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April 12, 2012

The White House's Hokey Tax Calculators

Whilst searching for Obama's Executive Order on diversity in the federal workfarce, the Editorial Staff stumbled across something highly diverting: a tax calculator that purports to tell you exactly how your federal tax dollars are spent:

YOUR FEDERAL TAXPAYER RECEIPT
UNDERSTAND HOW AND WHERE YOUR TAX DOLLARS ARE BEING SPENT
Enter your 2011 payments below or select an estimate from the drop down menu!

Finally!!! The Most Transparent and Honest Administration Evah was living up to its lofty rhetoric! Feeling positively tingly with excitement, we prepared to type in our annual income and find out just how our tax dollars are spent!

Imagine our shock and disappointment when we found that according to the Obama White House, no one in America makes over 80K a year!

invisible.png

We beg your assistance in understanding this puzzling omission. Did the administration really intend to leave out the 40% of US households with income above 80K? (in other words, households headed by mostly married couples with multiple wage earners... you know, the households who pay the lion's share of income taxes?).

Here is a summary of some of the key demographic differences between American households in the bottom and top income quintiles in 2010:

1. On average, there were significantly more income earners per household in the top income quintile households (1.97) than earners per household in the lowest-income households (0.43).

2. Married-couple households represented a much greater share of the top income quintile (78.4 percent) than for the bottom income quintile (17 percent), and single-parent or single households represented a much greater share of the bottom quintile (83 percent) than for the top quintile (21.6 percent).

3. Roughly 3 out of 4 households in the top income quintile included individuals in their prime earning years between the ages of 35-64, compared to only 43.6 percent of household members in the bottom fifth who were in that age group.

4. Compared to members of the top income quintile, household members in the bottom income quintile were 1.6 times more likely to be in the youngest age group (under 35 years), and three times more likely to be in the oldest age group (65 years and over).

5. More than four times as many top quintile households included at least one adult who was working full-time in 2010 (77.2 percent) compared to the bottom income quintile (only 17.4 percent), and more than five times as many households in the bottom quintile included adults who did not work at all (68.2 percent) compared to top quintile households whose family members did not work (13.3 percent).

6. Family members of households in the top income quintile were about five times more likely to have a college degree (60.3 percent) than members of households in the bottom income quintile (only 12.1 percent). In contrast, family members of the lowest income quintile were 12 times more likely than those in the top income quintile to have less than a high school degree in 2010 (26.7 percent vs. 2.2 percent).

But wait! There's more hokey tax gimmickry in store! Via Memeorandum, we were amused to see none other than Dana Milbank lampooning the administration's blatantly cynical demagoguery:

President Obama admits it: His proposed “Buffett Rule” tax on millionaires is a gimmick.

“There are others who are saying: ‘Well, this is just a gimmick. Just taxing millionaires and billionaires, just imposing the Buffett Rule, won’t do enough to close the deficit,’ ” Obama declared Wednesday. “Well, I agree.”

Actually, the gimmick was apparent even without the president’s acknowledgment. He gave his remarks in a room in the White House complex adorned with campaign-style photos of his factory tours. On stage with him were eight props: four millionaires, each paired with a middle-class assistant. The octet smiled and nodded so much as Obama made his case that it appeared the president was sharing the stage with eight bobbleheads.

And if that’s not enough evidence of gimmickry, after his speech Obama’s reelection campaign unveiled an online tax calculator “to see how your tax rate stacks up against Mitt Romney’s — and then see what the Buffett Rule would do.”

After our first experience with the White House Tax Calculator, we could hardly wait to repeat the experience! Breathless with anticipation, we hied our Bad, Heteronormative, Taxpaying Self to the the White House website and typed in our annual household income. This is what we saw:

A middle-class couple with an annual income of $42,500 each

20.6%A MIDDLE-CLASS TAX RATE:
30%A MILLIONAIRE'S TAX RATE
Source: OFA analysis

[thud]

Apparently when the White House says, "The Buffet Rule AND YOU", they mean "The Buffet Rule applied to some arbitrarily chosen number that gives us the result we want you to see". What did any of this have to do with the annual income we entered? Our math skillz may not be up to the level of the smart people working at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but as far as we can see, nothing. Nada. Zippo.

