Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Taxes, Plus Giuliani, Clinton Soar, Thompson Flounders

If you'll look below at the October 14 column, you'll find it's titled Republican Truth Serum: What You "Know" About Income Taxes Isn't True. I used the word "you" because it refers to the fact that most people are misinformed about who pays taxes -- and who doesn't. As you'll notice, the top 1% of income earners -- we're talking Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Oprah types -- have 21%-plus of the income in the U.S. However, they don't pay 21% of total taxes. In fact, they pay nearly 40%.

It's critical that Republicans -- candidates and we plain ole activists -- get across solid information about taxes and other issues. Most people believe individuals with relatively modest incomes pay most of the taxes, while the "rich" have access to CPAs and a host of "loopholes."

The truth is far different from that assumption. In fact, half the income earners in the U.S. pay little or no federal income taxes. They do shell out PAYROLL taxes for Social Security and Medicare, but income taxes are another matter.

How can we get these points across? And should we even try? Frankly, many people are satisfied living in a cocoon of misinformation.

I've been reading an outstanding book called Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. It's by brothers Chip and Dan Heath and published by Random House. It offers suggestions on how to get ideas to stick -- to take hold in people's heads and hearts.

Tomorrow, I'll discuss the way we get people to accept and act on ideas. Hint: We can't do it by statistics alone, because too many citizens either don't understand statistics -- or don't believe them. Take a look at the October 14 column, and return tomorrow for more discussion.


CNN announced today (3:40 p.m. ET, October 16, 2007) that a new national poll has come out with implications for Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. "I think I have the best chance of defeating Hillary Clinton." (Rudy Giuliani)

Republican Poll Results
Rudy Giuliani -- 32%
Fred Thompson -- 18%
John McCain -- 14%
Mitt Romney -- 10%
Democratic Poll Results
Hillary Clinton -- 50%
Barack Obama -- 21%
John Edwards --13%
It appears highly probable -- of course, in politics little is certain -- that the nominees will be Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton.
For the Republicans, Fred Thompson is floundering like a beached whale. The Economist said this week that he is amiable and conservative but apparently NOT a "heavyweight." Frankly, it's time for the candidates who have not achieved anything like a national standing to consider seriously an endorsement of Rudy Giuliani.
Candidates like John McCain, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Sam Brownback, and Duncan Hunter have fought the good fight. Now, they should begin to think about the real task: supporting a candidate who can win in the general election. For the Republicans, that candidate is Rudy Giuliani, "America's Mayor."
Tomorrow, I'll talk about steps Rudy should take to strengthen his standing with social conservatives. One of those steps, which should occur shortly after Super Tuesday (Feb. 5, 2007) is the naming of a vice-presidential nominee who would have strong national appeal. I believe that person should be Gov. Sarah Palin, Alaska's favorite daughter, America's great hope.


Christopher said...

The rich will always pay an extremly high percentage of taxes, that won't change, but hopefully the public perception will be a little more greatful once this information gets out.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

Christoper, the rich pay a lot in taxes, much more than MOST people (and not only Democrats) think. Republicans need to figure out ways to present this reality in compelling ways. We don't need to feel sorry for the rich (unless we're rich ourselves), but we do need to look at issues fairly and intelligently. Most people jumble "taxes" together, not making much distinction between state taxes, sales taxes, and payroll taxes, all of which are different from federal income taxes. One way to pitch this is to say to an audience: okay, you buy one PowerBall ticket in the $100 million lottery -- and you hit it. You go to the PowerBall people and the check isn't $100 million. Instead, it's $66 million, 667,00 dollars. What happens to the other $33.3 million? Guess? Uncle Sam took it. Okay, you're still "rich," but you aren't quite as rich as it sounded when you won the $100 million lottery. (If you live in a juridiction with high state taxes, like New York, they'll probably take several million more.)


Brad Marston said...

Chris and Steve,

I agree with what both of you say. There are in fact two dynamics at work here. The rich (and us not so rich) pay the vast majority of income taxes. They would still pay the majority under a flat tax. The more you make the more you pay.

However, 1) we are getting close to the point where the majority of people do not pay federal income tax, and, 2) when we get to the point where the majority of people who vote and the majority of people who don't pay income tax become the same subset of the populace, the opportunity to ever reduce the top marginal rates will disappear. The same is true of the corporate tax rates which are getting relatively higher visa vis the industrialized world as other countries (Ireland is a prime example) race to lower theirs.

Brad Marston said...


First of all thanks for stopping by Azamatterofact. The best Political blog that no one reads. Well except for you and some of my family.

In interest of full disclosure, I not only support Senator McCain but I work for his campaign as well. I like Rudy as I was fortunate enough to live in NYC when he was mayor.

However, before we annoint him as the Republican Nominee, I think we may want to see some actual votes cast. (We all remember President Dean, right.)

I like your site but you need some serious help with links. It will make your site look a lot better. I am voluteering if you are interested.

Again, Thanks for the visit and the comment.