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In recent years, few Republican talking points have been regurgitated as often as the myth that almost half of Americans pay no taxes. Just last week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor complained "we have to question whether that's fair," insisting "you've got to discuss that issue."

And that could be a real problem for some on the right. After all, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush respectively expanded the bipartisan Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit which has helped reduce or eliminate the income tax bill for many low income working families. (It was President Reagan who called the EITC "the best anti-poverty, the best pro-family, the best job creation measure to come out of Congress.") And now, some leaders on the religious right are fretting that the GOP's draconian Romney-Ryan budget plan will do away with the vital protections for the "least of these."

The first warning shot at Republicans came from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which warned Congress that "a just framework for future budgets cannot rely on disproportionate cuts in essential services to poor persons" and protesting that "the House-passed budget resolution fails to meet these moral criteria." After Jesuit Father Thomas J. Reese of Georgetown University lamented that "I am afraid that Chairman Ryan's budget reflects the values of his favorite philosopher Ayn Rand rather than the gospel of Jesus Christ," Paul Ryan laughably responded, "I reject her philosophy."

Now, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council is adding his voice to the chorus of family groups lobbying Congress to preserve the Earned Income and Child tax credits. As The Hill reported, the same man who only this week called President Obama's birth certificate a "legitimate issue" circulated a Tax Day petition that urged Congress to not only extend the credit but also expand it:

"We can expect lawmakers to pontificate about fairness and take a few election-year roll calls, but don't expect any serious efforts to be made in addressing this important issue," Tony Perkins, the group's president, wrote to supporters. "That is why we need your help."
As this New York Times chart of "Who Gains Most from Tax Breaks" shows, those two tax credits are among the few helping lower income Americans:

The Child Tax Credit was first signed into law by President Clinton in 1998 and doubled to $1,000 a child by President Bush. But that level is set to expire at the end of 2012, a blow to the 35 million families who claimed $52 billion in child tax credits. The Earned Income Tax Credit had a $63 billion price tag last year.

Created in 1975, the EITC "a refundable federal income tax credit for low-income working individuals and families" that results in a tax refund to those who claim and qualify for the credit when the EITC exceeds the amount of taxes owed. As the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities first detailed in 2005, the EITC has not only been extremely successful in reducing poverty, it has enjoyed broad bipartisan support:

The Earned Income Tax Credit has been found to produce substantial increases in employment and reductions in welfare receipt among single parents, as well as large decreases in poverty. Research indicates that families use the EITC to pay for necessities, repair homes and vehicles that are needed to commute to work, and in some cases, to help boost their employability and earning power by obtaining additional education or training.

The EITC has enjoyed substantial bipartisan support. President Reagan, President George H. W. Bush, and President Clinton all praised it and proposed expansions in it, and economists across the political spectrum - including conservative economists Gary Becker (a Nobel laureate) and Robert Barro, among others - have lauded it.

As CBPP also explained recently, only about 15 percent of those who pay no federal income taxes are exempt due to the Earned Income, Child and other tax credits. Another 20 percent are "elderly people who benefit from tax provisions to aid senior citizens." A much larger group—almost half—have no income tax bill from Uncle Sam "because their incomes are so low that they are less than the sum of the standard deduction and personal and dependent exemptions for which the household qualifies."

Nevertheless, the Republicans' hated 47 percent pay lots of other taxes, and at the state and local levels often pay more of their income than their wealthier fellow citizens. As David Leonhardt of the New York Times detailed:

The reason is that poor families generally pay more in payroll taxes than they receive through benefits like the Earned Income Tax Credit. It's not just poor families for whom the payroll tax is a big deal, either. About three-quarters of all American households pay more in payroll taxes, which go toward Medicare and Social Security, than in income taxes.
And as Ezra Klein recently explained in the Washington Post:
But when we focus on the federal income tax, we miss all the taxes that low-income Americans do pay. The payroll tax, for instance. And state sales taxes. And lots of local taxes. Indeed, Citizens for Tax Justice, a left-leaning tax policy group, produces a study every year showing the total tax burden for different groups once federal, state and local taxes are taken into account. And when you include all the taxes people pay, then, as you can see in the graph atop this post, it turns out that most Americans do pay taxes, and they in fact pay about as much as the rich.

Of course, for years many Republican leaders have been sharpening their knives in anticipation of killing the EITC and other low-income tax breaks for those they mocked as "lucky duckies." Thanks to the crusading efforts of Phil Gramm and other Republicans in Congress, David Cay Johnston explained, "In 1999, for the first time, the poor were more likely than the rich to have their tax returns audited."

Now, the Republicans have those supposed lucky duckies in their sights again. Paul Ryan's House GOP budget and Mitt Romney's economic plan call for reducing the U.S. national debt by closing some of the deductions, loopholes and other tax expenditures that cost the U.S. Treasury over $1 trillion a year. Predictably, neither Romney nor Ryan has the courage to publicly say which ones they will target for so-called "base broadening." Is it the $89 billion home mortgage interest deduction? The carried interest exemption that allows Mitt Romney to pay a 13.9 percent tax rate? We just don't know because they just won't say. (That's also why both the Ryan and Romney plans as currently proposed would produce trillions in new debt.)

For his part, Majority Leader Cantor has made clear both who he wants to pay more and who he plans to protect. Asked by ABC's Jon Karl if he was saying need to have a tax increase on the 45 percent who right now pay no federal income tax, Cantor responded:

"I'm saying that, just in a macro way of looking at it, you've got to discuss that issue. [...] How do you deal with a shrinking pie and number of people and entities that support the operations of government, and how do you go about continuing to milk them more, if that's what some want to do, but preserve their ability to provide the growth engine? [...] I've never believed that you go raise taxes on those that have been successful that are paying in, taking away from them, so that you just hand out and give to someone else."
Leave aside for the moment that income inequality is at 80 year highs and thetotal federal tax burden is at 60 year low even as upper class rates continue to fall.  Jesus said "blessed are the meek," but not "winner takes all." Or as Father Reese put it:
"Survival of the fittest may be okay for Social Darwinists but not for followers of the gospel of compassion and love."
* Crossposted at Perrspectives *

