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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Media and Half Truths: Obama's Biggest Allies

I have said it once; I will say it a million times more: the media is DISGUSTING.

This large, unchecked, unbalanced machine controls and spreads information. The problem is when the media gives half truths the average American (who apparently doesn't like to get the facts straight for him/herself) believes it. This propagates ignorance. It's scary, and many Americans vote or not vote for a candidate based on incorrect information.

I posted once already about Obama's campaign speech about wealth inequality. After thinking about it, I decided to do some research. What I found shows that the media (of course, the larger, liberal media) and Obama himself do NOT tell the whole story.

Look at these headlines: "Billionaires With 1% Tax Rates."   Ugh... Great headlining. We will explain the problem soon.

The Washington Post: "Report: A quarter of U.S. millionaires pay taxes at a lower rate than some in the middle class."  More Ugh...

I can't even believe I went here, but I wanted to see what the Daily Kos said. Oh, look what I found: "94,500 millionaires pay lower tax rate than many middle-class families." Triple Ugh... it's getting thick.

First, all of these articles cite the non-partisan Congressional Research Service report titled "An Analysis of the Buffet Rule." This was a report published on October 7th. The media isn't lying in what it takes from the report, but it is only telling half the story. Allow me to break it down.

Washington Post reporter Lori Montgomery writes, "The report, by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, found that when all federal taxes are taken into account — including those on wages, investment income and corporate profits — some households earning more than $1 million a year paid as little as 24 percent of their income to the Internal Revenue Service in 2006."

"Some," huh? 

She goes on, "That’s substantially less than the share paid by many families making less than $100,000 a year that faced a top effective tax rate exceeding 26.5 percent, the report said. All told, 94,500 millionaires paid a smaller share of their income in taxes than 10 million households with moderate incomes, the report found."  

The Daily Kos reports the same information, as does In fact, the article attempts to make a more dramatic point in stating, "Last year, 4,000 households with incomes over a million dollars owed no federal income tax whatsoever, according to Tax Policy Center estimates." We will get to that later. 

Now, we'll start whole truth. First, here is the actual Congressional Research Service report. 

Let's start by taking a look at some numbers from the report:

- 25% of millionaires (94,500) paid a lower tax rate than only 10% of middle income households (10.4 million households making < $100,000 in income annually)
        - This, for some odd reason, was left out of the reports listed above. 

Let's extrapolate these numbers:

- If 25% equals 94,500, then there were approximately 378,000 households earning > $1,000,000 annually. 
- If 10% of the middle-income households totaled 10.4 million households, then there were 104,000,000 total middle-income households. 

Looking at these numbers in charts gives some perspective: 
Our biggest problem is that the media and the President are using reports like this to win over people's opinions. Of course, they're not telling the whole story. Think of it this way: there are 104,000,000 middle-income tax-filing households and 378,000 millionaire tax-filing households. Only 94,500 millionaires pay less than 104,000,000 middle-income filers. With those numbers, do you know what percentage of millionaire tax filers pay a lower tax rate than the middle-class tax filers? 0.0909% or, in layman's terms... less than one tenth of one percent! Oh my, this is a crisis! (sarcasm, of course). See this story on the chart below:

Going further, like CNN stated, 4,000 of the 378,000 millionaires are paying 0% overall tax rates. This is equal to a whopping 1.06%!

Again, the media and President Obama aren't lying when they state the fact that 94,500 millionaires pay a lower tax rate than 10.4 million middle-class tax payers. They just think U.S. citizens are ignorant. They intentionally don't tell the story with its full context. 

Let's get this straight: we do NOT advocate the rich paying lower overall tax rates. If you read through our blog, you will see that we favor ONLY a flat rate income tax, where every taxpayer is charged the same rate without discrimination. This includes a flat, same-as-earned-income capital gains tax rate. We are just upset that the whole story is not getting told. We are upset at the political pandering and campaigning Obama and the liberal media are doing. We are upset that this kind of sleazy reporting wins over voters, and we feel voters make misinformed decisions because of it. 

Our questions to the media/Obama: 

- Is this intentional?
- Don't you know that reporting a stat saying 25% are paying less than only 10% is statistically slim... very slim? Don't you know that citing 10% of one group and how they are exceeded by only 25% of another group shows only a statistical anomaly, not the norm?
- Why did you leave this out of your reports/speeches?
- Is Obama just trying to woo some voters?