Oh, the humanity! We are invisible: as far as the aptly named White [Male] House is concerned, we don't even exist. Now if we invisible folk would only shut up and fork over our fair share of our earned income to the folks who really matter, Obama could get on with the hard work of transforming America into a more diverse, inclusive nation where the failed, divisive politics of yesteryear were just a bad memory.

Posted by Cassandra at April 12, 2012 08:41 AM

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Comments

OMG *thudding all over the place and wondering where my evil other half is with the VC Fainting Couch*

Knowing the alleged level of Mitt Romney's tax rate, and the fact that he prolly files a joint return (I haven't seen his actual return, fercryin'outloud), that should 'splain the disparity, Loosey. You and your partner in economic recovery are assigned an equal share.

Back to the Romney Rate: He also pays 15% of his income to charity, so the Buffet Rule may or may not be a deterrent to Mittens' exuberant giving.

Hm. I think I need to read this further before knee-jerking again....

Posted by: Carolyn at April 12, 2012 10:24 AM

"We are invisible: "

Moo says the cash cow. Oh! I hear money, says the Redistribunator.

PSA: For those amongst us who must do so, the first quarterly estimated income payment to the Federales is now due!

Posted by: bthun at April 12, 2012 11:16 AM

Come, come, Madam--the answer to your puzzle is quite apparent, and it has a happy side effect.

Simply divide your salary by 4 (or 5, or whatever) to get your income down to the proper level for entry into the ObamaBooks.

The happy side effect? Your dividing has produced all those extra voters we see in elections. You didn't really think the same person voted multiple times, did you? Or that, even in Chicago, the dead were voting?

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at April 12, 2012 12:01 PM

The happy side effect? Your dividing has produced all those extra voters we see in elections. You didn't really think the same person voted multiple times, did you? Or that, even in Chicago, the dead were voting?

Apparently it's not just Reality that has a liberal bias. So does Math :p

Posted by: We, The Invisible People at April 12, 2012 12:41 PM

...liberal bias. So does Math

But, but. Math isn't reality. It's only a simulation of reality.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at April 12, 2012 02:11 PM

"...liberal bias. So does Math

But, but. Math isn't reality. It's only a simulation of reality. "

Ah ha! That explains why the tax burden always grows over time. The Federales tax code cypherdom is infested with << (left shift operators).

Posted by: bthun at April 12, 2012 03:24 PM

"...Math isn't reality. It's only a simulation of reality."

Dear Algebra,
Stop asking me to find your X.
She's not coming back.

Posted by: Sir Thomas of Doubtinghamframington at April 12, 2012 03:34 PM

Math is the application of theory to reality. Thus, it becomes relative. Hence, the hokum.

Posted by: Knee-Jumper at April 12, 2012 03:39 PM

This is very handy for those of us who can't do math. But let me see if I understand this correctly: If we pass the Warren Buffet Tax then we'll all make $42,500 a year. Or is it if we don't pass the Warren Buffet Tax that we'll all make $42,500 a year? Never mind. I'm still confused.

Posted by: spd rdr at April 12, 2012 06:33 PM

...let me see if I understand this correctly: If we pass the Warren Buffet Tax then we'll all make $42,500 a year. Or is it if we don't pass the Warren Buffet Tax that we'll all make $42,500 a year?

Let me... uh...let's be clear.

Yes.

Posted by: Barack Obama at April 12, 2012 07:33 PM

What is math?

Posted by: Sir Cumference of Pi at April 12, 2012 09:01 PM

I am certain that every dollar is spent wisely - and with the country in mind and not ones political benefit ;-)

Posted by: Bill Brandt at April 13, 2012 08:34 AM

Bernie Madoff made better investments than congress does.

Posted by: tomg51 at April 13, 2012 01:14 PM

Bernie Madoff is a for profit entity. Congress is not. They have to spend, and spend and spend.

No wonder we don't have a budget surplus.

Posted by: Sir Cumference of Pi at April 13, 2012 05:54 PM

Mmmmm........pi

Posted by: Snarkammando at April 13, 2012 06:32 PM

Bernie is a deceitful, crooked, malfeasant SOB who ruined the future, financial and otherwise, of far too many people who placed their trust in him. May he rot in prison.


On the other hand, Congress ...

Ahhh, Congress ...


Ditto for Congress.

Posted by: bthun at April 13, 2012 06:43 PM

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