Originally posted to Jon Perr on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 12:47 PM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets , Community Spotlight, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (223+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III, Statusquomustgo, Old Lefty, lina, kevinpdx, MKinTN, Supavash, puakev, DamselleFly, a2nite, sostos, JTinDC, wishingwell, tonyahky, Mentatmark, twigg, CAPitBull, ozsea1, wdrath, rmonroe, Gemina13, antirove, rogerdaddy, Habitat Vic, citizen dan, armadillo, TRPChicago, SteelerGrrl, Singing Lizard, hoolia, Desolations Angel, statsone, Jollie Ollie Orange, dopper0189, Angie in WA State, bnasley, jan4insight, Trotskyrepublican, Quicklund, Involuntary Exile, Siri, uciguy30, mungley, Larsstephens, prettygirlxoxoxo, Egalitare, ceebee7, Haningchadus14, NoMoreLies, winkk, camlbacker, rapala, SnyperKitty, Jeff Y, Pinko Elephant, marleycat, blueoasis, Jeffersonian Democrat, waltoon, yoduuuh do or do not, kaliope, splashy, riverlover, gulfgal98, MartyM, ATFILLINOIS, DRo, Texdude50, blue jersey mom, snpsmom, litoralis, totallynext, Liberal Thinking, Robynhood too, wwjjd, elengul, skyounkin, Lilyvt, mali muso, Loudoun County Dem, Robobagpiper, Dirk McQuigley, sawgrass727, Dobber, DefendOurConstitution, nomandates, JosephK74, GoGoGoEverton, BYw, Heart of the Rockies, gchaucer2, Little Flower, Xapulin, edsbrooklyn, joedemocrat, hazzcon, flowerfarmer, Karl Rover, P Carey, ScienceMom, profh, eXtina, Clues, TexasTom, aishmael, Cedwyn, zerelda, drewfromct, molecularlevel, CA Nana, mkfarkus, bronte17, dmhlt 66, Roadbed Guy, Brooke In Seattle, basquebob, Ed in Montana, averybird, chujb, orson, pamelabrown, kjoftherock, Matt Z, Sun Tzu, maybeeso in michigan, NMRed, jimstaro, doroma, jfromga, ChemBob, Rogneid, Crabby Abbey, TomP, Leftcandid, deha, TX Freethinker, mconvente, RickMassimo, yellow cosmic seed, One Pissed Off Liberal, Amber6541, martini, Trendar, CJB, Assaf, stunzeed, pat bunny, greengemini, drofx, anodnhajo, parsonsbeach, ER Doc, Pescadero Bill, mrsgoo, chimpy, Joieau, GeorgeXVIII, A Mad Mad World, millwood, Susan Gardner, Catte Nappe, jeff in nyc, rmabelis, fiddlingnero, semiot, parse this, wxorknot, blueoregon, TKO333, Ahianne, PBen, ColoTim, IndieGuy, Odysseus, wasatch, solesse413, Shadowmage36, jediwashuu, lineatus, sebastianguy99, ImABlondOK, rage, rantsposition, FindingMyVoice, turn blue, Mariken, DeminNewJ, fallina7, mikeconwell, papercut, Jesterfox, the1sage, Nebraskablue, Russgirl, barkingcat, foucaultspendulum, elwior, progressiveinga, psnyder, pcl07, vcmvo2, mapamp, unclebucky, bythesea, cocinero, Leo in NJ, Arahahex, Nada Lemming, shadowplayer, RMForbes, gizmo59, investorb, xenothaulus, jedennis, skybluewater, rosabw, Candide08, Ohkwai, eleming, Sixty Something, 1BQ, desert rain, vikingrob
  •  Stating the half of people pay no taxes (10+ / 0-)

    is no different than stating that GE pays no taxes. Both statements are paraphrases that mean no Federal taxes. Both statements stretch the bounds of truthiness. And both sides of the debate enjoy misstating the facts for their particular political advantage.

    •  Actually, That's Not True (56+ / 0-)

      The majority of people who pay no federal income taxes pay federal payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare.  That's why more Republicans have gotten more disciplined about saying "no federal income taxes" as opposed to just "no federal taxes."

      •  It is entirely true (15+ / 0-)

        GE pays local and state taxes, property taxes and the employer portion of payroll taxes.

        And strictly speaking, SS and medicare are not taxes, they are contributions towards future defined benefits.

        •  Good Points... (6+ / 0-)

          ...thanks for the follow up on that about GE.s portion of employer payroll taxes.

          •  It's Probably Worth Mentioning... (11+ / 0-)

            ...that federal payroll taxes as a share of GE's revenue must be microscopic.

            •  Maybe, but besides the point (4+ / 0-)

              They pay them. Along with sales tax, property taxes, state and local taxes, etc...

              I did not want to get your diary off on a tangent, my simple point was that both sides use the "they do not pay taxes" gambit, while everyone with a brain knows that it is Federal Taxes that are being discussed.

              No republican that I know of has ever declared that half the people in this country do not pay taxes of any kind.

              •  I Agree We Shouldn't Get Sidetracked... (12+ / 0-)

                ...but thought I should point out that not only Fox News but none other than 2008 Republican presidential nominess John McCain used the "pay no taxes" line:

                From 2008:

                Predictably regurgitating the bogus Republican talking point proliferated by the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, Townhall and mouthpieces of the right, McCain claimed that Barack Obama wants to give tax cuts as welfare to the undeserving. Citing reliably Republican rags like the New York Post and Richard Mellon Scaife's Pittsburgh Tribune Review, the ad warns:

                Leading papers call Obama's taxes "welfare"..."government handouts".

                Obama raises taxes on seniors, hard working families to give "welfare" to those who pay none. Just as you suspected, Obama's not truthful on taxes.

                Video here.
              •  Which are deductible ! (14+ / 0-)

                Sheesh, can you "concern" elsewhere, please?

                "What have you done for me, lately?" ~ Lady Liberty

                by ozsea1 on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 07:10:49 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  'everyone with a brain' is not the target of this (16+ / 0-)

                These mantras are invented and used to fertilize the ground for radical changes to the social contract. They are watered with the ignorance and selfishness of lazy voters and complicit pundits.
                Everyone with a brain knew that "Death Panels" was a lie, and that Obama is a US citizen, and on and on forever.
                But there are millions of people who are completely checked out of the political day to day, and will only pay the bare minimum of attention in the few weeks before November.
                That these zombie lies will still be there is critical to push as many of those people as possible toward supporting the radical GOP. This is the essence of their strategy. They cannot point to their own actions as evidence of better governance, and they know they do not need to. The Republican party has done absolutely nothing for the vast majority of Americans in a very long time, but they are expert at exploiting lazy thinking, reinforcing stereotypes, and pushing 'common sense', 'feel good' 'solutions' that always benefit their patrons and their patrons alone.
                Other venues for the same play:
                "Obama has been a failure"
                "The stimulus was a failure"
                "Obamacare is a huge waste of money"
                "public workers are paid too much"
                "The Detroit bailout was just payback to the unions"
                Until democrats become comfortable with calling these lies "lies", we will struggle against this deception in every election, and on every issue, with mixed results at best.

                Here's some actual truth (says the pastor to the choir);
                Trickle down is a failure. It has been tried repeatedly, and it never works. But it is discussed as a theoretical, as if there was not thirty years of evidence. That is fundamentally dishonest, and anyone pushing it is a liar.
                Deregulation is a failure. It has been tried repeatedly, and it always results in a crash. That crash is always paid for by all of us, including the "47% who pay no taxes". But it is discussed as a reasonable approach to economic policy. That is fundamentally dishonest, and anyone pushing it is a liar.
                Wash, rinse, repeat.

                Class war has consequences, and we are living them.

                by kamarvt on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 06:52:18 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  technically true (8+ / 0-)
                No republican that I know of has ever declared that half the people in this country do not pay taxes of any kind.
                that may be technically true, but do you think their viewers and listeners know that?

                for months wingnuts have been hearing hateradio and FakesNews say 47 percent "pay no taxes".  As a result many of them actually have come to think that 47% pay NO taxes!   They imagine that there are people out there who get to take their entire paycheck home with no taxes taken out.

                Their folks have already absorbed the lie and the clarifying phrase "no federal income taxes" is too complicated a message and too late to change their minds about the original lie.

                "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
                Real journalists know that lies do not bring "balance" to truth! (h/t elwior)

                by TrueBlueMajority on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 07:36:23 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Usual "distracting noise" while people are shafted (0+ / 0-)

                  Halliburton is just ONE of many corporations NOT paying their fair share... while sucking TAXPAYERS DRY.

