Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: September 20, 2011

The “Warren Buffet Tax “? The premise is false

President Obama has claimed that the “rich” aren’t paying “their fair share” and he likes to use Warren Buffet’s claim that Buffet pays less in income taxes than his secretary to infer that Buffet’s situation is the norm among our wealthier citizens.

Well it isn’t.  And, in fact, any number of news organizations have pointed that out today.

AP:

President Barack Obama makes it sound as if there are millionaires all over America paying taxes at lower rates than their secretaries. . . . The data tell a different story. On average, the wealthiest people in America pay a lot more taxes than the middle class or the poor, according to private and government data. They pay at a higher rate, and as a group, they contribute a much larger share of the overall taxes collected by the federal government.

ABC News:

Treasury Secretary Geithner yesterday declined to answer a key question about the president’s proposed ‘Buffett Rule’:  How many millionaires and billionaires pay lower tax rates than middle-income families? The answer appears to be this:  not many. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has crunched the numbers and found that Warren Buffett and his secretary are the exception to the rule.  For the most part, the wealthy pay a significantly higher percentage of their income in taxes than middle-income workers.

The Wall Street Journal:

There’s one small problem: The entire Buffett Rule premise is false . . . . [N]early all millionaires still paid a rate that is more than twice the 8.9% average rate paid by those earning between $50,000 and $100,000, and more than three times the 7.2% average rate paid by those earning less than $50,000. The larger point is that the claim that CEOs are routinely paying lower tax rates than their secretaries is Omaha hokum.

And the WSJ calls it what it really is:

We rehearse all of this because it shows that the real point of Mr. Obama’s Buffett Rule and his latest deficit proposal isn’t tax justice or good tax policy. It is all about re-election politics.

Even NBC is on to the game:

[W]ith some 14 months until Election Day 2012, Obama’s speech yesterday essentially marked the end of the governing season and the beginning of the campaign. White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer admitted as much to the New York Times. ‘The popular narrative is that we sought compromise in a quixotic quest for independent votes. We sought out compromise because a failure to get funding of the government last spring and then an extension of the debt ceiling in August would have been very bad for the economy and for the country.’ Pfeiffer added, ‘We were in a position of legislative compromise by necessity. That phase is behind us.

If there is any transparency at all to this administration, it is this – their every move is obvious and it is clear this is being pushed out there for political reasons, not reasons having to do with what is best for the country.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Third “Gunwalker” weapon evidence withheld by FBI?

More developments in the fiasco that is known as Operation Fast and Furious.

There appears to have been a third “Gunwalker” weapon at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry which hasn’t been in evidence, suggesting it has been withheld.  Audio recordings reveal the mention of a third gun that until now has been unknown.  The conversation is between ATF Agent Hope MacAllister and Glendale, AZ gun shop owner Andre Howard:

Agent: Well there was two.

Dealer: There’s three weapons.

Agent: There’s three weapons.

Dealer: I know that.

Agent: And yes, there’s serial numbers for all three.

Dealer: That’s correct.

Agent: Two of them came from this store.

Dealer: I understand that.

Agent: There’s an SKS that I don’t think came from…. Dallas or Texas or something like that.

Dealer: I know. talking about the AK’s

Agent: The two AK’s came from this store.

Dealer: I know that.

Agent: Ok.

Dealer: I did the Goddamned trace

Agent: Third weapon is the SKS has nothing to do with it.

Dealer: That didn’t come from me.

Agent: No and there is that’s my knowledge. and I spoke to someone who would know those are the only ones they have. So this is the agent who’s working the case, all I can go by is what she told me.

The tapes are several months old (mid March, 2011):

Law enforcement sources and others close to the Congressional investigation say the Justice Department’s Inspector General obtained the audio tapes several months ago as part of its investigation into Fast and Furious.

Then, the sources say for some reason the Inspector General passed the tapes along to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona: a subject in the investigation. It’s unclear why the Inspector General, who is supposed to investigate independently, would turn over evidence to an entity that is itself under investigation.

A spokesman from the Office of the Inspector General today said, "The OIG officially provided the United States Attorney’s Office with a copy of the recordings in question so that the USAO could consider them in connection with the government’s disclosure obligations in the pending criminal prosecutions of the gun traffickers. Prior to receiving the tapes, the OIG made clear that we would have to provide a copy of the recordings to the United States Attorney’s Office because they would need to review them to satisfy any legal disclosure obligations."

Uh, yeah.  And why has it taken this long for copies to be provided elsewhere?

Remember:

Court records have previously only mentioned two weapons: Romanian WASR "AK-47 type" assault rifles. Both were allegedly sold to suspects who were under ATF’s watch as part of Fast and Furious.

Per the agent in the transcript, the third weapon (SKS) came from “Dallas or Texas or something like that” and they had serial numbers for all three.

