How would you describe someone who benefits from the involuntary labor of
others? Do you think of feudal kings sitting on their royal bottoms, watching
the serfs work their lives away? Do you think of plantation-owners profiting
from slave labor? Think again.
In the bad old days the poor struggled to support themselves and the dominant
elites confiscated land and tribute and coerced labor to enrich themselves.
In this enlightened age, however, the working rich bear virtually the whole
cost of government and its extensive entitlement programs. The tables are
now turned but the left media is trying to convince us that the beneficiaries
of our system are really its victims. The outpouring of distortions and just
plain nonsense when President Bush signed the recent tax-cut legislation
shows how they do it.
Tom Brokaw led off the NBC Nightly News by insisting that, "in what
could be an embarrassing omission in his tax cut package, families making
between $10,000 and $26,000 a year come up short." The image conjured up
by the innuendo of "embarrassing omission" and "coming up short" is that
of an un-caring President who willingly sacrificed these poor, hard-working
folks in an eleventh-hour, back room deal to win Congressional passage of
his pet bill. However, Brokaw has an embarrassing omission of his own;
namely, that those same families aren't paying taxes anyway, largely as a
result of the President's 2001 tax-cut. You can't get a tax reduction if
you're not paying taxes.
CNBC anchor Brian Williams employed similar language; "We learned today there
is an embarrassing omission in what is now the law of the land. Families
making between $10,000 and $26,000 a year get left out while critics say
many who do not need a tax cut get one anyway." Again, the conjured
image is that the Bush Administration is giving money to its undeserving
friends, while the truly needy are ignored.
The reality shown by the Tax Foundation report is that, in general, the lower
the income for parents the greater percentage tax cut they got from the 2001
bill and will from the acceleration signed this week. "Families earning below
$35,000 are not included [in the 2003 bill] because the tax cuts enacted
in 2001 effectively eliminated their entire income tax liability."
By cherry-picking statistics, the left media attempts to support the notion
that the usual suspects ("the rich") are getting richer at the expense of
the victimized poor, who are getting poorer. It is implied that the
rich, ie. the top 1% or 5% of taxpayers, are unfairly reaping the lion's
share of tax-cut benefits. But let's look at a broader spectrum of
- The Top 1% of Taxpayers pays 37.4% of the taxes collected in this country.
- The Top 5% (which includes the top 1%) pays 56.5% of all taxes.
- The Top 10% pays 67.3% of all taxes.
- The Top 25% pays 84.0% of all taxes, and the
- The Top 50% pays 96.1% of all taxes.
of the taxpayers pay more than half of all taxes! Why, that sounds almost
unfair. Only half of taxpayers are paying virtually all the taxes collected
in the country! Doesn't it sound like the top 50% are working for, or, more
accurately, exploited by the bottom 50%?
Another notorious piece of distortion by Peter Jennings went like this: "...
now that the President's tax cut has become law and people thought the dust
of debate had settled here, it turns out that a whole lot of people in the
country who could use the money are not going to get it. ABC's Linda Douglass
is on Capitol Hill. Linda, it turns out that the Americans in question do
not make enough money to qualify."
This bizarre turn of phrase makes it sound as though "a whole lot of people"
are being punitively excluded from some rich-folks club because they don't
make enough money. Jennings doesn't mention that it's the taxpayer's club
a whole lot of people don't qualify for.
For the median family with two children, earning $67,000 per year, the Bush
plan would mean a tax cut of $1,133 this year, erasing 22% of their current
tax liability. A family earning only $40,000 would see 96% (!) of their tax
liability erased, while a family earning $200,000 would see only 9% of their
tax liability erased. So, who's really getting the most benefit?
We could go on with examples of media distortions supporting the old myth
that the poor and helpless are still being screwed by the rich and powerful,
but, if we look more honestly at the legal and statistical reality, we realize
that the poor (in cahoots with their big brothers, the welfare-state, careerist
Democrats) are increasingly exploiting the rich through confiscatory taxation,
in order to maintain themselves in a state of self-righteous, irresponsible
husband and wife team - international teachers, and authors, write articles
and teach a philosophical approach to conservatism. They have helped thousands
of adults in more than thirty countries realize more of the best of themselves
through responsibility. new website is: http://peterandhelenevans.com.
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