                  On March 4, 2004, Senators Levin (D-MI) and Dorgan (D-ND) released a GAO report on tax avoidance by federal contractors. At the time, Halliburton had 17 subsidiaries in tax haven countries, including 13 in the Cayman Islands which does not impose a corporate tax.

                  In 2002, Citizen Works Citizen Works found that Halliburton ranked 8th Among the Fortune 500 companies with the most offshore tax haven subsidiaries.

                  Dorgan, who chairs the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, has also noted that Halliburton avoids accountability by hiring employees under its subsidiary in the Cayman Islands, a tax haven country in the Caribbean, which allows for avoidance of U.S. tax, worker safety and other laws. "We've had a report showing a large percentage of corporations doing business with the federal government that are creating subsidiaries in tax haven countries," he said. "They want all of the largesse of contracting with our government and none of the responsibilities of paying taxes."

                  During Dick Cheney's tenure as Halliburton's CEO, the number of company subsidiaries located in offshore tax havens increased from 9 (in 1995) to 44 (in 1999). One of these subsidiaries (Halliburton Products and Services Ltd.), was incorporated in the Caiman Islands, and was used to get around sanctions on doing business in Iran. (Erwin Seba, Reuters, March 20, 2003)

                  When Halliburton announced it was relocating its corporate headquarters from Houston to Dubai, critics suggested the move might help the company avoid paying its fair share of taxes.

                  ...embers of Congress called for an investigation. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) said, "I want to know, is Halliburton trying to run away from bad publicity on their contracts? Are they trying to run away from the obligation to pay US taxes? Or are they trying to set up a corporate presence in Dubai so that they can avoid the restrictions that currently exist on doing business with prohibited countries like Iran?"

                  Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said, "This is an insult to the US soldiers and taxpayers who paid the tab for their no-bid contracts and endured their overcharges for all these years."
                  http://www.corpwatch.org/...

              •  Ahh, but do you ever hear Republicans (0+ / 0-)

                say the poorest still pay 17% of their income in taxes?  Do you ever hear the Republicans say the biggest problem with our entire tax structure is that the top 1% pay too little? Do you ever hear the Republicans (or any that you know) say that it's a problem that capital gains income is taxed at a lower rate than income.?

                Do you, 1918, ever say any of the above?

                the fact that you're right is nothing more than interesting

                by Egg on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 05:34:53 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Anytime GE builds a plant in one of these (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sixty Something

                united states you can bet that their taxes - certainly property taxes and an array of other taxes including excise,   state corporate and most assuredly local taxes - are waived for decades to entice them to relocate and hire employees.  And those tax breaks are granted regardless of the length of time the plant is open and the number of employees hired.  A company doesn't even have to be size of GE to enjoy years and years of tax breaks from practically any state and locality they approach for relocation, particularly if they're a manufacturer.

                "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

                by SueDe on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 08:32:47 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  But you've wandered off the point (35+ / 0-)

          The individual pays no federal income taxes because they're poor.  GE is not poor.  GE pays no tax because it spends a fortune on lobbyists and legislators to engineer a system that minimizes its taxes.

          We kidnap. We torture. It's our policy. Embrace it or end it!

          by Mosquito Pilot on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 04:20:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  However (0+ / 0-)

            All of GE's moderate to high income employees and it's shareholders do pay taxes on their individual GE-derived gains. The corporation itself doesn't pay taxes, but all of its profits are taxed at some point.

            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

            by Sparhawk on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 05:25:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The corp paid $2 billion in income tax last year. (0+ / 0-)

              That's not chump change, even if it isn't a huge % of its income.

            •  GE Is Set Up As A Corporation, i.e. As A "Separate (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Jesterfox, papercut, Mosquito Pilot

              Entity"  from its employees and shareholders to protect  shareholders from liabilty for its actions. In return for that separation and layer of "protection"GE pays taxes as a separate (corporate) entity, and its shareholders pay taxes as a separate (individual) entity. To claim that GE's shareholders paying taxes on GE profits equals GE paying income taxes is just plain WRONG. The corporation (as a separate incorporated entity) get all sorts of tax breaks and owes "income taxes" on "earned income" made by the corporate entity. The profits generated (i.e. the "bottom line") that is passed on to shareholders after all taxes, debts, payroll, etc. have been paid by GE, is taxed to shareholders as "unearned income"  at "capital gains" tax rates. It is unfair for you to say that GE should take advantage of corporate entity status, but not have to pay any taxes as a corporate entity because shareholders are paying taxes on GE's profits passed on to them.

          •  48% of the taxpaying public (0+ / 0-)

            are not poor. That is simply false. It is also false that GE pays no tax.

            •  How do you define "poor"? (13+ / 0-)

              If you don't think "poor" starts till you drop below the poverty line, then no, 48% aren't "poor."

              But there's a lot of space between poverty line and earning enough to get by with some sense of security. I think that sense of security comes into most people's working definitions of not-poor. And 48% doesn't seem out of line if that's the standard.

              ok,ok. GE pays some tax. And so do ALL Americans.

              Now, lets get to the main point, which is why so many Americans are forced to lead lives of quiet financial desperation, while the few worry only about how to hide their wealth, and how unwilling politicians are to do anything to about it.

              "I've had all I can stands, and I can't stands no more." - Popeye the Sailor Man

              by congenitalefty on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 06:15:09 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  How do you define "poor"? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Odysseus

                You brought it up.

                But you are correct as to the main point, the tax system is a mess and desperately needs to be corrected. Which is why I never supported bullshit such the Buffett plan.

                The Dems had every opportunity to allow the Bush/Obama tax cuts expire and they failed miserably. No excuse. They are also failing to bring up the entirely legitimate debate of favorable treatment of capital gains and investment income.  

              •  From Salon.com and the poverty guidelines (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                TKO333, Mosquito Pilot, ladyjames

                "48 percent of Americans fall below 199 percent of the new, alternative poverty threshold."

                Below are the povety guidelines for 2012 from the Feds..Salon article was from December 2011:

                "2012 Poverty Guidelines for the
                48 Contiguous States and the District of Columbia  Persons in
                family/household Poverty guideline
                1 $11,170
                2 15,130
                3 19,090
                4 23,050
                5 27,010
                6 30,970
                7 34,930
                8 38,890"

                So, try to raise a family on that...really...just try even renting a home...somehow I just know GE isn't struggling to pay its rent anywhere...which is part of the distinction.

                More to the point, Republican policies absolutely failed to create jobs or improve income for the vast majority of the country...and now they want to whine that many people are too poor to pay income taxes.

                uh huh

            •  22% are the elderly (12+ / 0-)

              do the math.
              Not so hard to believe that 24% are poor.
              And that number has a bullet.
              Subtract another 8.2% for the unemployed (lowballed), another chunk (not listed above) are students.
               Republicans pushing this are far more dishonest than any progressive, because there is a whole 'nuther level of deception in the repub claim.

              Never forget that their number includes retirees.
              Never forget to let retirees know that that number includes retirees.

              Class war has consequences, and we are living them.

              by kamarvt on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 07:00:21 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Seniors!!!! this is what galls me about the low (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kamarvt, TrueBlueMajority

                info voters, like seniors!

