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

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

Postby David Franks » Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:44 pm

getrichs wrote:Ok
First if you wanna tell a lie us Statistics!!!
You can make numbers speak any way you like
And if you want to tell a lie and look like an idiot, don't use any statistics at all.

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????
You need to refer to these articles:
http://reason.org/news/show/122411.html
http://www.cato.org/pubs/policy_report/pr-imsum.html (old, but worth noting)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_impact_of_illegal_immigrants_in_the_United_States (a good summary, with references)
Few employers of any consequence will hire illegal immigrants "under the table" or "off the books"-- it's risky, it and complicates bookkeeping. But if you want to address the issue, get rid of loopholes and giveaways in the corporate tax system-- that's where the real money is regarding those workers.

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
Raising revenue and spending it are two entirely different procedures.
See http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2011051914/our-top-400-taxpayers-near-record-year

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
As far as I know, any adjustment in tax rates will be, like the current ones, progressive, so this shouldn't be a problem. With any luck, they'll be even more progressive-- but I digress. Thought question: would you rather live on $250,000 taxed at, say, 40%, or $20,000 taxed at 15%? Take your time.

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
Funding solutions to problems works all the time, if not every time. As long as conservatives can successfully inculcate the perception that government is a failure, nobody will be happy. If you'd ignore the conservative drumbeat, you could be a happier person. Let the Teabaggers wallow in misery by themselves.

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
I've never seen this with infrastructure. When money is appropriated for a large public project, the work gets done and the people directly affected are happy. Infrastructure is too high-profile, and the appropriation method too public, for your infrastructure scenario to be much of a problem. (Except perhaps when Governor Palin decided to not take the "Bridge to Nowhere" funding after all.) The War on Drugs, though, would have been a great example. Let's halt the War on Drugs.

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
That's your fault. Why would you be envious of a benefit that you would have to be worse off in order to get? Next time, call a cab. Perhaps those people in Rhode Island are too old or too sick to make it to a bus stop, or get onto a bus. Maybe they have no family members nearby, and they've outlived all of their friends. I hope they know better than to call you.

When things look unfair to people WATCH OUT!!!!

And when things actually ARE unfair?
Last edited by David Franks on Sat Sep 03, 2011 1:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Refuting the "50% don't pay taxes" Canard

Postby Savonarola » Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:30 pm

David Franks wrote:
getrichs wrote: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????
.... if you want to address the issue, get rid of loopholes and giveaways in the corporate tax system-- that's where the real money is regarding those workers.

But his argument is worse than this. It is irrelevant to the claim. In addition, it is hypocritical for these rightwing nuts to be so vehement in insisting that illegal aliens aren't Americans and then try to count them as Americans who don't pay taxes.
But it's even worse than that. While illegal immigrants working off the books get some tax-based benefits (like the use of roads and national parks), they don't draw social security, get medicare/medicaid, draw unemployment, or any of these other programs that send large sums of money to a single individual's benefit.

David Franks wrote:Thought question: would you rather live on $250,000 taxed at, say, 40%, or $20,000 taxed at 15%? Take your time.
And don't forget: That first $20,000 (actually more) of the $250,000 is taxed at only 15%. In that sense, the rest is gravy. (Oops, did I give away the correct answer? Silly me.)

getrichs wrote:But the problem most people have is that the taxes (money government gets) NEVER solves the problem
Except for the many, many times that it does.
I once had a person claim that he didn't receive any benefit from government programs. I narrated him through his morning from waking up to getting to work and had half a dozen programs that had helped him. These are the "get your government hands off my Medicare!" types of people: Too stupid to know what they're talking about.

ETA: My little blurb was only a paragraph (for only two hours of the day), but it looked a lot like this.

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

Postby Dardedar » Sat Sep 03, 2011 3:08 am

Savonarola wrote:While illegal immigrants working off the books get some tax-based benefits (like the use of roads and national parks), they don't draw social security, get medicare/medicaid, draw unemployment, or any of these other programs that send large sums of money to a single individual's benefit.


Tiny little footnote:

Federal and state excise taxes on gasoline pay for about half of the cost of road building and maintenance. LINK

Don't national parks have some user fees too?
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Re: Refuting the "50% don't pay taxes" Canard

Postby Savonarola » Sat Sep 03, 2011 7:28 am

Darrel wrote:Don't national parks have some user fees too?
I can speak of the state parks and campgrounds that I've visited: Some require payment, some don't, and some have parts that require payment while other parts can be used for free. (e.g., Using hiking trails is free, camping at primitive sites is usually free, and camping at developed sites usually isn't.)

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

Postby Dardedar » Sat Sep 03, 2011 11:28 am

David Franks got most of this but I'll give it a few pokes too.

getrichs wrote: You can make numbers speak any way you like


This is an attempt to dismiss, with a hand wave, anything to do with math. If you have an example of the article making the "numbers speak" in a distorted or misleading way, then you shouldn't have any trouble showing this. But you don't even try.

