DID YOU PAY YOUR “FAIR SHARE” ON TAX DAY?

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 11.06.42 AM

Allegations that higher income earners don’t pay their “fair share” of taxes are a mainstay misrepresentation of the political left

by GARY GALLES | MISES.ORG | APRIL 24, 2015

In recent years, claims that “the rich” don’t pay their “fair share” of taxes have been repeated countless times.

But that excuse to tax them more to line others’ pockets is blown away whenever the highly disproportionate income tax burdens borne by higher earners are reported. As The Wall Street Journal titled a recent article,“Top 20% of Earners Pay 84% of Income Tax.” In fact, the top 1 percent of American earners earn about one-sixth of total income, but pay nearly as much in income taxes as everyone else combined.

Rather than abandon the electorally valuable false premise that such disproportionate burdens are justified, however, the political left rallies to its cause. They try to rescue it by asserting that other taxes are regressive, so that taxes aren’t really so clearly unjustifiable as income tax burdens reveal. The featured players in that drama are state and local sales and excise taxes and Social Security taxes. Unfortunately, those taxes are also misrepresented to defend “fair share” misrepresentations.

Columnist Michael Hiltzik illustrated the state and local gambit in a tax-day column echoing charges that their sales and excise taxes “disproportionately hammer lower-income taxpayers,” with that alleged regressivity offsetting income tax unfairness.

That claim arises because those with lower current measured incomes spend a larger proportion of them on those taxes. However, as Edgar Browning has noted, “relative to lifetime income, there is very little difference in the percentage of income consumed among income classes.” As a result, apparent regressivity using current incomes is shown instead as “roughly proportional” to income in the more-appropriate lifetime context. Low current-income families also often consume a multiple of their income, largely financed with government transfer payments excluded from income measures. That further exaggerates the share of their incomes going to such taxes.

The Social Security angle was illustrated in a Washington Post story a few days earlier. It argued that since Social Security taxes only apply to earned incomes up to $118,500, “the more money you make, the less your effective Social Security tax rate is, making this tax about as regressive as they come.” However, Social Security treats lower income workers far better than higher income workers.

Rather than being regressive, Social Security taxes are proportional to earned income up to the tax cap. So, for the vast majority of Americans who fall in that range, taxes rise apace with income. Beyond the cap, earnings are not subject to the tax. So for those earners, their average tax rates fall with further income. Only for them can one claim that despite paying more in total Social Security taxes, they pay a smaller percentage.

When one incorporates the fact that a great deal of income for low income households is government transfers that are not counted as official income nor subject to Social Security taxes, the picture changes. Years ago, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that incorporating such unmeasured income actually made Social Security taxes progressive for all but the top 20 percent of earners.

Even more important, Social Security’s supposed regressivity reflects only its taxes. But they generate retirement benefits, and evaluation must incorporate both. Doing so reveals Social Security as progressive.

For example, for a single earner retiring at sixty-five in 1993, Social Security replaced 59 percent of taxed income for low earners, 44 percent for average wage earners, but only 25 percent for an earner at the Social Security tax cutoff. Higher income earners received far smaller return on their contributions than average earners, and less than half that of lower earners. Taxation of benefits for higher income retirees now increases this difference. In terms of lifetime net benefits, in 1992 dollars, a single low earner retiring in 2000 would net $27,983 from the system, an average earner, $14,833, but a high income earner would lose $23,129.

Both approaches show Social Security does not benefit higher earners at the expense of lower earners. It actually redistributes income the other way.

Allegations that higher income earners don’t pay their “fair share” of taxes are a mainstay misrepresentation of the political left. And when facts such as income tax burdens get in the way, they double down with a defense that misrepresents state and local taxes and Social Security, as well. Unfortunately, that illustrates how important taking other peoples’ money is to their agenda and how unimportant the truth is in advancing it.

YET ANOTHER STATIST, TAX-CHEERLEADER TURNS OUT TO BE A TAX DELINQUENT

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 11.57.44 AM

Nobody does hypocrisy better than leftists

by JILLIAN KAY MELCHIOR April 22, 2015 4:00 AM

And he’s just one of the network’s four tax scofflaws Touré Neblett, co-host of MSNBC’s The Cycle, owes more than $59,000 in taxes, according to public records reviewed by National Review. In September 2013, New York issued a state tax warrant to Neblett and his wife, Rita Nakouzi, for $46,862.68. Six months later, the state issued an additional warrant to the couple for $12,849.87. In January 2014, Neblett tweeted, “Regressive taxation & tax-avoidance & union crushing & the financial corruption of legislation has fueled inequality more than hard work.” In 2012, he also criticized Republican politicians, saying they were “all afraid to vote for a modest tax increase of people who can totally afford it.” MSNBC’s hosts and guests regularly call for higher taxes on the rich, condemning wealthy individuals and corporations who don’t pay their taxes or make use of loopholes. But recent reports, as well as records reviewed by National Review, show that at least four high-profile MSNBC on-air personalities have tax liens or warrants filed against them.