                "Without Art, we are but monkeys with car keys" Pay Your Fair Share For The Iraq War!

                by stagemom on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 07:07:43 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  It also includes infants, young children, (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Russgirl, ladyjames, kamarvt

                the disabled, hospitalized and infirm.

                This is actually one of the bigger lies the rethug machine has ever come up with.

              •  Am I 1%, or one of the 99%? Am I a traitor? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ruleoflaw

                I am a mid-60s year old single female, an ex-pat returned from a very different European economy and social structure to that which is assumed in the USA. I always worked and earned my keep. During the last decade that I was over there, I was "successful", but in USA my European laudits are discredited. As was my lifetime of work, the fruits  (lower European pay but many, many societal benefits)  and what I learned and was successful at... none of my European "references" (let me go so far as to say "fame," yes, I was published and respected) stood me to no account over here.  (I was an activist against trapping parrots in the wild, destroying their habitats the captured babies which would spend their lives in misery in captivity--as well as the other ramifications of the wild caught trade.)  I bred birds, very successfully and we were all as happy as we could be in our grim task.  The market for tame, exotic birds is very strong. Better that the new "pet" birds came from my aviaries than from robbed nests in the wild.

                For more than seven years, I have been looking for work here, any kind of work (I have a lot of diverse experience and managerial know how in several fields, barring IT and big banking.  I am a sensible, energetic, hard working and perceptive person.   I even went back to college here, in order to have some validity of my worth to put down on paper.  I guess that I counted for nothing, no job, a few call backs from resumes submitted. But here in the US, my skills and formidable knowledge and instinct, counts for naught.  I cannot get a decent job, or perhaps I could if I applied to be a cripple (now in these later years, I need a cane to walk any great distance) waving a sign at noon time for the Pizza Hut special.  

                How much I would LOVE to see a doctor as I was used to doing in Europe under my $100/mo private, all inclusive, no copay, health insurance plan that I had.) But I will not ask my kids to foot these robber-barons' US medical charges for services I once had by simply walking into a pharmacy and getting what helped me.  I will not ask them for that kind of money. And I probably will die a few years before I should have.  But that is cool with me. Honor is all to me and death a mere trifle.

                I can't touch my accrued retirement account in Spain for another two years. And given the way things are, it is possible that the pennies I have saved over there will be worth even less when I finally can.

                Understand,  I have a daughter and a son in law who, after years of eating Ramen to survive, scored big financially due to their choices way back when.

                They bought an old house for me to live in, sadly in neglect and truly  a disaster within, though it was physically sound.  I have removed old wall paper and linoleum floors, patched and plastered, directed roofers and siders to do their work efficiently. And much more, like tiling the whole downstairs' floors (hard work). I do not charge them a salary because I praise God every day for my good fortune, and the "honor" it brings me to work for the money that I have to spend for the "bare" necessities. Money that others in the US don't have (and I have many times in the past been with them, financially, as I was growing my business abroad.)  This work is physically "killing" me. I hurt to tears sometimes. Really. But I don't want or take charity and am not on any kind of state or federal welfare, nor so food stamps.

                 I live, on my children's charity well below the poverty line, but I am content. I am warm, fed, and worse  come to worst, I could have a doctor, maybe (because I won't ask for one as the current US health care situation is rapacious and unfair. Sorry, I am used to a more "equitable" European "socialist" system where I paid in and got out what I needed, when I needed it.  My kids get NO deductions in their taxes for helping me out.

                But thanks to my kids I am fed and warm and God Believe me, I am very thankful for my luck that today they have the where with all to keep me off the streets.

                I did my tax return for 2011, and ended up $400 something in the hole over what I had earned. No payment in and no refund. Am I a grifter?

                I support the OWS movement with all my heart because I just, like, do. My attempt at schooling to get a job here was devoted to learning about non profits and how I could be a part of them. Oh, yes, now (without a job) I still donate clothing and food (clothing I buy for a quarter. Food, as and how I can), but I cannot be a contrtibuter or leader in the work.  I am a USA born and bred citizen, but my life experience and savvy counts for naught.  I finally left school without a degree because I could not allow my SIL to throw "good money after bad" (me).  If I couldn't get work on merit of my straight A's but without US work experience resume, then....   He has enough to do for his own immediate family and kids.

                Help me define myself. I find myself in a quandry.  I will still fight for the 99%, I think the 1% need to do their part.  But am I a traitor to my family if I do, given their mercy to me?

            •  US Median income is $26k (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pat bunny, Amber6541, TKO333, bmcphail

              That means half of the US earns less than $26k.

              We kidnap. We torture. It's our policy. Embrace it or end it!

              by Mosquito Pilot on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 08:05:49 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Data (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mosquito Pilot

              We are the principled ones, remember? We don't get to use the black hats' tricks even when it would benefit us. Political Compass: -6.88, -6.41

              by bmcphail on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 09:53:46 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  GE pays a ton of income tax. (0+ / 0-)

          income tax paid is disclosed quarterly.  when people say they pay no tax, they're inferring federal tax, but its simply false to say they pay no income tax.

          it is, as 1918 says, a shorthand.

        •  Your second sentence is the most relevant (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sparhawk, BYw, Brooke In Seattle

          to the discussion.

          We need to remember that payroll taxes are not some regressive levy imposed on the poor, for which they get nothing more than the nebulous promise of "good government" in return.

          Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

          by Robobagpiper on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 05:06:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The IRS calls them taxes. n/t (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ColoTim

          “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

          by jrooth on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 06:36:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Kind of missing the point of the diary (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pat bunny, Amber6541, Odysseus, niemann

          Does the claim that half of people pay no taxes matter?  There is a large moral component of asking the poor to pay more than they do.

          GE isn't some negative margin company - they just have a sound tax strategy.

          Do not ever look at my Twitter feed! @Ralpheelou

          by Ralpheelou on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 08:03:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actually, the whole discussion misses the point of (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Russgirl, ladyjames

            the diary. The point is the bodaciously large lie that the GOP spouts about half the people not paying tax, or income tax, or federal tax. Any way you phrase it, it is a lie, to which the question of GE taxes is not at all relevant.

            The implication of the statement is that the GOP is demanding that those who make no money -- infants, disabled, destitute, children, students and dependents, should be paying federal income tax -- even though they have no income.

            It also targest seniors who, in most cases, collect pensions (including social security) too small to fall into any income tax bracket -- again the implication is the GOP wishes to tax granny's limited resources.

            And they want to tax these people, who make too little or nothing, in order to protect the wealthiest among us; those who risk nothing, pay less tan actual working people, and expect multi-million dollar wages for not doing their jobs.

            Reagan's favorite line was the one about the welfare queen in her limosine. Well, in reality, the welfare queens do ride in limos, because they are the wealthiest in the land, and collect the most in handouts from the government, while paying less in taxes than the rest of us. The welfare queens are the people on Wall Street and in the boardrooms of every major corporation. They gladly risk other people's money, graft off a huge amount of it, wreck companies, lives and businesses, and trot off with the huge paychecks while demanding Uncle Sam pay them more.

            Those are the welfare queens the GOP are protecting.

            That's the point, after all; and it's just distraction to start talking about GE.

      •  Thanks for this diary as we have been debating (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ozsea1, Siri, Amber6541

        this with a Republican on our local form. He is obsessed with this idea that 47 pct are not paying federal taxes and how unfair it is and how the rich should not have pay more...etc.

        Here is the link here and anyone can comment as a guest right away without joining....feel free..to respond to this Right winger middle class union member and state employee.

        http://forum4.aimoo.com/...

        Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

        by wishingwell on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 02:24:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Which is why anyone using this frame (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        foucaultspendulum

        should be forced to acknowledge that Social Security and Medicare cuts have to be taken off the table — because we paid for them!

        Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

        by anastasia p on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 05:06:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The Essential Lie (15+ / 0-)

      The implication of the Republican lie is that poor people don't pay any federal taxes. This simply isn't the case. No matter how poor you are you end up paying the excise tax on gas. Either you buy it for your own car or you pay for it in the price of public transit.

      And as for payroll taxes, the Republicans erroneously include Medicare and Social Security as part of the federal budget, then claim that the budget has skyrocketed. These are transfer payments. The real federal budget is only about $1.7 trillion a year, and over half of that goes to national defense in one way or another. (About $800 bilion goes to the Pentagon directly.)

      Meanwhile, the very rich pay an effective tax rate of 16% in their income taxes (the bulk of the taxes they pay),* while these same people have over 40% of the wealth in this country. They ought to be paying an effective rate of about 40%. We spend the bulk of the federal budget on the military, but all those wars defend property as well as people.

      We need to make the rich pay off the war debt. If we did that we'd see a drastic reduction in military spending. If the rich had to pay for wars there wouldn't be any wars. Their rates should be hiked until the Bush war debt is retired. Instead we just let the debt pile up, and that debt is debt for everyone. Even the poor.

      * This is according to former Senator Alan Simpson, R-WY.

    •  yeah not so much (8+ / 0-)

      it isnt just that they pay no taxes, because that can happen if they are generating losses, it's because they pay no taxes WHILE making record profits.

      And it isn't even that, it's that they pay a NEGATIVE tax rate, while making record profits.

      And yes everyone understands saying pay no taxes for corps means pay no federal taxes, but you are just plain wrong if you think the intent of republicans isn't to leave the folks who dont pay attention with the idea that half the country pays no taxes at all.

      •  You are absolutely correct (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jrooth

        It is entirely the plan of Republicans to plant the seed of "half pay no taxes" in the minds of low information voters. Those who want to paint GE as paying no taxes have the same plan.

        •  and the irony is (7+ / 0-)

          that a good portion of the low information voters that are on bent out of shape about those that, "don't have any skin in the game," are part of that group that end up, after a couple of child tax credits and some mortgage/property tax deductions, paying 0 federal income tax.  They probably also spend a lot of time complaining that they are Taxed Enough Already.

        •  taking a look at your comment history (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          niemann

          you certainly seem to want to take a contraian view pretty much solely as your go to move.

          Your manner of doing so here is attempting to make false equivalencies.

          Because there is quite a difference between GE paying no federal taxes, and in fact, getting money back and the poor paying no federal taxes.

          And there is quite a difference between the percent of the poor who pay their income to sales tax and SS tax and medicare/medicaid tax, and the percentage of GEs gross income that go to those same things.

          And since GE and corps like them have actually enjoyed negative tax payments at the federal level in the billions, or receive subsidies in the billions like the oil companies and other select corporations, it's not even clear if at the end of the day it isn't the taxpayers paying some or even all of those "other taxes" you want to be oh so sure we include.

          There is no such murkiness with the poor. We know they pay sales tax, heck we know down to the percentage point how much we pay, we know there are few tax breaks designed specifically for them other than EITC and a few others, and we know they aren't getting any help paying off their SS/Medicare taxes.

      •  They want it ALL... at 99% of our EXPENSE... usual (0+ / 0-)

        Labor:

        Much of Halliburton/KBR's government business in Iraq and Kuwait, already worth tens of billions, is being carried out by the world's poor people.

        Many of these people are underpaid, working for wages that are one-tenth of what U.S. workers receive, thereby creating more profits on the margins for Halliburton and its subcontractors.

        For example, NPR reported in October 2007 a Pakistani dishwasher at a forward operating base in Diyala was being paid $1.25 an hour for two years work for the Saudi-based food-services firm, Tamimi, a KBR subcontractor.

        Much of Halliburton's work is conducted by foreign subsidiaries, which means that even U.S. employees may find it difficult to file claims against the company for break of contract in places like Iraq should they wish to do so. Under Texas law, employees may not be entitled to unemployment benefits who were employed by a Halliburton subsidiary that is incorporated in a "foreign" nation. In one case, the Texas Workforce Commission ruled against a former Halliburton employee by concluding: "The claimant is not entitled to unemployment benefits because [Halliburton's foreign subsidiary] does not satisfy the definition for an 'American employer' under the [Texas] statute."
        http://www.corpwatch.org/...

    •  Yeah, because we know the advantage (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fiddlingnero, Russgirl, ladyjames

      the political advocates for the likes of GE stand to gain by lying about the taxes poor people don't pay is on par with the political advantage those advocating for the poor stand to gain by lying about the taxes the likes of GE don't pay.

      Sure, I can see how that balances out.

      Fuckin' NOT.

      I'm reminded of that award Bill Maher likes to give out where the guy is bending so far over he's got his head up his own ass.

      Romney - his fingernails have never been anything but manicured.

      by Pescadero Bill on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 08:21:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The democrats have done a terrible job of (11+ / 0-)

    articulating a counter-meme around the "50% pay no taxes" falsehood.  I mean seriously, how hard would it be to muster all of the pundits and tweeters and columnists and politicians and wonks and pull an all-out unified front in blanketing the airwaves and print and radiowaves and cell lines etc. with statements to the effect that "income tax is not the only tax that Americans pay; even those who don't pay income tax pay many other taxes."  

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 01:06:39 PM PDT

  •  cherrypicking the federal income tax is the sort (19+ / 0-)

    of dodge we expect from the GOP.  In most cases, there is a minimum of food, shelter and other necessities that everyone has to have to live.  Those commodities are subject to sales taxes which are not progressive but actually regressive.

    Now take my monthly bill vs Mitt's monthly bill of "necessities" and we can rapidly see that the poor pay much more percentage-wise in other taxes than what the poor beleaguered plutocrats.  The reason they don't pay federal income taxes is because they do not make enough to live on before taxes by the IRS figuring.  

    This is why the so called flat tax or equality tax is so silly.  It taxes from the first dollar, which assumes that the average family can get by on $0 income while taxing a billionaire the same percentage on his second billion.

    For the Christians in the audience, when they advocate raising taxes on the poor, they should remember the Widow's Mite

    •  no sales tax on food or clothing in Massachusetts (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bmcphail

      yay Massachusetts

      "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
      Real journalists know that lies do not bring "balance" to truth! (h/t elwior)

      by TrueBlueMajority on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 07:41:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So it's made up through other means. If you have (0+ / 0-)

        no tax in one area, like sales tax, then it's likely that income tax and/or real estate taxes are higher than in other states.  It's the sources for the money that reflect the values of the state.  Everyone needs food and clothing, whether rich or poor, so in that respect Massachusetts is sharing the pain.  If MA makes up their budget needs by taxing things like executive jets higher, then they're taking from those who can afford more and not from those who don't need/use those items.  For those states who have no income tax, their taxes are likely to be higher on real estate so the homeowners are paying the bills that the people with jobs in that state aren't (realizing that nearly all those with jobs in the state will either own a house or pay taxes which are bundled into rent by landlords) but there would still be those who might minimize their real estate taxes by living in tiny places and so escape paying what someone else might pay.

        Taxes will be paid, as not everything is private so government needs to be paid for.

      •  And several other states have different rates (0+ / 0-)

        IL sales tax for food is 1%, for general merchandise  purchases is 6% or more.

        -7.75 -4.67

        "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

        There are no Christians in foxholes.

        by Odysseus on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 10:28:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Once again I have to LOL over Florida: (0+ / 0-)

          As far as I know most food is non taxable, but general merchandise is subject to a different percentage according to county.  I just don't understand that, and most people aren't even aware of that.  I only found that out when I returned something I bought in my county to the same big box store in the county directly north of me.  They pay 1% more than we do.  Go figure??  Crazy.

      •  It is interesting that the highest taxes on food (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TrueBlueMajority

        are, in my experience, in the places where the people are poorest.  That's not a researched statement, just my life experience.

        Five years after I chose my username, happily living somewhere else.

        by Tenn Wisc Dem on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 05:40:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  that actually makes sense (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tenn Wisc Dem

          where people are poor, you can;t get much revenue from property taxes, so you increase taxes on things everyone buys like food

          "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
          Real journalists know that lies do not bring "balance" to truth! (h/t elwior)

          by TrueBlueMajority on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 06:52:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The federal income tax (0+ / 0-)

      ....pays for most of what people consider to be "government"

      (The military, federal parks, the federal highway system now that road funding has been largely untethered from gasoline tax)

  •  great charts. (4+ / 0-)

    I need visual aids to help me understand income taxes and the different amount paid by different incomes.  I find it troubling that of all of the tax deductions that the "other" amounts to 250 billion.  That is one big chunk of change.

  •  Now THAT'S how you construct an arguement (9+ / 0-)

    And THIS is a meme with legs;

    Republican's draconian Romney Ryan Budget
    And 'Lucky Duckies'! My art-brain is on it.
    Thank you for your really excellent work.

    Just getting a handle on the knobs and dials.... Hey, don't touch that!

    by Old Lefty on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 01:27:46 PM PDT

    •  they can be lucky duckies too (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ScienceMom, Lily O Lady, bmcphail

      all they have to do is go to the local recruiting station, then get sent to one of the war zones of their making; get fucked up and voila!

      They don't have to pay taxes!

      They can be a Lucky Ducky, just like me - and since the VA doesn't even send out anything like a W2, they won't even have to file with the IRS!

      Wow, how lucky is that?

  •  Framing- 50% don't pay income tax.. (23+ / 0-)

    because they have so little income.

    Why is this so hard. Why can't some idiot media person ask something like..."Representative Douchebag, isn't that INCOME TAX your talking about, because so many people in this country have so little income?" and let Douchebag try to talk their way out of that.

    WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

    by IARXPHD on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 01:48:37 PM PDT

  •  Direct attention to Cantor's past voting record (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Avenging Angel, PsychoSavannah

    He seems to have supported this which is a big part of the debate of who pays how much and why?

    Voted YES on making permanent an increase in the child tax credit. (May 2004)

    Many references but I will get a quick one here:

    Cantor's support of the half who do not have to pay

  •  I really want to know... (10+ / 0-)

    ...When they say that these people 'pay no taxes', are they really saying that 'these taxpayers received a refund or did not have to send in a check?'  I haven't been able to find a good answer, and the difference is vital.

    Most people I know get a refund at the end of the year.  On the other hand, most people I know also pay taxes.  How is this possible?  Well, just because of withholding and the way that we figure refundable tax credits.  

    A single person making 20,000.00 with no dependents, who cannot be claimed on another person's tax return, and who cannot claim itemized deductions or other credits will have a tax of $1,154.00.  I believe the usual withholding formula will withold about $1500-2,000.  So, that person should still get a refund of the amount of their withholding in excess -- but they still paid $1,154 in tax.  Remember, that withholding was taken right out of your pay.

    So -- either the statement that half of people pay no federal income tax is wrong, or our country's populace is in a shittier position than most people can conceive of.

    •  When someone says (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MGross, bmcphail, Brooke In Seattle

      "47% pay no federal income tax," they're referring to households that, in a given calendar year, owed no income tax to the federal government. So they either had no money withheld and didn't have to write a check, or they received a refund equal to or larger than their withholding.

      Your single person making $20,000 would indeed owe taxes because they don't benefit from the credits that offset households' tax burdens. On the other hand, a family of 4 making significantly more than that (say $50,000) usually won't owe any federal income tax. Single, childless people and renters subsidize the income taxes of families and homeowners.

      You are reading my signature line. #hashtag

      by cardinal on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 08:50:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There they go again... (5+ / 0-)

    ...attacking the poor. What is it with Republicans, constantly revealing what schmucks and jerks they are by constantly go after our society's most vulnerable people, the poor?

    And their blatant lies have got to stop. The poor people of our society are among the MOST OVERTAXED of everyone, when you consider that the sales taxes they pay are a dramatically higher portion of their overall income than that of everyone else.

    Not only is it a blatant lie that the poor pay no taxes, but if Republicans had any semblence of an ability to tell the truth, they know that the poor pay more taxes as a percentage of their overall income and assets than any other group in America.

  •  facts can't beat 24/7 lies on 1000 radio stations (6+ / 0-)

    and that's been going on for many years on this particular subject, using that particular talking point- that's why it's there.

    and despite recent action re limbaugh it's still there and the best way to beat those talking points, to finally organize a real challenge to discredit the source of lies, does not appear to be on the dem/left agenda.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and partisan lying by broadcasting sports on Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 07:47:06 PM PDT

  •  the Republicans are so out there... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    averybird, sethtriggs

    in their accusations and their proposals, we should start a meme that states Republicans want to kill children and old people (and kittens too) by the Social Darwinism they are proposing.  Get rid of the infirm and the weak, who can't produce, by starving them to death or letting them rot on the charity of private citizens, like our homeless.

    I may be crazy, but I'm not stupid.

    by Singing Lizard on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 07:47:59 PM PDT

    •  Some Democrats have done that kind of thing (4+ / 0-)

      (Pete Stark on the floor of the House, for instance, about George W. Bush enjoying the deaths of American soldiers) but the spineless in the party have chastised them (Stark was forced (by Pelosi!) to publicly apologize) because there's an existential dread of being caught lying in the Democratic mindset. We're too rational to win, I sometimes think.

      On the other hand, just the thought of being like the Republicans, only on the other side of the spectrum, puts chills down my spine.

      The last time the Republicans were this radical, they were working to elect former slaves to Congress. What a difference a century and a half makes!

      by jayjaybear on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 04:35:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It would be nice if poor Southern whites realized (6+ / 0-)

    how much this would hurt them, but I'm not hopeful.

    -1.63/ -1.49 "Speaking truth to power" (with snark of course)!

    by dopper0189 on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 08:37:07 PM PDT

  •  GOP Killing Talking Point on this: (7+ / 0-)

    In order to encourage lower class American's to pull themselves up by their boot straps, and leave the welfare and unemployment systems behind, we must eliminate the tax burdens that would otherwise hold them back and keep them down.