...here is a flaw in the data
It is based on REPORTED TAXES


If you have a case to make that this changes things dramatically, let's see it. The claim: "50% don't pay" [whatever] category of tax, refers to reported taxes, so it's appropriate to point out that it is wrong based upon it's own assumptions.

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


Perhaps you should try to provide some evidence to attempt establish your case, before you pretend to be so confident you want to bet money. If you want to see "Gross Dollars" going to a constituency, check out corporate welfare:

Analysis: 12 Corporations Pay Effective Tax Rate of Negative 1.5%on $171 Billion in Profits; Reap $62.4 Billion in Tax Subsidies

LINK

Why is it... 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


It's not clear what you are referring to. if you are making $250k after taxes, you may not be super rich, but you are very rich. Do you have a good reason for why it is fair to have The 400 Richest Americans Pay An 18% Tax Rate? If you do, let's hear it.

And remember, here is where the bulk of those tax cuts went to:

Image

No matter what tax system you come up with someone is not going to like it or say its not fair to someone


The complaint here is not that it is unfair or people don't like it. The complaint is that it is profoundly misleading and deceptive to cherry pick a single category of federal tax (income) while purposely excluding another category of federal tax (payroll) which specifically hits the working poor. In your entire comment your don't address this fact, because you can't. Again, 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 don't, 95% of those are elderly or very poor."

If you want to refer to the tax situation fairly, with regard to just federal taxes, do it like this.
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Re: Refuting the "50% don't pay taxes" Canard

Postby kestrelsparhawk » Sun Sep 04, 2011 4:02 am

(Note to safety question: LOL. It also would eliminate the sort of people who don't pay attention to directions!)

I just wanted to thank you for doing this analysis. I am sequestered (cloistered?) usually in my tv-free apartment, but happened to see Jon Stewart's show on this and wondered why he was simply taking the 50% generalization for granted. It sounded suspicious to me; ie the kind of Big Lie conservatives found really works the way Goebbels claimed. Now I don't have to do the blasted research, and you took it much deeper than I would have thought possible.

--Kes

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NWA Times attacking bloggers for setting the record straight

Postby arkansasmediawatch » Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:08 am

The Northwest Arkansas Times has maneuvered itself into deep trouble. They are now denying their own report about Senator Pryor's tax canard and attacking unnamed bloggers for setting the record straight.

http://arkansasmediawatch.wordpress.com ... messenger/

Another article worth reading:

Ernest Dumas in Arkansas Times: Perfidious poor

http://www.arktimes.com/ArkansasBlog/ar ... -deadbeats

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

Postby Dardedar » Mon Sep 05, 2011 10:04 pm

I've just added this comment to an NWA thread where they are still trying to help Senator Pryor out by saying everyone understood he meant federal income taxes. I'll include this here because it has a useful example:

***
ImUnarmed: "NWA Times editors... quoted Pryor as saying that half Americans don't pay any taxes. They now claim... the article made a reference to income taxes. It did not.">>


This is bizarre. Why do these two articles attempt to rehabilitate Senator Pryor's comment (whatever it was) by suggesting that even if he didn't refer to "Federal income taxes, it's what everyone understood he meant. To quote the above article:

"It was clear to everyone in the room that Pryor was talking about federal income taxes."

Excellent. Got it. Doesn't matter.

Anyone who thinks it matters still doesn't understand the problem. To say about half don't pay Fed income taxes, is to pass along, precisely, *the* canard, in its most sneaky form (the other forms, for instance Senator Boozeman's, are just patently false).

Let me give an example.

First, whatever Senator Pryor actually said, his comment meant to convey that about half of the population, necessarily the poor, working class, bottom half or so, are not paying enough (their fair share). That is the central point of this nifty tax slight of hand, however it is stated.

Imagine if the good Senator wanted to make the case that a 2004 Toyota Prius was an under powered wimpy car. What if he said to support this:

"The Prius has a 1.5 liter gas engine that only puts out 76 horsepower." [audience laughs]
What a silly car! Most cars of this size have a gas engine with nearly twice that horsepower."

That claim, as stated, would be absolutely true. Those are the stats of the gas engine:
http://www.motortrend.com/oftheyear/car ... ewall.html

But this statement carefully leaves something out. The '04 Prius also has a 50,000 watt, 67 horsepower electric motor. If someone were to talk about the power of this car, with the intention of making the point that it is underpowered, while only referring to the horsepower of the gas engine, without mentioning the power provided by the electric engine, the comment would be completely, profoundly, misleading. Some might say dishonest.

