Skip to comments.In Defense of "The Rich"
Posted on 10/09/2008 4:47:45 AM PDT by Kaslin
So, what do "the rich" pay in federal income taxes? Nothing, right? That, at least, is what most people think. And Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama wants to raise the top marginal rate for "the rich" -- known in some quarters as "job creators."
A recent poll commissioned by Investor's Business Daily asked, in effect, "What share do you think the rich pay?" Their findings? Most people are completely clueless about the amount the rich actually do pay.
First, the data. The top 5 percent (those making more than $153,542 -- the group whose taxes Obama seeks to raise) pay 60 percent of all federal income taxes. The rich (aka the top 1 percent of income earners, those making more than $388,806 a year), according to the IRS, pay 40 percent of all federal income taxes. The top 1 percent's taxes comprise 17 percent of the federal government's revenue from all sources, including corporate taxes, excise taxes, social insurance and retirement receipts.
Now, what do people think the rich pay? The IBD/TIPP poll found that 36 percent of those polled thought the rich contribute 10 percent or less of all federal income taxes. Another 15 percent thought the rich pay between 10 and 20 percent, while another 10 percent thought the rich's share is between 20 and 30 percent. In other words, most people thought the rich pay less -- far less -- than they actually do. Only 12 percent of those polled thought the rich pay more than 40 percent.
Let's try this another way. A U.S. News & World Report blogger went to the Democratic National Convention in Denver and conducted an informal poll of 24 DNC delegates. He asked them, "What should 'the rich' pay in income taxes?" Half the respondents said "25 percent"; 25 percent said "20 percent"; 12 percent said "30 percent"; and another 12 percent said "35 percent." The average DNC delegate wanted the rich to pay 25.6 percent, which is lower than what the rich pay now -- both by share of taxes and by tax rate!
Thirty percent of American voters pay nothing -- zero, zip, nada -- in federal income taxes. And, not too surprisingly, compared with taxpaying voters, they are more likely to support spending that benefits them. The majority of the 30 percent who don't pay federal income taxes agree with Obama's $65 billion plan to institute taxpayer-funded universal health coverage. But the majority of the 70 percent who pay federal income taxes are opposed to Obama's health care plan.
Non-taxpayers support Obama's plans for increased tax deductions for lower-income Americans, along with higher overall tax rates levied against middle- and upper-income households. The majority of non-taxpayers (57 percent) also favor raising the individual income-tax rate for those in the highest bracket from 35 percent to 54 percent. And the majority (59 percent) favors raising Social Security taxes by 4 percent for any individual or business that makes at least $250,000.
Obama calls increasing taxes and giving them to the needy a matter of "neighborliness." Vice presidential running mate Joe Biden calls it a matter of "patriotism."
Yet when it comes to charitable giving, neither Obama (until recently) nor Biden feels sufficiently neighborly or patriotic to donate as much as does the average American household: 2 percent of their adjusted gross income.
Liberal families earn about 6 percent more than conservative families, yet conservative households donate about 30 percent more to charity than do liberal households. And conservatives give more than just to their own churches and other houses of worship. Conservatives, especially religious conservatives, give far more money and donate more of their time to nonreligious charitable causes than do liberals -- especially secular liberals.
In 2007, President George W. Bush and his wife had an adjusted gross income of $923,807. They paid $221,635 in taxes, and donated $165,660 to charity -- or 18 percent of their income. Vice President and Mrs. Cheney, in 2007, had a taxable income of $3.04 million. And they paid $602,651 in taxes, and donated $166,547 to charity -- or 5.5 percent of their income.
Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, earned between $200,000 and $300,000 a year between 2000 and 2004, and they donated less than 1 percent to charity. When their income soared to $4.2 million in 2007, their charitable contributions went up to 5 percent.
Joe and Jill Biden, by contrast, made $319,853 and gave $995 to charity in 2007, or 0.3 percent of their income. And that was during the year Biden was running for president. Over the past 10 years, the Bidens earned $2,450,042 and gave $3,690 to charity -- or 0.1 percent of their income.
So let's sum up. The "compassionate" liberals -- at least based on charitable giving -- show less compassion than "hardhearted" conservatives. The rich pay more in income taxes than people think. Voters, clueless about the facts, want the rich to pay still more.
Yeah, but Democrats are generous, with other people’s money.
Then who will feed the poor?