Last month, New York filed a $4,948.15 tax warrant against Joy-Ann Reid, who serves as managing editor of theGrio.com and until earlier this year hosted MSNBC’s The Reid Report, and her husband, Jason. Reid has called taxes on the wealthy “a basic fairness argument,” also arguing for “smart spending and smart tax increases” to create economic growth. NR could not reach Neblett or Reid directly, despite sending e-mails to them directly and asking for comment through an MSNBC spokesperson. Representatives for Neblett and Reid said their tax debts were in the process of being resolved. RELATED: Al Sharpton’s Tax Woes Continue Last week, the Winston-Salem Journal reported that Melissa Harris-Perry, who hosts an MSNBC show named after herself, and her husband, James Perry, owed around $70,000 in delinquent taxes, according to a federal lien filed in April 2015. Harris-Perry told the newspaper that she and her husband had made a $21,721 payment toward that debt on Tax Day. “We actually do better as a country when we spread the wealth around,” Harris-Perry has said. She has also quoted Obama, calling income inequality “the fundamental threat to the American dream.” She called for Republican lawmakers to acknowledge that “the growing income disparity in America is, in fact, you know, a real thing,” adding that “they would have to decide if, ideologically, it’s an issue worth addressing, and if so, if it is the government’s problem to fix.” In April 2010, Harris-Perry had tweeted: “Sorry tweeps, I am a total progressive, liberal, Donkey loving Dem, but man I have a big tax burden this year. #willgetcoffeeinstead.” RELATED: Corporations That Sponsor Al Sharpton’s National Action Network Convention Meanwhile, Al Sharpton’s tax problems have been the subject of extensive coverage by National Review and other publications. In November, the New York Times estimated that Sharpton and his entities owed as much as $4.5 million in taxes, penalties, and interest, a sum the MSNBC host disputes. This isn’t Neblett’s first brush with controversy. In 2012, the host eventually apologized after using the n-word on-air, claiming that Mitt Romney’s word choices in campaign speeches amounted to “racial coding” against President Obama. In 2014, Neblett again issued an apology after a Twitter exchange in which he suggested that the success of concentration-camp survivors who emigrated to the U.S. was attributable to “the power of whiteness.” RELATED: The Fall of MSNBC As to the current tax controversies of its hosts, MSNBC declined NR’s request for comment. We wanted to know whether the network thought that pushing for bigger taxes for the wealthy was hypocritical, given failure of MSNBC’s own high-paid hosts to meet their fundamental tax obligations. Silence from the network on that, and little else.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/417275/msnbcs-tour-has-taxman-his-case-jillian-kay-melchior

MSNBC’S TOURE HAS THE TAXMAN ON HIS CASE

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 3.22.59 PM

And he’s just one of the network’s four tax scofflaws

Touré Neblett, co-host of MSNBC’s The Cycle, owes more than $59,000 in taxes, according to public records reviewed by National Review. In September 2013, New York issued a state tax warrant to Neblett and his wife, Rita Nakouzi, for $46,862.68. Six months later, the state issued an additional warrant to the couple for $12,849.87. In January 2014, Neblett tweeted, “Regressive taxation & tax-avoidance & union crushing & the financial corruption of legislation has fueled inequality more than hard work.” In 2012, he also criticized Republican politicians, saying they were “all afraid to vote for a modest tax increase of people who can totally afford it.” MSNBC’s hosts and guests regularly call for higher taxes on the rich, condemning wealthy individuals and corporations who don’t pay their taxes or make use of loopholes. But recent reports, as well as records reviewed by National Review, show that at least four high-profile MSNBC on-air personalities have tax liens or warrants filed against them.

Last month, New York filed a $4,948.15 tax warrant against Joy-Ann Reid, who serves as managing editor of theGrio.com and until earlier this year hosted MSNBC’s The Reid Report, and her husband, Jason. Reid has called taxes on the wealthy “a basic fairness argument,” also arguing for “smart spending and smart tax increases” to create economic growth. NR could not reach Neblett or Reid directly, despite sending e-mails to them directly and asking for comment through an MSNBC spokesperson. Representatives for Neblett and Reid said their tax debts were in the process of being resolved. RELATED: Al Sharpton’s Tax Woes Continue Last week, the Winston-Salem Journal reported that Melissa Harris-Perry, who hosts an MSNBC show named after herself, and her husband, James Perry, owed around $70,000 in delinquent taxes, according to a federal lien filed in April 2015. Harris-Perry told the newspaper that she and her husband had made a $21,721 payment toward that debt on Tax Day. “We actually do better as a country when we spread the wealth around,” Harris-Perry has said. She has also quoted Obama, calling income inequality “the fundamental threat to the American dream.” She called for Republican lawmakers to acknowledge that “the growing income disparity in America is, in fact, you know, a real thing,” adding that “they would have to decide if, ideologically, it’s an issue worth addressing, and if so, if it is the government’s problem to fix.” In April 2010, Harris-Perry had tweeted: “Sorry tweeps, I am a total progressive, liberal, Donkey loving Dem, but man I have a big tax burden this year. #willgetcoffeeinstead.” RELATED: Corporations That Sponsor Al Sharpton’s National Action Network Convention Meanwhile, Al Sharpton’s tax problems have been the subject of extensive coverage by National Review and other publications. In November, the New York Times estimated that Sharpton and his entities owed as much as $4.5 million in taxes, penalties, and interest, a sum the MSNBC host disputes. This isn’t Neblett’s first brush with controversy. In 2012, the host eventually apologized after using the n-word on-air, claiming that Mitt Romney’s word choices in campaign speeches amounted to “racial coding” against President Obama. In 2014, Neblett again issued an apology after a Twitter exchange in which he suggested that the success of concentration-camp survivors who emigrated to the U.S. was attributable to “the power of whiteness.” RELATED: The Fall of MSNBC As to the current tax controversies of its hosts, MSNBC declined NR’s request for comment. We wanted to know whether the network thought that pushing for bigger taxes for the wealthy was hypocritical, given failure of MSNBC’s own high-paid hosts to meet their fundamental tax obligations. Silence from the network on that, and little else.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/417275/msnbcs-tour-has-taxman-his-case-jillian-kay-melchior