It opens with this masterful attention-grabber followed by two facts which may or may not be related, but which sure sound bad together.
Still scrambling to file your taxes? You'll probably take little consolation in hearing that the super rich pay a lot less taxes than they did a couple of decades ago. And nearly half of U.S. households pay no income taxes at all.Paying taxes isn't fun for anyone. Taxes on the rich have gone down. 45% pay no taxes? My god, this must mean that 45% of rich people pay no taxes!
Er wait, let's see again... No that doesn't quite add up. Let's see, there are a whole lot of people/households on the low low end who pay no taxes because they're poor enough. Yet by not dividing up that 45%, the lowest end is used to support the highest end when crafting a misleading message. Ironic, given that Salon isn't known for its love of trickle-down theory, which is itself a "high is low" misleading message.
Republicans oppose raising taxes, but they argue that a more efficient tax code would increase economic activity, generating additional tax revenue.I agree wholeheartedly with that second part. In fact it's one of my goals when I go for my master's degree, to look at how to make the tax code less ridiculous.
Oh hey, we finally get to it, nice deep down when writers/journalists know people have stopped reading.
The vast majority of those who escape federal income taxes have low and medium incomes, and most of them pay other taxes, including Social Security and Medicare taxes, property taxes and retail sales taxes.
So not only do they take this long to get to the fact that most of that 45% aren't rich, but also that the 45% aren't living in some tax-free bubble.
Throw in statistics like "More than half of the nation's tax revenue came from the top 10 percent of earners in 2007. More than 44 percent came from the top 5 percent," and it's looking like an argument in favor of raising taxes on the poor. Which maybe that isn't such a bad idea. If we subscribe to social darwist theories or the idea that the rich are rich because they're better with money (more economically efficient) and job creators, then it would seem that the most economically sensible system is one that taxes the poor and gives to the rich, thereby transferring money from the stupid to the smart. Of course those born poor might object, but as long as we avoid socialist public education, we can ensure that they are stupid, thereby preserving the theoretical foundation for the system.
I wonder if the article is an example of padding gone wrong. If they just stuck to the points: rich people pay lower taxes than they ever have, they have a ton of exemptions, and it's hard to get rid of these exemptions for political reasons, the article would be better. And shorter. But instead they wanted to jam in the 45%, quite obviously to create a false connection between the 45% and the wealthy, and possibly to add length, and as a result they ended up seeming to say the opposite of what they intended.
Still, misuse of 45% is literally half as bad as misuse of 90%. #notintendedtobeafactualstatement