“First, the data. The top 5 percent (those making more than $153,542 — the group whose taxes Obama seeks to raise) pay 60 percent of all federal income taxes. The rich (aka the top 1 percent of income earners, those making more than $388,806 a year), according to the IRS, pay 40 percent of all federal income taxes. The top 1 percent’s taxes comprise 17 percent of the federal government’s revenue from all sources, including corporate taxes, excise taxes, social insurance and retirement receipts.”
Same idiots turn around and lament about the USA becoming an oligarghy.....after basically selling the government to the rich...
$250,000 sounds like a lot of money but it certainly doesn’t define a line between a small business and a large one. The owner of a local bakery that employs 6 people told me that they do almost two million dollars worth of business every year but they’re anything but “the rich”.
It was realities like that which could be spun to convince folks that the rich don't really pay income taxes.
“Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, earned between $200,000 and $300,000 a year between 2000 and 2004, and they donated less than 1 percent to charity. When their income soared to $4.2 million in 2007, their charitable contributions went up to 5 percent.”
Wait a second please. Joe Biden earns 300,000 plus change as a senator. Barack Obama earns 4.2 million as a senator? Are they both in the same senate? Didn’t Obama’s wife leave her well paying job? How could Obama make 4.2 million in 2007? Did he own a lot of stock or real estate or something? Maybe he wrote a book or stared in a movie?
Could someone out there please direct me to a profession where I can go from 300,000 to 4.2 million in less than 3 years? A lawful profession that is.
Maybe I read something wrong?
“Thirty percent of American voters pay nothing — zero, zip, nada — in federal income taxes. And, not too surprisingly, compared with taxpaying voters, they are more likely to support spending that benefits them.”
I think it was de Tocqueville who wrote that this Republic would last only until the people realized they could vote themselves benefits. Now in this country the people don’t directly vote for such things but they choose representatives who promise to do the same. I, frankly, don’t think anyone should get a free ride on federal or state taxes. I don’t think everyone should be taxed the same but I think there should be some way in which we all share a portion of the cost of especially federal programs. It is not just “the rich” who benefit from national defense, national roadways, parks, federal law enforcement and the court system.
I wish there were a way to earmark costs and peg them directly to either a proportionate increase in taxes or a decrease in benefits so everyone has to take into account a sacrifice for that program. When every person has to decide whether the cost is worth it, I think we might see more judicious use of our monies. Yes, I know, it’s a pipedream but our system is seriously screwed up when our only opportunity for direct democracy on the federal level is so controlled by politicians who brazenly promise everything for nothing and, usually, don’t deliver. For all the talk this election about the middle class, it is the least represented group of citizens in the nation.
“Then who will feed the poor?”
Perhaps Congress will give the Agriculture Secretary power to nationalize farms?
Obama’s bff William Ayers (aka, an “education reformer”) no doubt appreciates Stalin as an agrarian reformer.
“Could someone out there please direct me to a profession where I can go from 300,000 to 4.2 million in less than 3 years”
I’m sure you can find as much native american blood in your veins as did Ward Churchill.
Who will bail out the banks?
I've related the tax rates a number of times to friends and family members and gotten the same response....either silence or declarations that they didn't believe the numbers.
In America today, the poor pay nothing, the rich pay some, the middle class pay a little more, but it’s our children and grandchildren at all income levels who get stuck with the truly massive bill.
Sure. Just hire William Ayers to ghostwrite your self-pitying biography. have him write two biographies before you are 45 years old. Works like a charm. Everyone should do it.
As a member of “the rich”, I’d like to address a few items.
First, I’ve not always been “rich”. I grew up middle class. As in real middle $30k a year middle class. I worked at McDonald’s and a grocery store while in high school and undergrad. My father grew up poor and liked to tell me about his dad not having 75 cents to buy him a bike he wanted during the 30s.
Second, my wife and I aren’t really “rich”. Yes, we have a large income, relative to the mean and median. We bust our arses for it. If we didn’t, the checks would stop coming in. We didn’t get here because of the color of our skin. We worked hard to get where we are. While others screwed around in high school and their 20s we did not. I’m not sure what great power we have as “the rich”. We pay a lot more in taxes, that’s for certain.
Finally, it is amusing when my ardent Democrat mother is forced to reconcile her hatred of “the rich” with the fact that her son is a member of that awful class. Personally, “the rich” are just like you and me, but as a class, I guess we are not.