    It is in essence the same exact argument the GOP uses to defend their 0% income tax pipe dream for the Top 1%. Low taxes encourage those companies to grow and invest in America they claim. Higher taxes deter those same Tax Payers from making more money, hiring more people, etc.

    So the question is why does the GOP want to use the tax code as a boot on the throats of poor people?

    We lose if we choose to forget; the lives of men, and money spent.

    by DeanDemocrat on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 09:29:14 PM PDT

  •  Who is in that 47%? (0+ / 0-)

    21% of the US population is under 15 years old and they pay taxes just like the 14%  who are over 65.  

    The fact that 15% of the population is on Welfare might have something to do with the fact that 30 percent of the US population has a mental disorder or addiction of some kind.  

    40% of Americans lie about their taxes.  Sure, about 3% of population game the system for all they can.  

    The numbers.

    Like all government if it needs more money to make it through a shortfall, we just give it more.  How?  Raise taxes on the rich.

  •  The poor and lower classes (12+ / 0-)

    Actually support everyone else. The government pumping money to them leads to that money flowing up into the higher levels.

    It's like how our bodies pump blood to our extremities, who actually do all the work. The poor and lower classes do the work by spending the money that flows upward with people making money on the way. The government is the heart, circulating the money back to the poor and lower classes. Without the social programs to do that, the money isn't spread out to flow through the economy.

    That's why austerity doesn't work. It's a form of heart attack to the economy, by denying the blood/money that needs to get to the poor and lower classes to be spent, thereby creating profit.

    Please sign the White House petition to Flush Rush from AFN (Armed Forces Network).

    by splashy on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 02:12:08 AM PDT

  •  "Skin in the game" (10+ / 0-)

    for the poor is the skin from their hands and knees, on which they spend serving the rest of us. I hate it when the right wing claim the poor have no "skin in the game."

    The ironic part is that, even with the few absolute tax dollars that the working poor put into the system, from my point of view they still overpay given what government services they receive. You realize this once you observe that most of the defense budget is simply welfare to the military industrial complex. The war on Iraq certainly wasn't launched to keep a single mother on welfare safe from the t3rr0rists, but to line the pockets of Halliburton. Before one mentions the costs of Medicare and Medicaid, note that these programs are doing well enough to keep the health insurance scheme from completely collapsing.

    However, this isn't enough for the right. Not only are the poor supposed to go without an adequate social safety net, or wage increases for the past 30 years, they are also supposed to put some "skin in the game." Oh, and Pledge Allegiance to the flag, that too.

  •  US Median Income is $26,364 (6+ / 0-)

    Average income is $40,584

    There's a damned good reason half of Americans don't pay federal income taxes--they're poor!

    Median means half of the people make more and half make less.  When the average is larger than the median, the people in the top half make more than those in the bottom.  In this case, a lot more.

    We have before us both a moral and an economic issue.

    Capitalism was good, because it raised more people from poverty than any previous system.  Capitalism has changed significantly since the mid-70s with the rise of shareholder value capitalism and our current version of capitalism is failing to bring people out of poverty and keep the out.  In fact, by skewing income to the top, we're at risk ofthe system breaking down completely.  Our economy is in trouble because people aren't spending.  They aren't spending because they have no money--it's all at the top.

    I'm fortunate enough to be "officially wealth" but I worry about retirement and work towards a society and an economy that values every individual.

    We kidnap. We torture. It's our policy. Embrace it or end it!

    by Mosquito Pilot on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 04:16:59 AM PDT

    •  Re (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MGross
      Median means half of the people make more and half make less.  When the average is larger than the median, the people in the top half make more than those in the bottom.  In this case, a lot more.
      The people in the top half make more than those in the bottom half by definition.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 05:33:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  ...which is more than most countries in Europe. (0+ / 0-)

      Cite.

      Heck, you can make as low as 8000 EUR a year in France and still owe a decent chunk of it in income tax.

    •  Agree!! Because Companies Have Not Been (0+ / 0-)

      sharing their increased profits with workers in the form of wage increases, and the tax burden on the very wealthy has gone down over the past 40 years, almost ALL income gains have stayed at the top. If this continues, the USA is fast heading towards third world nation/banana republic status. In the 30 years after WWII, corporations actually shared their increased profitability with the American work force (in large part thanks to unions), and the American middle class flourished. That trend was reversed starting with Reagan's trickle down nonsense, and with other factors like globalization. Now all companies do is reward CEO's with ever bigger bonuses, and tell everyone else they are lucky to have a job (and don't ask for a raise, cause we might move this company overseas). Of course, our politicians have made things worse by steadily lowering taxes on the rich, refusing to negotiate fair trade deals that protect American workers and companies, and neglecting to close tax loopholes that make it profitable and easy for companies to move US jobs overseas.

  •  if you ever wanted to know (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    averybird, Russgirl

    if the Republican Party has a soul you can stop looking.  The very idea that the Repubs are casting about to tax absolutely anyone except the rich says it all.  If they could, they would tax babies and children and pets.
    They will leave no stone unturned in their quest to keep every last tax cut for the wealthy and the giant industries.  

    The woman with the maroon hair had fallen to her knees and was asking the sky, “What I done wrong, God? Tell me, Lord. I been good.” “You’re kneeling on Rex’s grave!” Ignatius shouted.

    by gracielove on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 04:27:22 AM PDT

  •  Dump the EITC and Child Credit (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happy camper, bmcphail

    I'm perfectly happy to dump these in exchange for a sizeable increase in the minimum wage. The problem with the EITC and the Child Credit is that they are intended to increase population growth, and that's the last thing we need. It's bad public policy (which is why Reagan was so keen on it).

    A higher minimum wage helps all poor people not just parents. Since the vast majority of people are not parents with young children in their household these tax programs are targeted at a narrow segment of the voters. Why should they benefit to the exclusion of the majority of poor people?

    And, we should demand an international minimum wage so that jobs start returning to the U.S. The key reason for income disparity here is our poor trade policy. It is national policy to export wealth-producing jobs and keep wages down. That's bad economics and inherently unfair to the poor.

    We have to fix trade policy. That's far more important than tax policy. It's the primary reason for the increase in income disparity. Look, if you're rich you can invest in China and increase your income. But if you're poor you can't go to China to earn more money. The rich can go to China and get richer, but the poor can't. That's why we've seen this wild spike in wealth going to the very rich.

    Until we fix trade policy we will continue to see the poor stomped on. The most immediate fix for that is a comprehensive increase in the minimum wage, and we ought to counter the Republican argument for cutting the EIT and Child Credit with the proposal that they be replaced by an increase in the minimum wage and establishment of an IMW.

  •  MOAR (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    edsbrooklyn, sethtriggs

    Need more of this every day on DKos!!!


  •  Can't get blood from a stone. (19+ / 0-)

    Republicans can't seem to get it through their heads that the majority of those people who don't pay income taxes are the elderly and the disabled. And then there are people like me who have been unemployed for five years. Of COURSE we don't pay income taxes -- we have no income!

    The way to fix our problems with taxes -- which they can't seem to figure out in their tiny little brains -- is to get good JOBS for everyone who wants to work.

    It's kind of hard to come up with tax money if you have no job and no assets to sell. And the way our laws currently work, if you make no income, you generally pay no income tax.