Why are we just finding out about the third weapon at the scene?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Economic statistics for 20 Sep 11

Today’s economic statistical releases:

ICSC-Goldman reports that retail sales fell by –1.2% for the latest week, though the year-on-year rate is on trend at 3.4%. Meanwhile Redbook’s same-store year-on-year sales came in at the low end of the trend at 4.1%.

Housing starts fell -5.0% in August to a lower-than-expected annualized pace of 0.571 million. But, building permits increased by 3.2%, signaling a bit more health in the future. Overall, housing still remains a drag on the larger economy.

~
Dale Franks
Google+ Profile
Twitter Feed

Obama: “It’s not class warfare. It’s math”.

Funny how the left constantly tries to redefine words or terms in order to justify their actions.  Current tax rates are referred too as “tax cuts” when they refer to the “rich” but no other class of taxpayer.  The fact that the “rich”, as defined by Obama and company, pay the lion’s share of taxes now while the bottom 50% of “taxpayers” pay a combined 2.75% of all taxes is ignored.

And now, with renewed attacks on the “rich”, it’s “not class warfare.  It’s math.” Now, I guess, we’re redefining “math” as well.  Notice what isn’t being talked about which usually enters any public discussion by the left?  Fairness.

In fact, changing the tax rates on the “rich” is a leftist wet dream, because somehow they’re of the opinion that what the “rich” have earned really fell from the sky and they were just lucky enough that it fell in their backyard.  So “fairness” is redistribution, by their redefinition of course.

Yes, it is “only math” if you believe in a very pernicious premise – that government has first claim on everything you earn.  That you don’t “deserve” to keep what you make.

J.E. Dyer wrote a great post at Hot Air on the subject.  I recommend it.  What the “it’s math” crowd want you to ignore is this:

If any of us doesn’t deserve to keep everything he has earned, then that man is a slave.  Alternatively, he is less than human; he has no moral standing, and no unalienable rights inhere in him.  He is like a farm animal.

Of course we all deserve to keep our own money.  If it is ill-gotten – stolen, swindled – then it’s the crime that deprives us of it, not any inherent function of the armed authorities to prowl the land in search of “undeserved” bank balances.

The question of what we “deserve” boils down to which came first, the individual human with rights, or the state.  America was founded on the principle that the individual human with rights comes first.  Any idea that violates that principle is counter to our founding idea.  It is not possible to reconcile with our founding principle the idea of collective schemes in which we make some modification to “what we deserve.”  We either deserve to keep all our own earnings – money – wealth – goods – or we do not have unalienable rights.

In this case, it is the “rich” who are being used as the farm animals.

Here’s the truth about taxes paid.  The “rich” or top 1% pay 38.02% of all income taxes collected.  So over 1/3 of all taxes are paid by 1%.  Expand that a little and the top 5% pay 58.7% – well over half of all income taxes collected.  The top 10% pay 69.94%

So 10% of all income earners are paying 70% of all taxes.

Entry into those hallowed ranks?  Well to be in the top 10%, your adjusted gross income need merely be $113,000.  “Rich”, right?

Of course not, in fact, most who understand what it requires to live realize that $113,000 is working class.   The top 5%’s income threshold is $159,000.  And the top 1% is $380,000.

So what Mr. “It’s not class warfare” is recommending is raising taxes on those who already pay 38% of all taxes.  And obviously, in the convoluted world of the left, that’s fair.

The president criticized Republicans for insisting no taxes can be raised, and said it would not be possible to improve the nation’s fiscal standing without new taxes on the wealthy.

He rejected criticism that his proposals amount to class warfare, saying that after a decade of unchecked spending, every American has to pitch in and pay their fair share. Otherwise, Obama said, the U.S. will try to cut programs for the middle-class and the poor while protecting tax cuts for the wealthy.

You have to love the so-called reasoning. “After a decade of unchecked spending, every American has to pitch in and pay their fair share”.  The government spent it, but it is up to those government supposedly serves to pay it off – try that on your boss sometime. The entire pitch here is to claim a single class of people haven’t paid their “fair share” (fair share being redefined as over 38% of the total for one and only one class) of what the government has spent without consulting them or anyone else.

And 1% paying 38% of the load is fair?  How is “every American”  pitching in when he’s only talking about raising taxes on a single class … the 38% class?  And how isn’t that class warfare?

Raising taxes on the top 1% has become Obama’s panacea for everything.  You almost want to say “go ahead” and let the truth finally sink in.  The top 1% cannot cover the profligacy of the government in any way, shape or form, even if the tax rate were to be raised to 100%.   As taxes go up, the ‘rich’ find ways to protect their wealth.  It’s again Econ 101 stuff.  And, of course, they have every right to do so.  It’s their money, not the government’s.

Yeah, it’s not “class warfare.  It’s math”. 

But only as the left has redefined each concept.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO