No one, perhaps in the history of politics, has used words more effectively to obfuscate the blatant and demonstrably false ideas he’s put forward than soon-to-be-former President Barack Obama.
His idea of the rich “paying their fair share,” is so intuitive, so empathetic, it’s hard to resist.
Of course. Everyone should pay his or her own fair share.
Obama’s campaign is based on painting Mitt Romney as a money-grubbing businessman, the very big-money fatcats that made Occupy Wallstreet a national
phenomenon flash in the pan.
But, as any person with a false ideology does, Obama runs into a problem of parody.
Mainly, that there isn’t any when it comes to the United States taxing rolls.
An article in the Wall Street Journal lays out the burgeoning piece of the tax pie that the rich are paying. The article notes:
In the 1980s, the top 5% averaged 22.6% of income and paid 28.5% of taxes.
In the 1990s, the top 5% averaged 25.3% of income and paid 34.3% of taxes
In the 2000s, the top 5% averaged 28.4% of the income and paid 40.3% of the taxes.
– Wall Street Journal “The Numbers Behind a Hot-Button Issue”
Often, the argument made by liberals is that rich people are so much richer now, so they should be paying more. Or perhaps the argument goes, well the top percent of income earners control more wealth, so they should be paying more.
Both of those statements are factually true, but because of factors like inflation and population growth, the taxing system has not kept up with the historic trends of taxing the rich.
As the numbers from WSJ show, the top 5% actually account for 42% more of the overall tax rolls than they did a generation ago.
As for the claims in Obama’s latest add about the rich like Romney paying less in taxes than the middle class, on average, that simply isn’t true. As the WSJ points out:
The annual Internal Revenue Service scorecard of the top 400 taxpayers—who reported average incomes of $200 million—showed they paid 19.9% of their adjusted gross income in federal income taxes in 2009, well above the rate paid by the middle class. Those with incomes between $100,000 and $200,000, for instance, paid about 12%. (The IRS tally for the top 400 counts only income reported on tax returns, and only income taxes. Neither the IRS nor CBO calculates figures for the 1% using the broader definitions of income and taxes.)
Now remember that nearly half the households in America don’t pay any taxes, as in zero dollars, this gap between what we hear from the left and reality only grows.
The rich are richer, this is certainly true, but any sense of fairness of them paying more has to be lost when you account for the fact that they’re paying more of the bills now than at any point in history.
Obama’s infamous “you didn’t build that” gaffe seems even more incoherent now when you consider than business owners and the wealthy really did build that.
The money the government gets, by and large, comes from the rich. Not only do the top-earners finance most of commerce in the world, they finance most of the work the government does as well.
More importantly, the rich are always paying, and now by a higher percentage than ever, for the work not being done by the rest of the country. The middle class doesn’t pay for most of Social Security or entitlement spending.
The rich do with their taxes.
This idea that the rich don’t pay their fair share, when they’re paying not only their share but also the share for nearly 50% of American households, is a complete non-starter. By that standard, when the president means he wants the rich to “pay their fair share,” he has to be talking about lowering taxes, since the rich already pay for themselves and literally half of the country.
Of course, the president doesn’t mean this, which is exactly why so many believe the president means only to punish the wealthy, take from them and redistribute the money to his ardent base of statists, his rich friends, and whomever he chooses.
Does that sound like everyone paying their fair share?