    Expand the tax base, Republicans, by putting those of us who are willing and able back to work, and leave the elderly and disabled out of the discussion.

    "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

    by Brooke In Seattle on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 06:48:28 AM PDT

  •  NOBODY........... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PsychoSavannah

    Has paid for the two present, one still ongoing after abandoning the main mission years back, War of Choice and not one dime as to the Results of nor is Anyone Demanding To!!!!!!!!!!

    While the Wars were off the books, till the present admin. put em back, and everyone condemns the Veterans Administration, especially in Congress and the State Houses!

    We're still only paying the interest on the billions borrowed!!!!!!

    Vets On FLOTUS and SLOTUS, "Best - Ever": "We haven't had this kind of visibility from the White House—ever." Joyce Raezer - Dec. 30, 2011

    by jimstaro on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 07:20:19 AM PDT

  •  The EITC (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe

    was supported by Republicans as a way to blunt calls for an increase in the minimum wage. It is effectively a wage subsidy to low wage employers who should be paying their workers a living wage.

    Keeping the minimum low is a Republican goal, because it eliminates wage pressure from the bottom, keeping all wages lower than they would otherwise be. Of course if wages were higher taxes collected would be higher too, which would deprive Repubs of their talking point about the shiftless poor not paying taxes...

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 07:21:11 AM PDT

    •  So now, we need to give (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happy camper, bmcphail

      business and business-owners a choice by raising their tax rates.....all of them, inclduing capital gains:

      you may pay these taxes to help support the government who has to support the people you refuse to pay well, or you can plow all the money into better wages/benefits and improvement in your business and get a write-off.

      It's up to them.

      David Koch is fucking Longshanks, and Occupy is the real Braveheart.

      by PsychoSavannah on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 08:29:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So Republicans don't think taxes are high enough? (7+ / 0-)

    God bless those bastards for giving us this wonderful talking point.

  •  and this isn't (4+ / 0-)

    class warfare?  Oh, shh, that only works in the opposite direction!

  •  The cheap labor Republicans could solve this (0+ / 0-)

    by simply agreeing to let the minimum wage rise to what is considered a living wage and/or pay their workers enough to fall into a taxable bracket.

    Of course, they won't.

  •  So, pay everyone not paying enough taxes... (0+ / 0-)

    ...to the republican'ts satisfaction enough extra money to pay those taxes. Right?

  •  They have created their own conundrum! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Russgirl

    First they deliver massive tax cuts for wealthy people.
    Then they depress wages and move jobs to other countries.
    Then they complain that X% of the country pays no income tax.
    When only a shrinking percentage of our citizens have any real income, of course there is a greater percentage that pay no income tax. But that group is more skewed toward the top of the spectrum than it was.
    Consider those who subsist from investment income, and only pay the Capital Gains tax instead of regular income tax, the rate for which is MUCH lower.
    But at the same time the Republicans go whole hog on end-user types of taxes, like sales tax, meals tax, etc. These affect those on the lower end of the income scale disproportionally.
    To put it in a nutshell, there IS a sector of taxpayers who aren't paying their share.
    But it's NOT those at the bottom of the income scale.

    Everybody got to elevate from the norm....

    by Icicle68 on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 02:20:39 PM PDT

  •  Republicans Are Raising Your Taxes (0+ / 0-)

    Where's Grover Norquist to protect this 47% from the tax increase that Republicans are now insisting on?

    If Democrats can't shove down Republicans' throats that Republicans are insisting on raising taxes on half of all Americans, surely the biggest tax increase in history (by headcount), then Democrats deserve to lose. Of course, we deserve better, but that's the national anthem.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 05:10:05 PM PDT

  •  Facts and arguments...pffft. (0+ / 0-)

    They mean nothing to Republicans. They make shit up, shout it out, the media route it through their megaphones, and just enough idiots believe it to ruin, ironically but without irony, the Republic.

    "It's called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it." George Carlin

    by psnyder on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 05:26:46 PM PDT

  •  Just another reason to hate republithugs (0+ / 0-)
  •  Well Working Children Should Pay Taxes Of Course (0+ / 0-)

    is undoubtedly part of their what-passes-for-thinking.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 05:36:26 PM PDT

  •  Isn't it expensive to process poor people's taxes (0+ / 0-)

    if they owe a piddly amount? What's the income level at which processing tax filings become cost-effective for the government?

    Somewhat off-topic: except for luxury items, food should not be taxed, period.

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 05:36:52 PM PDT

  •  100% of kids who go to public school (0+ / 0-)

    don't pay a dime in property tax for those schools. Also 100%of the republicans who think SS and Medicare are "entitlement programs" can still receive those benefits, if they qualify for them financially.

  •  Progressive tax code and the 47% (0+ / 0-)

    Recognition of the 47% of Americans with zero federal tax liability was introduced by Roberton Williams, Senior Fellow with the Tax Policy Center, an independent non-partisan organization.  In a series of articles, Williams was describing how Obama policies made the tax code more progressive by focusing on the lower end.  As we know, attempts to make the code more progressive by raising rates at the upper end ran into a brick wall.  But there is little recognition of the changes that the Democratic Party enacted right away when they came to power in 2009 to benefit those at the lower end of the income scale.  

    If the effective income tax rate wasn't raised at the high end, we have to appreciate that it was lowered at the low end and it was lowered below 0% so that some low income individuals achieved a negative federal income tax liability.  This was accomplished by making some tax credits refundable.

    For example, families with dependent children were eligible for up to $2000 in tax credits that could be applied to their tax bill.  The $2000 break was available to all families earning up to $110,000.  But what about the poorest families whose earnings were so low that they didn't even have $2000 in federal income tax to offset?   If they only had a total federal income tax bill of $1000 they weren't able to participate fully in the $2000 credit.  Ironically, the people who could benefit the most from the the full $2000 credit were disallowed from using it if their tax bill was under $2000.

    The Democratic Party controlled Congress included in the economic stimulus a provision to revise the tax code so that the excess credit amount could be paid to income tax filers as a refund.  In the example I used above, a low income family with a federal income tax bill of $1000 and child tax credits of $2000 is now able to reduce their tax bill to zero AND collect the remaining $1000 in a refund check.  If effect, these individuals' tax liability is reduced to below zero.  Any amount below zero, is money that the US Government pays out to those who are eligible.

    I find it interesting that very few Americans are even aware of this creative and effective tax policy that has been implemented.  It's also interesting that Roberton Williams' scholarly study of tax credits and other tax expenditures was spun around by the right so that it became emblemmatic of an injustice.  Williams actually wrote a follow up piece or two expressing his dismay about how the 47% was hijacked by rightwing politicians who distorted it into something that has nothing to do with truth or reality.

    "Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves." - Abraham Lincoln

    by leftreborn on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 05:54:47 PM PDT

  •  I had that question sprung on me at the (0+ / 0-)

    Occupy St Pete tax day action last week, by a reporter from the local Fox News.  My response took him completely by surprise---the bottom 50% pay hardly any income tax because they hardly have any income, while the richest 1% pay 40% of the income taxes because they have 40% of the income:

    .

  •  "How do you deal with a shrinking pie...?" (0+ / 0-)

    Let them eat cake!

  •  the rich pay 40% of the taxes (0+ / 0-)

    and control 90% of the wealth

    IS THAT FING FAIR?!?!?!?!

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