Yet this is exactly how this carefully crafted tax canard works. It cherry picks the year, cherry picks the category (Fed income tax), and carefully ignores the category that hits the working poor the most, payroll tax.

The 2004 Prius has lots of power. I have one. If you want to talk about its horsepower, honestly, you can't ignore a great portion of how it is powered. Likewise, if you want to talk about Federal taxes, honestly, you can't pick one category while ignoring another large portion. It is misleading, and that's being charitable.

Hope this helps. Further explanation here:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6610

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

Postby Dardedar » Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:14 pm

Never forget, these "flat taxers" are consistently for lower taxes for the rich, and higher for the poor. Here comes a fresh example from a leading republican contenders, who's plan would make it so someone like Buffett would pay no income tax at all.

***
Billionaire Investor Warren Buffett Would Pay No Income Tax Under Cain’s 999 Plan

"Republicans have met the Buffett rule with universal derision, calling it “class warfare.” “If it’s not class warfare, it’s highway robbery,” said 2012 GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain. “Pick my pockets, because that’s what he’s doing!” As it turns out, Cain’s much-touted 999 tax plan would basically do the opposite of the Buffett rule, driving Buffett’s already low tax rate down to new depths:

"If the “9-9-9″ tax plan promoted by Herman Cain, a leading Republican presidential candidate, had been the law of the land last year, Warren Buffett would very likely have paid no income taxes, according to an analysis prepared for Yahoo News and The Lookout by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. At most, Buffett would have paid taxes on just 1 percent of his income."

As Yahoo’s Zachary Roth wrote, “if Buffett thinks he’s getting off easy under the current tax system, he should try life under Cain’s plan. Then he’d really be complaining.” Under 999, Buffett’s taxable income would come to $4.9 million of the $62 million he earned last year. After accounting for charitable deductions — which is one of the few tax preferences Cain says he would preserve — “Buffett would have paid no income taxes at all last year under the plan.”

However, low- and middle-income Americans would pay much more under the 999 plan than they do currently. They will be hammered by Cain’s nine percent sales tax (which Buffett would also pay, though at nowhere near the effective rate of poor Americans, who spend almost all of their income in a given year), while also paying a nine percent income tax."
***
References at LINK

That makes sense eh? When you have a country that is consistently running large deficits, and the wealthy are doing better than ever, arrange the tax system so a multi-billionaire like Buffett, pays no income tax at all. These people are insane.
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Re: Refuting the "50% don't pay taxes" Canard

Postby HilleviCat » Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:18 am

My sincerest apologies for chiming in so late in this discussion (blame StumbleUpon, lol), but I found this thread to be extremely interesting. The current state of the economy as viewed by a Skeptic never ceases to intrigue me. You folks don't look at it from a Republican or Democrat standpoint as much as you look at it in a purely logical stand-point. . . .which is something I wish more people would do.

While Buffett would benefit graciously from that new tax plan, it's worth noting that Warren Buffett himself supports the idea of taxing those who make significantly more than the average American. This includes himself. Then again, he is one of the most giving philanthropists on the planet now, so his statements don't say so much as his actions do.

Either way, great discussion, folks. :)
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Re: Refuting the "50% don't pay taxes" Canard

Postby Dardedar » Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:36 am

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

Postby Dardedar » Tue Sep 18, 2012 4:16 pm

Essential to this topic:

***
"The 47 Percent, In One Graphic"

NPR

Mitt Romney's comments regarding the 47 percent of Americans who pay no income tax is getting lots of attention today. Our colleague Mark Memmott explains the context.

Here's a closer look at the numbers.

As of the latest accounting, it's actually just over 46 percent of Americans who pay no federal income taxes, according to the Tax Policy Center (PDF). Here's how that breaks down.

Image

And don't miss, from above:

"Among those households paying neither income tax nor payroll tax, almost all are either elderly or earning less than $20,000 a year. Here's a graphic from the Tax Policy Center that breaks this down."

Image

Or as Thinkprogress put it: "What Romney Won’t Tell You About The 47 Percent"

But who are the 47 percent of Americans who currently have no federal income tax liability?

Mostly, they are either too poor to qualify for even the lowest tax bracket (but still pay federal payroll tax, and state or local sales taxes, gas taxes, and excise taxes), or they benefit from tax credits for the working poor, the elderly, or students, as these charts from the Tax Policy Center show. Only 7 percent of the country is non-elderly and has no federal tax liability, and most of them make less than $20,000:" [see chart above]

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

Postby Dardedar » Fri Nov 08, 2013 9:21 pm

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

Postby KarenS » Mon Jun 09, 2014 4:52 am

Nice info to read on.I could say that nobody likes taxes, but do like to have the advantages they offer. There's been a continuing tug of war over whether state taxes are better than sales taxes, with a mixed bag of things for and against both ways of getting the public to pony up.


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