and "ammo" to support my claims (interesting to see that after posting this link in a few places, it has been viewed over a 100 times in less than 18 hours).

Perhaps the next time you want to assert that someone else "doesn't get it," you might set aside the vague, emotional and unsupported assertions aimed at the messenger and instead try backing up your claims with something specific, something beyond mere rhetoric. And do try to make it something relevant while you're at it. Whether the author of the above material "gets it" or not (whatever "it" is in your vague insult), is not relevant to whether the actual information in the post, is true (which is relevant).
"I'm not a skeptic because I want to believe, I'm a skeptic because I want to know." --Michael Shermer

Shaun

Re: Refuting the "50% don't pay taxes" Canard

Postby Shaun » Sun Aug 28, 2011 10:45 pm

Darrel,
Greetings from a fellow Arkansan. I graduated from U of A in Fayetteville and just moved to Springfield, MO where my wife is attending grad school. I miss The Hill already. My question pertains to the payroll tax. Doesn't the employer pay that tax? So how does it count as a tax workers pay? I'm not claiming or insinuating you're wrong. I just want to understand it better, so that when I refute the bs argument that 50% don't pay taxes I'll have all my ducks in a row. By the way, GO HOGS!!!

Shaun

Re: Refuting the "50% don't pay taxes" Canard

Postby Shaun » Sun Aug 28, 2011 10:51 pm

By the way, Darrel, can you email me at slewisforre @ gmail. com? I rarely have time to get on message boards, but my email goes straight to my Droid. Thanks in advance.

David Franks

Re: Refuting the "50% don't pay taxes" Canard

Postby David Franks » Sun Aug 28, 2011 11:31 pm

Shaun--
RE "Doesn't the employer pay that tax? So how does it count as a tax workers pay?"
The payroll tax is theoretically split, with half paid by the employer and half paid by the employee. However, the full cost of payroll taxes is built into the wage and salary system. From fairtax.org: "Most economists agree that the employer payroll tax is actually borne by employees in the form of lower wages." See also http://tinyurl.com/3rrma46 Any employer who doesn't understand this is not much of a businessperson.

Fixed links -Dardedar

David Franks

Re: Refuting the "50% don't pay taxes" Canard

Postby David Franks » Mon Aug 29, 2011 12:00 am

Some more information to amplify the argument against this misrepresentation:

1.
Most of the people who deplore this widespread "free ride" are shocked to find that their beloved Bush tax cuts are responsible for much of the increase of zero tax liability in recent years. See http://tinyurl.com/3o26nh2

2.
Sources of federal revenue (See http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing ... evenue.cfm (2008) and http://www.heritage.org/budgetchartbook ... ue-sources (2010)
2008 -- Individual income tax, 45% ($1,125B); payroll tax, 36% ($900B); corporate income tax 12% ($300B) (Total revenue, $2.5 trillion)
2010 -- Individual income tax, 41.6% ($898.5B); payroll tax, 40% ($864.8B); corporate income tax 8.9% ($191.4B)

From that information, we see that between 2008 and 2010:
individual income tax dropped 7.6% as a revenue source, or 20.1% in dollars;
corporate income taxes dropped 25.83% as a revenue source, or 36.2% in dollars;
payroll tax went up 11% as a revenue source, and dropped 3.9% in dollars.

In other words, payroll taxes not only failed to drop in dollars as fast as individual income taxes (over 5 times as great a drop) or corporate income taxes (over 6 times as great) in this period, they actually went up as a revenue source. This shifted the revenue burden to the bottom 50% of taxpayers, as every one of them who works pays payroll taxes on their entire incomes, while incomes above $106,800 are not assessed payroll tax.

3.
The absurdity of this cherry-picking is clearly demonstrated to one who repeats this misrepresentation by the following:

"If you really want to make a point based on one of many taxes, here's one that's just as important as yours:

"In 2008, the top 10% of taxpayers, with 45.77% of total AGI and income of $113,799 or more, paid NO payroll tax on their excess booty. Since the cutoff income is higher than the limit on income subject to payroll taxes ($108,600), more than 10% of taxpayers are not carrying their weight, and letting almost 90% of taxpayers pay for the outrageous benefits they receive from the system. The deal is even sweeter for them nowadays.

