Roman Around

combating liberalism and other childish notions


Posted by Andrew Roman on May 12, 2010

Wow, did USA Today get it wrong.

I mean they really got it wrong.

Embarrassingly wrong.

Allow me to infuse the words “deceptive” and “selective” into the discussion to help paint the picture.

Someone at USA Today ought to send Dennis Cauchon, author of the article “Tax Bills in 2009 At Lowest level Since 1950,” to bed without any MSNBC.

Yesterday, he wrote:

Amid complaints about high taxes and calls for a smaller government, Americans paid their lowest level of taxes last year since Harry Truman’s presidency, a USA TODAY analysis of federal data found. Some conservative political movements such as the “Tea Party” have criticized federal spending as being out of control.

Federal, state and local taxes — including income, property, sales and other taxes — consumed 9.2% of all personal income in 2009, the lowest rate since 1950, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports. That rate is far below the historic average of 12% for the last half-century. The overall tax burden hit bottom in December at 8.8.% of income before rising slightly in the first three months of 2010.

While spending is up, taxes have fallen to exceptionally low levels.

Let’s mix in a few facts for Mr. Cauchon and all salivating lefties.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reports that personal income in the United States totaled $12 trillion in 2009. Personal taxes were $1.1 trillion. True to Couchon’s report, that comes out to 9.2%.

But for some reason, Mr. Cauchin chose not include payroll taxes (Medicare, Social Security, etc) in his calculations – almost $1 trillion. (Yes, those are taxes. If it looks like a tax and acts like a tax …) That boosts 2009 tax revenue to the federal government to $2 billion.

Add to that state and local tax receipts – $1.2 trillion – and you’re looking at over $3 trillion in taxes being paid by Americans.

That brings the true percentage of income going to taxes to nearly 27%.

Keep in mind that “personal taxes” do not include sales taxes, corporate income taxes and estate taxes either.

But what is most relevant here is that all of the spending (and proposed spending) taking place under Barack Obama will have to be paid for at some point. The bill will come due. Tea Partiers have the foresight to know that. They resent the fact that Barack Obama portrays the current generation of Americans as too soft and unresilient to weather an economic downturn. They resent the fact that Barack Obama has no problem laying this generation’s burdens on the shoulders of future generations – including those yet-to-be-born – so that we might have it easier now.

According to the BEA, government spending as a percentage of national income was over 40% last year – the highest it has ever been – and you can bet the deed to the farm that it will not be going down with Barack Obama at the helm.

Someone is going to have to pay for his unprecedented – and crippling – expansion of government.

Certainly Mr. Cauchon could have found space for that in his article, no?

Besides, with the true unemployment number at around 17%, and almost half of all working people not paying federal income taxes to begin with, it’s easy to explain why tax receipts may be down during a recession.

The fact is, public spending has jumped from about 35% to nearly 44% of GDP in three years. The debt has jumped from 40% to 60% of GDP during the same period. Most public employee pensions are severely underfunded.

Still, Dems are celebrating today.

Said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “Because of changes Democrats have made in tax policy, more than 100 million Americans have more money to support their families, consumers have more to spend at local businesses and our middle class is reaping the rewards.”

Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up and still have it be believable.

Democrats have not lowered a single tax rate. No one’s tax rate has gone down since Barack Obama took office. No one is keeping more of their own money. The “Making Work Pay” so-called tax “cut” is really a tax credit … and there is a huge difference. In short, Barack Obama has redefined the term “tax cut” to include “tax credits” and redistribution.

Definitionally, a tax cut means that one is actually keeping more of the money he or she earns so that it can be spent in any way he or she sees fit.

Tax credits, by contrast, are monies taken from the Treasury and distributed to citizens for meeting certain criteria. The fact that millions and millions of Americans received Obama cash in the guise of a “tax cut” when they did not pay federal income tax proves, by definition, that the term “tax cut” is a bogus one.

Even USA Today confuses the terms “cut” and “credit” in their story:

One-third of last year’s $862 billion economic stimulus went for tax cuts. Biggest reduction: The Making Work Pay tax credit reduced income taxes $800 for married couples earning up to $150,000.

Despite Couchon’s attempted cleverness, the two words are not interchangeable.

If the story in USA Today was meant to deal a harsh blow to Tea Partiers and limited-government types (like myself) who regularly bash the savior and his moves toward a soft tyranny, it surely didn’t work, despite a valiant effort.

Next time, load the gun.



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