One last thing to set the record straight: The CRS report does conclude the following average tax rates (of course, these were NOT published in the mainstream media articles):

- The middle-class tax earners cited in the report (tax filers with incomes < $100,000), on average, paid an annual overall tax rate of approximately 19%. Those that happen to pay an overall average of 26.5% (exceeding that small portion of millionaires' tax rates) are a statistical anomaly.
- The millionaires (all tax filers with incomes > $1,000,000) cited in the report, on average, paid an annual overall tax rate of approximately 30%. Those that happen to pay an overall average of 24% (dropping them below that small portion paying the 26.5% rate above) are a statistical anomaly.

Now that's telling information. What is all this about not paying a "fair share?" The truth never lies. 

What do you think?


  1. Ok. So. I'm a liberal. I don't hide it. I have to admit, this post was well-written. It brings up some good points. I will try to think of a way to disagree. Will post more later.

  2. I think I saw you on cnn. You posted "facts are radioactive to many liberals."

    I read this post. I read the crs report. I won't tell you my political leanings, but I must say nice job.

  3. I like how you give all these facts from a biased conservative point of view. how good are your facts if their biased.

  4. Anonymous, First Timer and Jenna - Thank you for your posts. I think you all saw LME on CNN.

    Anonymous - Thank you for your take. We are looking forward to your response. As you can see from the other comment threads on our blog, e keep it very civil.

    First Timer - Thank you. Do you have an opinion about our article or its findings? If not, no biggie.

    Jenna - Um, I'm not sure how to respond to this. The three articles (yes, we cited and linked them) use a CRS report as their backing. We merely read it and used that very CRS report to give our analysis. The facts are the facts. They cannot be biased.

    Thank you all for your posts. We hope to hear back from you.

  5. I bit. I too saw you on CNN. This is pretty good. Thanks!

  6. "The problem is when the media gives half truths the average American (who apparently doesn't like to get the facts straight for him/herself) believes it. This propagates ignorance. It's scary, and many Americans vote or not vote for a candidate based on incorrect information."

    I agree, there is a LOT of misinformation & disinformation out there and I constantly urge others to check the FACTS and research further. PolitiFact, FactCheck, OpenSecrets and Snopes are great places to start. What's interesting is how fact-checking debunks the far-right narritive that the MSM is constantly twisting the facts and deceiving us while right-wing media is the only group giving us the honest truth. If fact, if you count up the number of mostly-false, false, pants-on-fire, Pinocchios, etc. given to the media and political pundits, you'll likely find a lot more dishonesty on the right. The same is true of politicians.

    That said, we should all be open to LISTENING to both those we agree with and those we disagree with (excluding divisive propagandists and those working to divide us). We may actually learn something and help move this country forward!

    Regarding the rest of your post... We're still trying to get our head around your math and argument. The basic point being made by Obama and many in the media is:

    "SOME millionaires & billionaires PAY LESS than MANY in the middle-class."

    The statement is TRUE and you confirm it by saying:

    "Again, the media and President Obama aren't lying when they state the fact that 94,500 millionaires pay a lower tax rate than 10.4 million middle-class tax payers."

    But you also allude DECEPTION by calculating the percentage of millionaires/billionaires paying a lower rate vs. middle-income filers. That math returns a low number, but I really don't see how that matters much in the grand scheme of things. There are still 94,500 millionaires/billionaires paying a lower tax rate than some in the middle-class and that is the main point. The Bush tax cuts has contributed to a large portion of the national debt, yet conservatives rather cut from entitlements, infrastructure and things that benefit the middle-class rather than close tax loopholes on large corporations or those with large incomes.

    I do appreciate your 'divisive rhetoric-free' post, views on rich paying more than middle-class, and interest in conveying factual information. I just don't see any big deception by the MSM or Obama on this issue.

    Perhaps I'm I missing something here?

  7. TruthSerumUSA – thank you for your comment. Yes, LME is an open forum. We take positions and we challenge those we disagree with. Whether we agree or disagree, our blog prides itself as being a hate-free chalkboard for people of all views to express their beliefs.

    Getting to our article and the purpose of it: we did say specifically that Obama and the media are not lying. What we are claiming is that they are using headlines and information spinning to sway people into believing something that isn’t necessarily the case. We gave the numbers to back our points.

    First, as all three of our cited articles claim (whether in headlines or in content), yes, they do claim (and we argue, give the impression) that millionaires pay a lower tax rate than middle-class families. Obama gave a speech yesterday citing this fact. He is claiming that our current economic situation is one where millionaires are paying lower rates the vast majority of the time. We are not going to dispute the facts of this nor are we going to dispute the CRS report from which they claim. Our problem is, it’s not what Obama and the headlines claim it is.

    From Obama’s speech about this income inequality "A quarter of all millionaires now pay lower tax rates than millions of middle-class households.” He is using this to get people to believe this is a large problem. We are asking, is it really? That’s where we bring in the numbers.

  8. TruthSerumUSA - (continued): We took the information from the CRS report and found that there are 104,000,000 middle-class taxpayers. There are 94,500 millionaires that pay an overall tax rate less than 10,400,000 of these tax payers. That means that 75% of millionaires pay a larger tax rate than 93,600,000 middle-class families. When looking at the percentage, what is the percentage of millionaires that pay more than the middle class taxpayer segment? For this, 94,500 / 104,000,000 = 0.0909%

    For Obama to make a claim on something so small, to us, is very shady. It’s meant to woo the crowd into believing it’s such a large group. Yes, it’s 94,500. Yes, it’s less than one tenth of one percent. These facts are indisputable. But do you think Obama or the MSM would have a case if it published a headline that said, “0.09% of millionaires pay a lower tax rate than middle class families, all other pay a larger one?”

    With regards to the media specifically, the Washington Post’s writer made this case, but failed to put it into context. While making the case that this is a “large” problem, we noticed she failed to mention the actual numbers. We believe this is intentional because her argument of, and the whole argument (it’s pretty much a myth in the aggregate) that millionaires pay a lower tax rate than middle-class families doesn’t really catch if it’s only 0.0909%. I think Americans, when reading news articles should be given the whole truth. Her headline states,” Report: A quarter of U.S. millionaires pay taxes at a lower rate than some in middle class” yes, is technically true. “Some” is also three.

    Imagine, for example, if eating potatoes killed 1,000 people per year. Each potato is a pound, and the U.S. eats 50,000,000 pounds in a year. If the Washington Post put up a headline of “Report: Potatoes seen as cause of death for many Americans,” don’t you think the consumption of potatoes would drop? Don’t you think people would scrutinize potatoes? While it’s true, it would be so insignificant, and reporting it as a major headline (yes, see our article “Checks and Balances: But not on the Media” about the power of headlines) would be damaging even though the whole truth isn’t provided.

    I hope this explanation helps. We monitor Twitter and comments on CNN and Yahoo! News and Fox Daily. We are disgusted when people say “all millionaires do is skirt the system” and “the rich shouldn’t pay less than I do.” Yes, we agree (we push for a flat-rate tax for all), but to the point of painting everyone with a broad brush when it’s such a small part of the population is, to us, very dangerous and damaging.

    Thank you again for your post! We hope you like this blog, and we hope you come back to use it as a forum for civil debate. Take care!

  9. "Whether we agree or disagree, our blog prides itself as being a hate-free chalkboard for people of all views to express their beliefs."

    A reason I followed you on Twitter, took the time to read your post and comment. Thank you for that! I'm so sick of divisive & dishonest political dialog on both sides.

    I don't think what Obama is doing here is in any way 'shady'. There is a real problem with inequality in this country and he's using factual information to convey that message. All sides of the political spectrum do this... it's marketing 101. Given the astonishing amount of disinformation coming from some on the right, I don't disparage him from amplifying the point - some millionaires/billionaires are paying LESS than many in the middle-class. 94,500 IS a large group after all. As well, if it's such a small percentage, why are Republicans so reluctant to address the problem?

    CBO: Income grew 275% for top 1% from 1979-2007, but only 18% for bottom 20%.

    The growing income gap in the US must be addressed. We cannot keep asking the middle and lower classes to make sacrifices while ignoring what is going on at the top.

    We'll be back... really appreciate the civil debate. Have a great day!

  10. TruthSerumUSA - Thank you for replying.

    I, of course, respectfully disagree. I do believe Obama is intentionally not telling the whole truth. I would assume he saw the numbers in the CSR report. I think to make the claims he does

    1. Is shady because it's such a small part yet he is giving a speech about it. How many speeches does he give about things that are about 0.0909% of a group of people. I think he knows this.
    2. Is just bad statistics. This, to me, falls on the media. They report subjective words like "some". Like we said, three are some, but I wouldn't write an article about it, and I wouldn't make a case about it being anything close to the norm. When you have a group of 104,000,000 in sample size A and you are saying that 94,500 from sample B has have a certain characteristic that exceeds only 10% of group A, and you leave 90% out, that's just bad stats, and in no way (I would think most reasonable people can agree with this) represents the norm. I absolutely dislike his speech about the wealthy paying lower rates than the middle class. He boasts this, but the evidence does show that this is not the case 99.909% of the time, and to me, that's not a great position to take a stand on. How can someone boast something as "the way it is," (again, I think most reasonable people can agree that Obama is making the claim that millionaires pay a lower rate a greater percentage of the time than he is claiming) when 99.9% of the time it's not? It's absolutely your right to disagree, but I firmly believe the position I'm taking because the numbers are what they are.

    94,500 millionaires who are able to reduce their tax burden to 24% (a number still above the average middle class burden of 19%, but above the 10% that pay 26%) again, isn't the norm, but yes, under the current system, isn't "fair" with respect to that system (which I do think is flawed... of course, I want a flat tax).

  11. (continued): With respect to CEO pay, that wasn't the topic of this post, but I will address it briefly. I have absolutely problem with CEO pay being what it is. It is not my business. It is no one's business in my opinion. IF CEO pay was a fixed thing, locked in by some law or government body and no one had an equal opportunity to make choices to get there, then I would be against it. To me, as a student of economics, it's the product of an expansion of the need for CEOs and the shrinkage of qualified, educated, experienced people to do their work. Again, it's not fixed, CEOs, inspite of what people like to read in tabloids to not make their own pay decisions, and just the fact that it is there for me to try to reach if I want it, I don't think it should be regulated whatsoever. No one should be given that power to say "you make too much."

    The growing income cap, again, to me is fine. IF salaries were static and unchangeable regardless of personal decisions, then yes, I would have a problem. People can make choices to change their income and their wealth (I did.) With regards to sacrifices, yes, we need to fund the government. A "fair" sacrifice is to make everyone pay the same, non-discriminatory rate. If everyone devoted 6 minutes (10%) of each hour worked, how can anyone say that it's not fair?

    We definitely do hope you come back. Obviously, I greatly disagree with you, but I respectfully disagree with you, and to me, that's what our blog is about. I'm always open to sharing ideas, and though you might never think like me, and I might never think like you, the more information shared, the better. Take care!

  12. I'm all for a flat or fair tax on everyone, alas that seems to be far, far in the future.

    We DO need to close the tax loopholes - but the '99%ers' need to remember that they exist not only for the 1% - many, many 'tax breaks' exist for the lower brackets as well. Close them all, so that everyone has some 'skin in the game'.

    The same for the 'Bush tax cuts'! Those cuts were across the board... let them ALL expire - if it's indeed true - that all you're interested in is fairness.

    How is it 'fair' that many pay zero in federal income tax - and then receive REFUNDS for monies never paid in?

    And for those who poo poo this fact - it's true. Our son is one of those people who recieves far more money in 'tax refund' than he pays in. His federal tax bill is negative $$$ -

    And he uses the same public works as the rich guy - or me - at my 19% tax rate, no refund for the past 20+ years.(last year they demanded an extra 76.12 above my withholding!)

    To some, 'taxing the rich' and only 'the rich' seems to be the perfect way to 'have their cake and eat it too.'(and they actually use the word 'fair' to justify this.)

    That said, all of this 1% vs. the whatever % makes my head want to explode. We are ALL Americans. This pitting of the rich vs. the poor reeks of envy.

    'Income gap' is, was, and always will be with us... we may have been 'created equal' but our skills/gifts/talents are different - and command different rates of pay. Fact of life!

    AND consider this... if every one of 'the rich' in our nation were to be taxed at 100% of their income, the resulting 'revenue' to the State would only sustain this overgrown, bloated, entitlement laden Government for a couple of years - probably less, considering our out of control, DC beaurocrats must take their share - first.

    Then what?

  13. Well, let's just say that if you apply that same sort level of measurement/criticism to all the claims made by all politicians and pundits, there may not be enough time to debate it all. I follow your argument, I just don't agree that Obama and the MSM are being 'shady'.

    If that's the case, then those making 'death panel' and 'march to socialism' claims must be way off base as well.

    In regards to CEO pay... I agree, the government should have no say in most cases. However, when it comes to healthcare and companies that have received tax-payer bailouts... I think the gov should have some say. Would love to get into that more, but don't have the time now.

    In regards to growing income gap... it will come back to bite us in the long run if not addressed soon. Currently, those with $$$ receive the best access to our democracy. Fairness plays a big part in 'liberty and justice for all'.

    PS: My household income places me in one of the top tax brackets. Financially, I would benefit more under Republican tax policy, but I believe America is about WE and not about ME. Like conservatives, I want my $$ spent wisely and efficiently, but I also subscribe to Theodore Roosevelt's quote:

    "This country will not be a permanently good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a reasonably good place for all of us to live in".

  14. Dara - Thank you for posting here. Of course, you and I tend to agree very often.

    Your statement "How is it 'fair' that many pay zero in federal income tax - and then receive REFUNDS for monies never paid in?" Again, so true.

    I do believe the argument made by those saying "tax the rich" is being made yes, by those that want their cake. Then and all of us agree we need to pay off our debts, but by saying "tax the rich" that's just saying... Oh no, I don't want to pay for it... make my rich neighbor. To me, that's sad.

    But yes, a flat rate tax is what I yearn for. Same percent, same minutes of every hour you work contributed for to the government. The rich will still pay more (this should please liberals), there would be no deductions, and no ability to pay nothing. To me, that's very fair.

    Thank you!

  15. TruthSerum - As always (well, since today and hopefully going into the future) thank you!

    You said: "Well, let's just ... being 'shady'." I guess we will just have to agree to disagree. I think making statements that imply a situation is much more dire or statistically backed when it's not is "shady" and you don't. But that's fine, and it's okay to disagree.

    "If that's the ... base as well." - Maybe, maybe not. That's very difficult to prove. I'm against all forms of unbacked opinions and sayings, whether liberal or conservative. If you read through this blog, I'm HUGE on proof. If a conservative makes some claim about a "death panel" claim, and he is not giving facts, he is just as much of a fool as any.

    You said: "In regards to CEO pay... don't have the time now." For me, bailouts shouldn't have happened in the first place (we have an article near the beginning of the blog about the too-big-to-fail mantra and our opposition to bailouts). I don't think the government should regulate the dealings of any private business at all. I think that's a dangerous power to give the government. I think CEO pay should always be solely between the CEO and the company who is willing to pay him for his expertise, skills, education, etc. If Americans were to climb the education, work ethic, experience ladder, there would be more CEOs and, with a larger supply of CEOs, their pay would naturally come down. I'm an economist and hold strongly to the Smith school of economics.

  16. TruthSerum (continued): As for the income gap, I think it's a product of the government killing incentive. We have coddled too much of the population for too long. The government dole has expanded year after year. This absolutely kills incentive. We have around a 66% graduation rate from high school. People are less educated, less skilled, less willing to work. But we still take care of them. We never make anyone go out and achieve. To me, the government propagates all this. Yes, social welfare programs help the poor but by not as much as they hurt them by killing their incentive. If we have more skilled, willing and educated workers, naturally, the income gap will shrink. I think it will always exist, however, and it should. It's a necessary evil. Like Dara said, we all have equal opportunity, but we are all unequal when it comes to skills, experience and value to those who might employ us. An economist with a Ph.D and 30 years experience should absolutely make more money than me. I'm okay with this, and the income gap is completely necessary. If I make the right decisions, I can one day potentially make as much money as he does. I don't see how it will come back to bite us. People need to work hard for themselves. With nearly 46% of the population on some form of government assistance, this, in my opinion, will ultimately come back to bite us.

    The point you made here: "Currently, those with $$$ receive the best access to our democracy. Fairness plays a big part in 'liberty and justice for all'" I very much respectfully disagree with you. I ask, how? We all have one vote regardless of income, wealth, sex, race, gender, religion, etc. That's all one person has, just one vote. When you say "access to our democracy" I have to ask what you're referring to.

