Mike the Mad Biologist

The nitwits at CPAC are running around, claiming that Obama’s, well, everything is sending us down the dark path of socialism (although Henry Paulson and George Bush did pretty well on that score. Got TARP?). But these claims are ridiculous–and to some conservatives’ credit, they understand this. Consider what a household that earns $500,000 per year (roughly ten times the median household income) would pay in taxes under the Obama plan:

If Obama’s tax plan is approved, a family making $500,000 a year would see its annual tax bill rise to nearly $132,000 from about $120,000, a 10 percent increase, said Clint Stretch, managing principal of tax policy at Deloitte Tax.

Let me rephrase that: if Obama’s COMMUNISMZ!!! tax plan is approved, a family making $500,000 a year would ‘only’ keep 73.6% of its income ($368,000), as opposed to 76% of its income currently ($380,000).

This is socialism?

This is communism?

Does this mean that keeping 75% of income would be a very liberal social democracy?

This is a joke. We have bills to pay, and in the long run, we’re all going to probably have to lower our standard of living for a while. But $368,000 isn’t chump change (and, yes, I realize other taxes have to be paid too). It’s still much, much more than most households’ pre-tax income.

But then there’s this horror story:

Hedge fund managers would take an even bigger hit. Much of their multimillion-dollar earnings would be taxed as regular income rather than capital gains, causing their tax rate to rise from 15 percent to as much as 39.6 percent.

Boo-fucking-hoo.

Comments

  1. #1 Coriolis
    March 4, 2009

    Uhh, is this supposed to be an argument *against* these taxes? I don’t think that’s gonna work.

    The republicans are messing up here – apparently they aren’t lying enough about the Obama tax plan. Telling the truth has been a losing proposition for them for a while, so why start now?

  2. #2 D. C. Sessions
    March 4, 2009

    The analysis and numbers are, of course, totally bogus. At that tax level, a good tax-dodge attorney can save much more than s/he costs. Anyone paying that much in taxes is at best a fool and more likely an idiot.

    Here’s reality: the Social Security payroll tax, at less than 15% of income (including both parts) and capped at $100,000 per year raw income, brings in 2/3 as much as all of the income tax system combined. Now figure out how much that top few percent that make half of all the country’s income are really paying in taxes compared to some poor roofer sweating in the sun.

  3. #3 bbbeard
    March 4, 2009

    You left out the increase in the price of gasoline and energy that Obama’s energy plan will cause. And the increased cost of health care when the federal government seizes control of that sector of the economy. And the loss of investment income (and employment) that will ensue when the capital markets collapse. And the hyperinflation that will result from running a deficit exceeding 10% of GDP.

    But setting all that aside, is it safe to infer that you have a tidy plan to cut $1000 a month from your family budget? I’ve got news for you: despite your wild fantasies, in this income bracket, we still have to plan meals and budget extra expenditures. I guess we can cut movie-going from once a month to once every other month, that will save $30 a month. Two meatless nights a week, that will save $100. Sure, most folks earn much less and no eyes will weep for us — but why on earth should anyone think this tax increase is a good thing? Especially when all we are doing is paying for bigger government? You are taking money out of the economy and sending it to Washington, D.C. If people like me stop going to the movies or buy cheaper groceries, don’t you think that has a ripple effect through the economy? Don’t you think the local movie houses and restaurants and clothing stores could use that income better than ACORN?

    It is this arrogant ignorance of economics, mixed with an imperial disdain for discussion, that tempts people to haul out the “communist” label. We’ve seen this before in other countries — demonization and confiscation of wealth, demolition of capital markets, restrictions on speech, confiscation of weapons. It’s a little more than just “35 goes to 39″.

    Oh, and DC: I think the “tax-dodge attorney” who will “save you thousands” is an urban legend. At least, I’ve never found one. And for all the times my rich friends and I get together on the yacht for caviar and Cuban cigars, they’ve never told me they’ve found one, either. But I’m sure you know a guy who knows a guy who did.

    BBB

  4. #4 Hank Roberts
    March 5, 2009

    Hey, I know where the government can find $245 billion a year, which ought to help a bit.

    Just nominate _every_ rich person for federal office of some sort, and routinely send their income tax records to H’n’R Block for a checkover.

    Seriously. Google led me to this:

    http://www.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/viewContentItem.do?contentType=Article&hdAction=lnkhtml&contentId=1769215&dType=SUB&history=false

    Income tax crime and government responses in the United States 1998-2007
    H. Wayne Cecil, Raymond L. Placid, Carl Pacini
    Journal of Financial Crime
    2009
    Volume:16
    Issue:1
    Page:97 – 106
    ISSN:1359-0790
    DOI:10.1108/13590790910925000

    Purpose – The most recent IRS estimate puts the individual tax gap at $245 billion per year. This study seeks to develop and review performance measures for the seven most important IRS programs aimed at reducing the tax gap. … There was almost no change in audit rates and increases in other IRS discovery programs. There was a steady decrease in civil penalties for the first seven years followed by increases in latest three years. There were decreases in abatements for most penalties, a dramatic decrease in seizures, and significant increases in liens and levies. There were noteworthy decreases in the number of special agents and criminal investigations. The relatively small number of criminal investigation activities is surprising given the amount of the tax gap. …This study examines all major programs aimed at the individual tax gap.

  5. #5 pzdummy
    March 5, 2009

    WE’LL BURY YOU, ATHEISTS!

    i think this will be more effective:

    visit

    http://www.samharris.org/forum/viewthread/11853/

    to see how we WON THE MILLION DOLLAR PARANORMAL CHALLENGE

    and CRUSHED the entire atheist movement…

    and PZ too….

    predict the future too!

    http://groups.google.com/group/alt.music.depeche-mode/browse_thread/thread/a07c0d5d7c986593?ie=UTF-8&q=depeche+mode+nostradamus+enjoy+the+silence+markuze&pli=1

  6. #6 matt
    March 5, 2009

    you would be pretty upset if it was your half a mil that the government was going to take a giant percentage for no good reason.

    obama is a chattering moron, who is bleading this country into oblivion. i wonder how long it will be until we all speak chinese.

  7. #7 Kelly
    March 5, 2009

    For no good reason? Hmm.. so they don’t use roads, emergency services, don’t support government research and OH don’t forget the loverly huge war bills we have courtesy of the Republicans. We pay taxes to support those things we, as a society, have decided are public goods. For of these things, it would be inefficient to try to pay privately. We need central coordination of funds. BTW, I am not keen on some of the things we pay for — namely various useless wars. But I understand that in a representative democracy we have to compromise upon what to fund.

  8. #8 Pineyman
    March 5, 2009

    matt –

    So 2.4% is a giant increase, huh? I see you are another shining example of the greatness of our public school system.

  9. #9 tonyc
    March 5, 2009

    matt bleated:

    the government was going to take a giant percentage

    what???

    since when is the tax levied anything close to what is actually paid – especially among those wealthy enough to afford good* tax accountants. I personally know of small business owners** in my neighborhood who have purchased second homes, boats, vintage cars, and other such fripperies, and successfully wrote their purchase off against tax (it’s not *my* car – it’s a business vehicle… yeah a restaurant needs a vintage mercedes for business)

    Insufficient oversight is a major problem. Insufficient transparency between agencies is another.

    * good = able to write almost anything as a legitimate deduction
    ** according to the GOP – even a couple mil a year income qualifies you for the title ‘small business owner’.

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