Monday, February 23, 2004

Hey look, John Edwards lying ... (not that most Americans would care)

With the Georgia primary coming up in a couple of weeks, presidential campaign commercials have started popping up on local TV. And I saw one for Socialist Senator John Edwards tonight that I felt compelled to respond to.

Please understand that I know my opinion doesn't matter. The wife and I are in a very insignificant minority in this country - we make pretty good money. We're among the top 15% of income-earning households, in fact (don't get jealous - you probably are, too. If you're married, both of you work and you each make $37,500 a year, you qualify).

It's the 63.4% of households which have incomes of less than $40,000 that socialists like Edwards cater to. The American majority of under-achievers wants the government to give them "stuff" and they want the "rich" to pay for it. And Edwards (even more so than John Kerry) is happy to offer up the grab bag of goodies to win their votes.

It's a winning strategy, of course. In politics, you go where the numbers are. That's why nobody - not even the "caring" Democrats - will stand up for the rights of homosexuals when it comes to "marriage." They may believe in their hearts that all people - including gay folks - should have equal protection under the law, but homosexuals make up, what, 10% of the population?

That's even more of a losing platform than championing the cause of people who make good money and pay a lot in taxes.

But I digress.

The commercial used Edwards' standard "there are two Americas" theme (one America for the rich, one for the poor, you see - and that's a bad, bad thing), and when talking about taxes, here is the outright lie that sprang forth from his oh-so-pretty trial-lawyer mouth:

"Two tax systems, where the wealthy and corporations pay less; working families pay more."

Yes, that's what he said. He said the "wealthy and corporations" pay less taxes and that "working families" pay more.

Let's go to the stats!

The figures below (and above) are from the IRS' own "tax stats" section. And they represent the truth.

• On his website, Edwards defines the "wealthiest Americans" as the top 2% of income earners. That, according to the IRS (and Edwards), means a household income of $200,000 or more. In 2001, those households earned 54.5% of all income and paid 74.7% of all individual income tax. On average, households in this group had an effective tax rate of 20.90% on their income.

• It's hard to tell what Edwards considers to be "working families", although there is a reference on his site to limiting programs for "working Americans" to households making under $50,000. In 2001, those households earned 29.2% of all income and paid 13.5% of all individual income tax. On average, households in this group had an effective tax rate of 7.05% on their income.

Even I can do the math on that one. If you have a higher income and pay a higher percentage of your income in taxes, you're paying more tax than someone with a lower income and lower tax rate.

Yet Edwards will throw out a lie like "the wealthy and corporations pay less; working families pay more" without flinching (yes, I backed up the DVR to make sure I got that line right).

And 63.4% of Americans will buy it.

P.S. Corporations don't pay income tax. You pay the "corporate" income tax because all of the income corporations pay tax on actually comes from the corporation's customers. Which is you.

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