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The White House Blasts Fox News For Misleading Viewers On Tax Cuts
By Jason Easley
Today, the White House accused Fox News of misleading their viewers about taxing the rich, and offered a point by point debunking of the Fox talking points.
Chris Wallace tried to argue that taxes should not be increased on the wealthy by saying, “1 percent of households with the highest incomes pay 38 percent of federal income taxes. The top 10 percent pay 70 percent of federal income taxes. Meanwhile, 46 percent of households pay no federal income tax at all.”
Today on the White House Blog, Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer called out Wallace’s stats, “These statistics are misleading and don’t tell the whole story. They leave out payroll taxes that every worker pays to make sure they will have Social Security and Medicare when they retire, which fall disproportionately on the middle class. And they don’t mention that the share of the nation’s income going to the highest earners grew rapidly in the past two decades – at the same time tax rates fell for the highest earners. In fact, because of growing income inequality, the top 10 percent of American earners now earns 42 percent of the nation’s income, and when correctly calculated, pay about 50 percent of the federal income and payroll tax burden – not much larger than their share of earnings.”
Pheiffer was just getting warmed up. He followed up with a point by point debunking of the Fox News talking points,
Claim: The top 10 percent wealthiest Americans pay 70 percent of federal income taxes.
Fact: This statistic presents a deeply misleading picture of the actual federal tax burden because (1) it fails to include payroll taxes, which every worker pays, and which fall disproportionately on the middle class, and (2) because it doesn’t reflect that high-income Americans earn a disproportionate share of income.
- Payroll taxes account for 34 percent of federal revenues. They only apply to income earned on the job – not income from capital gains on investments, which make up a much greater share of the income of the top 10 percent. And payroll taxes for Social Security are capped at $106,800.
- For both of these reasons, wealthier Americans face a disproportionately lower burden from payroll taxes. According to the independent, non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the wealthiest 10 percent only pay 25 percent of all payroll taxes.
- Counting both payroll and income taxes, the top 10 percent only pay about 50 percent of that tax burden – not much larger than their share of our nation’s income (around 42 percent).
Claim: The 1 percent of households with the highest incomes pay 38 percent of federal income taxes.
Fact: This statistic again ignores the payroll taxes that every working American pays, and the fact that incomes of the top 1 percent have increased rapidly in recent years.
- As with calculations about the tax burden of the top 10 percent, this claim ignores payroll taxes that every American worker pays, but fall much less on the highest earners.
- In fact, the top 1 percent of all Americans only pay 4.1 percent of the nation’s payroll taxes. Overall, they pay about one-quarter of federal income and payroll taxes.
- While the top 1 percent pays about one-quarter of our federal income and payroll tax, they also earn 19 percent of our nation’s income.
Claim: 46 percent of households pay no federal income tax at all.
Fact: Around 82 percent of Americans pay income or payroll taxes, and those who don’t are mostly elderly people.
Ignoring payroll taxes presents a particularly misleading picture for middle income taxpayers. In fact, according to the independent, non-partisan Tax Policy Center, around 82 percent of Americans pay income or payroll taxes.
Fox News has become the primary propagator of the myth that nearly half of Americans don’t pay taxes, and Chris Wallace was trying to make the ridiculous argument that the rich shouldn’t have to pay more, even though they make more money. Fox News has been trying for months to turn the fairness argument on its ear in order to defend the polices of the last decade that caused the tax burden to trickle down and crush 98% of the American people.
The current rate of taxation is unfair to everyone who is not rich. The American people were promised prosperity if the wealthy were given special treatment, but a decade has passed and prosperity has never come around our corner. It is good to see the White House taking on the media mouthpiece of privilege and entitlement. The Obama administration has had good messages on a variety of issues, but sometimes struggled to communicate them in a simple and effective manner.
On the issues of jobs and taxes the administration now has a simple message that it is taking to the American people. They are also excelling at countering the distortions and misinformation coming from the right. As nice as it is to see the White House mixing it up with Fox News, more importantly, they are winning the message war on jobs and taxes.
The Obama message on taxes is the same as it was in December. The difference is that the White House is now presenting taxation as a moral issue, and this approach has connected with the American people.
The battle for 2012 is on, and it looks like the White House is no longer going to let Fox News roam unchecked.
“The average prison sentence for men who kill their intimate partners is 2 to 6 years. Women who kill their partners are sentenced, on average, to 15 years.”—
We’ve seen this particular claim made a number of times now. It’s the worst kind of claim because it’s technically true, yet utterly misleading. In short, it’s bad statistics (much like what happens with the wage gap) where it’s presumed that the actions being taken by each party are equal and that there aren’t gender differentials.
As far as we can tell, the difference is that while both men and women do kill their partners, when they do it’s for notably different reasons and in notably different ways. When men kill their wives it’s normally what’s termed a “crime of passion” motivated by anger or rage. This normally leads to a charge of second-degree murder, because the crime lacks the premeditation element that characterizes first-degree murder. Women who kill their husbands, on the other hand, are more likely to exercise premeditation, which leads to the much more severe charge of first-degree murder. Even in cases where the charges don’t differ the circumstances often still do in a similar way, just to a lesser degree.
Basically, we as a society acknowledge that there’s a difference between someone who comes home, finds their partner in bed with someone else and clocks them with a lamp and someone who decides to kill their partner, goes out, buys a gun, walks up to them while they’re sleeping and empties a magazine into their head. Men’s actions are more likely to look like the former, women’s the latter, and we as a society consider the latter to be far more severe.
Ironically, the two cases cited are utterly perfect examples. Kenneth Peacock was sentenced to 18 months in jail after he came home unexpectedly, found his wife in bed with another man and shot her. Patricia Ann Hawkins, on the other hand, was sentenced to
36 24 (see below) months in jail, for….soaking her sleeping husband with lighter fluid and then setting him on fire. Anyone with a brain can see a considerable difference.
It’s actually worse than that, though. Peacock was actually sentenced to 36 months himself, 18 of which were suspended. Of course, the page neglects to mention that part. Secondly, Hawkins was not sentenced to 36 months, but rather to 24 months, only six months longer than Peacock. It appears that “The Michigan Women’s Justice & Clemency Project” is not competent enough to do a basic Google search, with which they would have realized that the 36 month figure originated as an editorial error in the Baltimore Sun. They posted a retraction the next day.
Hawkins was originally charged with (surprise, surprise) first-degree murder (to which she responded with the a plea of “not guilty by reason of insanity”), but the case was resolved with a plea bargain in which she plead guilty to both manslaughter and arson. In review: Hawkins was charged with a more severe crime as a result of premeditation, and committed two crimes (murder/manslaughter and arson) instead of one.
When we divide things back down into the categories of murder (first-degree, second-degree, sometimes third degree, and manslaughter even though it’s not technically murder), that “gap” disappears.
Your Love Games Have Come To An End
So yesterday I had to go do this extra credit thing in Brooklyn. It was at Miller Field, which is absolutely huge. Anyways, I was unaware that before we would go there we would stop by my grandmothers’ house. The one I haven’t seen in a year. The one I never visit or never visits us. Not that she really has that capability anymore but even when she did… she didn’t. Anyways so it was the strangest thing ever. She’s exactly like my mom. She looks like her, she acts like her, they both have short brown hair, blue eyes, wrinkles in similar places, short, annoying, crazy and talk a lot. And they say similar things and get lonely easily. It’s fucking crazy as shit. It’s different, though, because even though they’re very similar I don’t really like grandma. She’s too all about herself and whatnot. But it was so strange to see their similarities. Scary, even.
P.S. Don’t you love misleading titles?