Sunday, October 14, 2007

Republican Truth Serum: What You "Know" About Income Taxes Isn't True

IMPORTANT NOTE: My columns on Tuesday and Wednesday will be about Rudy Giuliani and his need to reach out to what are known as "social conservatives." As soon as you can, please read the important Weekly Standard column by Fred Barnes, which discusses steps Rudy can take to resolve his issues with some conservatives. The link is as follows:

The Speech He Needs to Give
Giuliani and social conservatives.
by Fred Barnes
10/22/2007, Volume 013, Issue 06

This column is part of a continuing series that will appear every Sunday and Monday. It deals with the critical need for Republican candidates and thinkers (that means you) to get across some basic ideas that are the core of Republicanism.

"The problem with most people is that what they KNOW is TRUE . . . isn't." (Mark Twain)

"People have a right to their own opinions, but they don't have a right to their own facts." (Daniel Patrick Moynihan)

If you don't read anything else today, please examine the following press release from the Tax Foundation: The information may come as a real shock.

I recently had an exchange with an online friend (call him "M") who was making the points that: (1) high-income people didn't pay very much in taxes because of all the loopholes they have and (2) the poor are getting poorer while the rich are getting richer. In fact, "M" is dead wrong on both points.

The source for the following is the IRS:

"The table above [in the Tax Foundation release] shows that the top-earning 25 percent of taxpayers (AGI over $62,068) earned 67.5 percent of nation's income, but they paid more than four out of every five dollars collected by the federal income tax (86 percent). {AGI refers to adjusted gross income.]

"The top 1 percent of taxpayers (AGI over $364,657) earned approximately 21.2 percent of the nation's income (as defined by AGI), yet paid 39.4 percent of all federal income taxes. That means the top 1 percent of tax returns paid about the same amount of federal individual income taxes as the bottom 95 percent of tax returns."

"The IRS data also shows increases in individual incomes across all income groups."

The data shows that what "most people believe" (including Matt) is not accurate. Are Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards who talk about "tax cuts for the rich" aware of these facts? Presumably they are, but they continue to mislead Americans so that they can get elected.

Admittedly, Republican candidates probably aren't going to get a lot of sympathy from voters for the "plight" of the rich. However, politics should not be all about fantasies and the toleration of factual errors.

We average Americans don't have to like affluent people. On the other hand, we have no right to spread falsehoods about them.

About half the people in the U.S. pay almost all the federal income taxes. Roughly half the people -- the poorer half -- pay little or nothing in federal income tax, although they do pay Social Security and Medicare "charges."

We should rub people's noses in these undisputed facts, but at the same time -- unlike the Democrats -- we shouldn't nurture anyone's illusions. "The truth shall make you free."

Stephen R. Maloney
Ambridge, PA

1 comment:

Brad Marston said...

Sorry if this is a repeat...

What people "know" about taxes? As Reagan said..."It is not that liberals are ignorant. It is that so little of what they know is actually true."