"I hope to see you up in arms over this gross inequity."

Fixed links, made correction as per request - Darrel

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Re: Refuting the "50% don't pay taxes" Canard

Postby Dardedar » Mon Aug 29, 2011 12:11 am

Shaun wrote:Darrel,... My question pertains to the payroll tax. Doesn't the employer pay that tax? So how does it count as a tax workers pay?


Hello Shaun, thanks for the questions. My response:

1) No, it's split. Employers match the payroll taxes, so, with few exceptions, the employee pays half, the employer pays half.

But there are other considerations also:

a) About 25% of all workers are (like me) self-employed. Thus, they pay all of their payroll tax (typically 15% as I remember) with no employer matching.

b) Who is really, effectively, paying the employer side of the tax? Any employer, when calculating their cost of business and how much they can afford to pay employees is going to factor in the true cost of an employee which must include this cost of payroll taxes. Thus, this cost is effectively built into and subtracted from a persons wages. I am not just saying this, this is well understood, standard economics. Observe the following multiple references which were cited on NWAonline by the commentator Alphacat. This is a PDF which I can't easily excerpt, so read the references here:

http://tinyurl.com/3rrma46

2) And notice, even if true, this objection that employers are in some sense carrying much of the burden of payroll taxes (something less than half) actually doesn't address the "percentage of populace" paying payroll taxes at all. The claim that "X number of people don't pay X category of tax" refers to a head count, a number/percentage of people. An objection that people aren't paying much payroll tax (even if true), would be a different claim, referring to an amount of money. That would have some relevance if the amount of money being raised by payroll taxes was tiny or insignificant, but as I show above, it is very significant.

This brings up another objection I'll address now since I didn't have time to get to it last night. Some like to say that the amount of money extracted from workers who pay payroll taxes, but don't pay federal income taxes, is quite small overall. I don't know what the number/percentage is, but we shouldn't be surprised at all if it is somewhat small in big picture. Why? Consider... 42% of people (typically those in this bottom half), are rather poor and living paycheck to paycheck:

Forty-two percent of workers are living paycheck to paycheck, down slightly from the 43% who were in this financial state in 2010, CareerBuilder found in a survey of 5,200 workers." LINK


Remember also, that those who (based upon wealth) are in the entire bottom half of the population (155 million people) only have as much wealth as the nations wealthiest 400 individuals. This is an astonishing fact. In fact, "the poorest 60 percent of U.S. households -- possess [only a tiny]... 2.3 percent of the nation’s total net worth." politicfact again. So this category of the population, the working poor, is probably not a group from which we can extract very much more in taxation from (even though we already do overall, via payroll taxes, because the number of people is very large).

See also the Jon Stewart clip referenced earlier which makes this point nicely. Any tax from people living this close to the edge is very significant, to them. And as I show above, the amount of tax raised from payroll tax, is very significant.
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Re: Refuting the "50% don't pay taxes" Canard

Postby arkansasmediawatch » Mon Aug 29, 2011 11:04 am

I don't mean to pick on Shaun but it is sad to hear that he just graduated fr4om college and doesn't understand the most fundamental facts about how our tax system works. This is truly an indictment of higher education in this country. The lack of civic education together with the Murdochized media acting as propaganda machine on behalf of the rich and powerful have undermined American democracy. The corporate assault on the working poor and middle class requires a docile and uninformed populace.

Both Arkansas Senators, Boozman and Pryor, have embraced the "50% don't pay taxes" lie and both have gotten a free pass from the media.

http://arkansasmediawatch.wordpress.com ... stituents/
http://arkansasmediawatch.wordpress.com ... stituents/

in awe

Re: Refuting the "50% don't pay taxes" Canard

Postby in awe » Mon Aug 29, 2011 1:22 pm

I'm amazed at the thoroughness of the destruction in the original post

I bow to you

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Re: Refuting the "50% don't pay taxes" Canard

Postby L.Wood » Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:10 pm

.
As a former tax accountant in a local CPA firm allow me to weigh in on this "Payroll tax." It has a few components. FICA and unemployment plus federal income tax withholding and state income tax withholding. In some areas of the country there is a municipal income tax withheld from payroll.
.
As to the argument that employers paying their half of FICA implicitly lowers wages is somewhat disputed. One way around payroll taxes is contract labor, a device allowed in certain industries where seasonal or temporary workers are sought.

