Tuesday, October 14, 2008

the manchurian dalibama, part 5 - taxes and voter focus

From the National Taxpayers Union come these data from 2006 tax returns:

Percentiles Ranked by AGI

AGI Threshold on Percentiles

Percentage of Federal Personal Income Tax Paid

Top 1%



Top 5%



Top 10%



Top 25%



Top 50%



Bottom 50%



Note: AGI is Adjusted Gross Income
Source: Internal Revenue Service

Beyond Obama’s rhetoric of “no one under $250,000,” it is clear his target audience is the “Bottom 50%” crowd above. He’s going to reduce their tax burden? They collectively only pay less than three percent already.

How he is going to do this? By making their tax burden negative, that is, by giving them money.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Here's the political catch. All but the clean car credit would be "refundable," which is Washington-speak for the fact that you can receive these checks even if you have no income-tax liability. In other words, they are an income transfer -- a federal check -- from taxpayers to nontaxpayers. Once upon a time we called this "welfare," or in George McGovern's 1972 campaign a "Demogrant." Mr. Obama's genius is to call it a tax cut.

The Tax Foundation estimates that under the Obama plan 63 million Americans, or 44% of all tax filers, would have no income tax liability and most of those would get a check from the IRS each year. The Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis estimates that by 2011, under the Obama plan, an additional 10 million filers would pay zero taxes while cashing checks from the IRS.

The total annual expenditures on refundable "tax credits" would rise over the next 10 years by $647 billion to $1.054 trillion, according to the Tax Policy Center. This means that the tax-credit welfare state would soon cost four times actual cash welfare. By redefining such income payments as "tax credits," the Obama campaign also redefines them away as a tax share of GDP. Presto, the federal tax burden looks much smaller than it really is.

Obama’s lines of reduced taxes and “reviewing the budget with a scalpel” are just insulting.

The truth is in his record. Let’s go back to some more National Taxpayer Union data. They ranked Senators Representatives based upon their tax and spend votes (first entry under Quick Links at bottom of page). Here’s the criteria:

We analyzed every roll call vote taken during 2006 (2nd Session of the 109th Congress) and selected all votes that could significantly affect the amounts of federal taxes, spending, debt, or regulatory impact.

A total of 199 House and 109 Senate roll call votes were selected. We included votes cast on appropriations bills, authorization bills, budget target resolutions, tax bills, amendments, and certain procedural votes that could affect the burden on taxpayers.

Votes that simply shifted equal amounts of spending from one area to another were excluded, as were unanimous votes on increasing spending. Also excluded were votes where there was a significant difference of opinion on how to vote to reduce spending.

We believe the number of votes used in the analysis, the objective and nonpartisan weighting of the votes, computerized calculations, and many error checks all combine to ensure the highest possible standards of accuracy.

McCain’s 2006 rating: 88%

Obama’s 2006 rating: 16%

What are we up against? A totally uninformed public, as Conservatism Today points out in this Howard Stern audio. Howard has people on the street interviewed. He determines that they are voting for Obama, and asks them about McCain’s policies but attributes them to Obama. The people all say they think that is the right thing to do, including choosing Palin as VP.

Howard Stern? We are getting our most cogent analyses from Howard Stern? I like Howard. I think he can be brilliant at times. He has an incredible clarity to see through some issues. He’s also a bit off the envelope (as opposed to pushes the edges).

So here is what we have: Obama’s supporters don’t have a clue what he stands for and do not care. So he is fashioning his words for those folks that want to hear “wealth redistribution” – the woefully oppressed middle-class folks that believe the wealthy are out to get them, that the wealthy got there by luck rather than hard work.

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