Class envy is alive and well in the US and ignorance and laziness are its handmaidens.
At 54%, Atlas will shrug. Someone needs to smack this uppity little punk upside the head with a Laffer Curve.
Zerobama complains about excessive CEO salaries a bonuses. (This is generally a private matter between the CEO, the board of directors, and the stockholders. Certainly none of the government's business.) Why isn't he complaining about the excessive sums paid to Hollywood actors? Maybe if we put a cap on the salaries of Leo Dicaprio and Brad Pitt it wouldn't cost $12 to go to a movie.
Zero wants to tax the oil companies, punish them for being successful. Someone needs to explain to the poor and middle class that companies don't pay a dime in taxes, ever. All they do is collect it from the consumers and pass it on to the government. If we tax Exxon an additional 10 brazillion dollars, where is that money going to come from ultimately?
This eat-the-rich mentality has a strong appeal to the weak minded. They believe that there is a static pile of this stuff called wealth. If you have three dollars and I only have one dollar, somehow you cheated me out of a dollar. You should just GIVE me one of your dollars, then we would each have two dollars, and that would be FAIR (i.e. "economic justice"). They fail to grasp the concept that wealth is CREATED.
McCain better have one helluva October Surprise up his sleeve, and he'd better play it soon.
Oh, you conservatives will believe anything Faux News tells you!
Ten Years After. They made a million dollars with that song.
The weirdest thing is they never have any numbers to spew back at me. All they ever say is they don't believe the numbers or they change the subject. Without a doubt Dem voters are the most ignorant voters.
One of my arch-Dem brothers in law claimed that Reagan was responsible for high interest rates after he got elected. I looked at him in amazement and corrected his misstatements reminding him that Jimmy Carter created the high rates. He refused to back down. Reagan's dictum about what Dems/libs "know that isn't true" has never been more valid than with the Dems I know.
I thought the flat tax system was a percentage of income, just the same for everyone and that means the rich would pay more than the poor. I suppose if you could sequester the government budgets into programs that benefitted everyone equally and tax everyone equally, it would be nice but I’m not sure it could be done with any degree of logic or fairness and practically, I doubt any government would assent to being hamstrung by such sequestration. (Just to give an example: do the poor or the rich benefit more from urban renewal? You can argue that both groups benefit and then start quibbling about how much. It would be an endless and rancorous debate and there are thousands of such programs which arguably benefit both poor and rich.)
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Force everyone in the village to give him a fish, he'll vote for you in the next election.
Anyone who opens their mouth and says things like “The rich need to pay their fair share” are dumbasses without a CLUE.
I know everyone here knows this, but it’s simply something that needs to be fought again and again.
While I’m not terribly happy to hear that AIG VPs were off at some fancy-smancy place days after a bailout, I’m not going to sit here and say that “Fair” is forcing someone with more money than someone else to simply GIVE MORE MONEY.
That’s utter BS. I am not by any stretch of the imagination “rich”. I’ve got bills I have to pay, my wife and I work, our kids have moved out finally and I’m even paying some of their ADULT bills they should have paid.
But, my wife and I have been putting away 16% of our income for a bunch of years now. That’s MY freakin’ money. I saved it. It might be worth a couple hundred grand today, were it not for the US Government, Congress and bad laws allowing bad things to happen.
People who are “poor” - I see them every day even where I work - don’t work very hard, some of them.
They have “problems”. I hear it all the time. “I don’t have a HS diploma, so I can’t get a good paying job, like you, Rick!” I have been told.
I ask them “Who’s fault is it you didn’t get a diploma?” they mutter and walk off.
“You make a lot of money, Rick, you can go on vacation, I only make minimum wage, I’m happy Congress at least raised minimum wage!”
So I reply, “Really? And yet you’re still working for this cleaning company that won’t give you a sick day, or a vacation? You’re only allowed to work 35 hours? And you’re happy you’re making minimum wages, no matter what they are?”
The person says, “I’m happy to have a job. You have a career!”
I explain that my “Career” was the military, and these days this is a “job” and I only am working until I have enough money saved to QUIT and do what I want to do (which is buy a boat, sail the Caribbean with my dear wife) - and hell, I don’t think I can ever afford that now with the crash.
The “poor” are happy I’m in the same boat with them now....
One laughed and said to me, “How’s it feel rich boy, to be poor?”
Yes, and didn't we hear him say that he doesn't call it "redistribution of wealth"?