Contract labor involves withholding no taxes. Workers are paid a flat labor rate or fixed sum for a job. For example: An 18-Wheeler overturns and spills it's processed chicken guts over the highway. A contractor comes in with 6 contract workers. He tells the workers 'you get $50 each for when this is cleaned up.' It's a wide-spread practice in Arkansas and other states. Unloading trucks (luggers), lawn services where a contract laborer is given a fixed amount to mow a yard; agri services where a contract worker is paid a certain amount to hoe x rows of spinach or pick x bushels of apples. Several years ago, in the 1990s there was a dust-up over Walmart using
a contract service to do night cleaning in stores. The workers turned out to be contract labor and no payroll taxes were paid or withheld.

However one noticeable trend in contract labor is lower wages, or that was the case when I did numerous returns in the 1980s. Sorry I don't have a source to back up the assertion and that's likely because such labor practices are very difficult to document. Some professional workers are hired on a contract basis as well.

If all the contract workers self-report all their earnings then they are the same as self-employed and thus liable for all taxes on their contract labor earnings.

.
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Re: Refuting the "50% don't pay taxes" Canard

Postby David Franks » Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:48 am

L.Wood wrote:As to the argument that employers paying their half of FICA implicitly lowers wages is somewhat disputed.

One might argue that fairtax.org would have a bias in saying "Most economists agree that the employer payroll tax is actually borne by employees in the form of lower wages." They're trying to sell tax reform. However, my other source (http://tinyurl.com/3rrma46) also indicates that there is a considerable consensus:

"While payroll taxes are levied equally between employers and employees, the broad consensus among economists is that payroll taxes unduly burden the worker.... Time and time again, economists have shown that employers account for their share of payroll taxes when setting wages for the employee, essentially passing on the tax to workers in the form of lower wages.

"Joint Committee on Taxation:
'Most analysts conclude that both the employee's and employer's share of the payroll tax is borne by the employee....'

"Congressional Budget Office:
'...CBO assumes--as do most economists--that employers' share of payroll tax is passed on to employees in the form of lower wages than would otherwise be paid...'"

and so on.

It seems to be an adequate consensus-- or, as we used to say, "Good enough for government work."
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Re: Refuting the "50% don't pay taxes" Canard

Postby Dardedar » Wed Aug 31, 2011 2:48 pm

The New Resentment of the Poor

Published: August 30, 2011

Excerpt:

"Representative Michele Bachmann noted recently that 47 percent of Americans do not pay federal income tax; all of them, she said, should pay something because they benefit from parks, roads and national security. (Interesting that she acknowledged government has a purpose.) Gov. Rick Perry, in the announcement of his candidacy, said he was dismayed at the “injustice” that nearly half of Americans do not pay income tax. Jon Huntsman Jr., up to now the most reasonable in the Republican presidential field, said not enough Americans pay tax.

Representative Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, and several senators have made similar arguments, variations of the idea expressed earlier by Senator Dan Coats of Indiana that “everyone needs to have some skin in the game.”

This is factually wrong, economically wrong and morally wrong. First, the facts: a vast majority of Americans have skin in the tax game. Even if they earn too little to qualify for the income tax, they pay payroll taxes (which Republicans want to raise), gasoline excise taxes and state and local taxes. Only 14 percent of households pay neither income nor payroll taxes, according to the Tax Policy Center at the Brookings Institution. The poorest fifth paid an average of 16.3 percent of income in taxes in 2010."

New York Times
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heubler

Re: Refuting the "50% don't pay taxes" Canard

Postby heubler » Fri Sep 02, 2011 7:41 am

youdontgetit01 wrote:You just don't get it...Or, maybe this needs to be explained to you another way. Politicians on both sides speak in this language. What they say is genuinely if not narrowly true .Context and further discussion is always required. So, when I read the shock and dismay painfully authored by this writer, i have neither sympathy or pity. This is the real world and this is all part of the game. To suggest one side is innocent and victimized by these tactics doesn't pass the laugh test. All right now listen and I will tell you the secret. Statements like this are weapons. Weapons used in a war. That war is politics in the United States. This is a war people. Until you recognize that fact you will continually be slain on the battlefield. This advice was free. I charge for the rest.



I can see why it's free. No one can ask for a refund. Your false equivalency is laughably weak. Post one quote from a recognized democrat that is comparable. Or does that cost something too?

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Re: Refuting the "50% don't pay taxes" Canard

Postby wheels082556 » Fri Sep 02, 2011 8:46 am

Just a thought... when saying half the population doesn't pay taxes are you including children?

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Re: Refuting the "50% don't pay taxes" Canard

Postby David Franks » Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:22 am

heubler wrote:I can see why it's free. No one can ask for a refund. Your false equivalency is laughably weak. Post one quote from a recognized democrat that is comparable. Or does that cost something too?

I take it you don't consider Mark Pryor a "recognized" Democrat.

wheels082556 wrote:Just a thought... when saying half the population doesn't pay taxes are you including children?

The canard is based on data that is collated by individual tax return, and is least dishonestly stated in terms of "taxpayers", not "Americans". I have not yet found any data that indicates the number of citizens represented in each percentile of tax returns. I rather suspect that, because many of the nonpaying returns are a result of the Bush tax cuts as they apply to taxpayers with three or more children, the nonpaying returns actually represent more than half of Americans.
"Debating with a conservative is like cleaning up your dog's vomit: It is an inevitable consequence of your association, he isn't much help, and it makes very clear the fact that he will swallow anything."

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Re: Refuting the "50% don't pay taxes" Canard

Postby Dardedar » Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:58 am

David Franks wrote: I have not yet found any data that indicates the number of citizens represented in each percentile of tax returns.


Not exactly what you are looking for but have you seen this reference?

David Franks wrote:I rather suspect that, because many of the nonpaying returns are a result of the Bush tax cuts as they apply to taxpayers with three or more children, the nonpaying returns actually represent more than half of Americans.


DAR
Even more if you count pets!

My friend Adam (who passed along the cartoon at the top) observes:

When I see people talking about skin in the game it reminds me of this...

John Stewart recently: "That's the problem with poor people - they still have some of their skin."


See clips here.

Thanks to bartcop.com and crooksandliars.com for passing along the link to my article. They have brought thousands of viewers.
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Re: Refuting the "50% don't pay taxes" Canard

Postby getrichs » Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:52 pm

Ok
First if you wanna tell a lie us Statistics!!!
You can make numbers speak any way you like

But here is a flaw in the data
It is based on REPORTED TAXES
what about the people that dont get any taxes taken out at all
Illegals working off the books and people "working under the table"
whne you include that what is the percentage THEN????

ALSO
lets have a study on the REVERSE SIDE to this (SPENDING)
WHAT is the Percentage of WHERE the money is going?
what percent of the money is going to the lowest percentile in terms of income
Im willing to bet a disproportionally HIGH Percentage of the money is going to the people that pay the least in terms of % and Gross Dollars

and
Lastly Why is it when you use the example for the percentage for Highest Income you use people at about $1million dollars or more
Yet the new tax plans doesn't start at that SUPER RICH level it starts somewhere at people with $250,000 or more and includes small businesses
That is the problem I have
That ($250,00.00) is not the SUPER RICH
Look it is very simple
No matter what tax system you come up with someone is not going to like it or say its not fair to someone
But the problem most people have is that the taxes (money government gets) NEVER solves the problem
If you Create/raise a tax to solve say infrastructure problems then once the tax was paid and the infra structure problem was in fact solved people would not really care as much
but you create the tax and the problem still exist it makes people angry

Also when people that are working see people that are not getting benefits that they cannot get it makes them angry
i.e
In RI if you have a doctors appointment and cant get there you can call a cab and it is covered by the taxpayers
I dont know about you but if I cant get to an appointment I try to get maybe reschedule or as someone for a ride or walk to get there, maybe take a Bus... but a cab NO
When things look unfair to people WATCH OUT!!!!

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Re: Refuting the "50% don't pay taxes" Canard

Postby aimee » Fri Sep 02, 2011 4:27 pm

I believe there's an old saying about not being able to get blood from a turnip...!!!
"I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority." - E.B. White


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