    I'm not in the top tax bracket. I make a modest ~$50k, but I do not want the rich to pay any rate greater than the one I pay. I'm not against high taxes, I just want us to all pay the same rate. Many of our amendments start with "government shall make no law..." and I think the US should expand this to be "government shall make no law that discriminates or treats its citizens unequally in any situation." That's what I stand for. You can tax me at 75% as long as everyone else is.

    I believe in the natural push of socially-benefiting economics. If we all work hard to be the best we can as individuals, we benefit society as a whole. If I went to school to get a M.S. in construction management, I will be able to make a decent pay, and I will make roads that benefit all. If I start a business because I want to make gobs of money, I will need to hire employees to help me run it. I will pay them wages which will help them feed their families. Bill Gates, while trying to amass his individual wealth, positively affected the lives of thousands of employees and millions of customers. I think if each individual betters himself, society as a whole gets better, and I think this is fundamentally American.

    You and I might fundamentally disagree (who knows, we might find some common ground on something :-P) but that's just fine. I appreciate the courtesy and look forward to exchanging thoughts with you more. Thank you!

  17. Heres the kicker, we dont know wat the actual income of those millionars are. What if they are the richest 25%. That would certainly be a big deal.

  18. Anonymous - thank you for your post. Yes, that might make some difference. Our biggest problem is that Obama is touting this "millionaires pay a lower tax rate than the middle class" junk... It sways opinions, but it's not scientific nor is it statistically large.

    What if he still told the truth and said what the CRS also found: "0.0909% of middle class families paid greater tax rates than millionaires." How much traction do you think he would gain with that? That's our biggest problem. Additionally, we are focusing on such a small thing, why even bother? 0.0909% Is less than one tenth of one percent.

    Thank you for contributing and we hope to hear more from you. If you like our blog, please tell a friend.

  19. You make a good point in that it is a small percentage, but the fact still remains there exists a percentage that do pay less. When no one is willing to address legislation to curb these loopholes, where do you turn to make up the difference? And when people aren't willing to adjust the loopholes, why do they still block those actions to make up the difference? After reading this piece I started doing some more looking and came across this:

    Why is it that 85% of the wealth in the US is controlled by the top 20% of people (34.6% top 1% and 50.5% from the next 19)? I would be curious as to your interpretation of that data in comparison with this. That .0909% may seem low as a percent, but when compared as a percent of total wealth in the US, that small percent still controls a majority of it.

  20. Zexks - Thank you for your comment. This is exactly what we exist for: thoughtful, civil debate.

    To your first paragraph. Yes, there are some that do pay less. This article argues that while that is true, the touting of this and the headlining of this makes it seem like it is an amount that is much larger that it is. When I hear Obama say "millionaires shouldn't pay a tax rate lower than their secretaries" it sounds like he is implying that it is all millionaires, when, in fact, it's quite few. I absolutely agree that loopholes should be abolished. As it has been written numerous times in this blog, I stand for a completely flat rate tax system with no loopholes and no special treatment for everyone. My fundamental reason: I do not believe that a government that should be equal for all should be discriminating in any way, even when it comes to collecting revenue.

    I read your article about wealth distribution. Let me start by saying I don't care how the wealth in this country is distributed. It sounds cold hearted, but let me put it this way:

    - We are ALL free to make choices. There is no law, rule or regulation about who can an cannot make a choice to better themselves. A pauper can just as well make choices to better him self as his neighbor the plumber as his neighbor the lawyer. Hypothetically, say the United States started at year 2000. If the government said "okay citizens, you're free to make your career choices as you wish. You must stay within these minimal rules we establish, but these rules apply to all, equally." In 2100, if the income/wealth equality was the same as it was today, what would you say? We all had the chance to get there, why should anyone complain? Complaining about wealth inequality is like when a child makes a deal with his parents, loses, and then cries about the negative outcome he experiences. The main point is, we all have the equal opportunity to get there. Once people get there, why should we be upset that they are where they are? What do you propose we do (look at my hypothetical example). If we reach 2100 in my example, and the situation is still the same, do we just forcibly take from the wealthy? Is theft different if it comes by gun or by regulation?

    I believe since we all have the opportunity to choose our paths that part of the problem is actually the government itself. Through social programs (I call them incentive killing programs) our government has given, given, given until the point that people are no longer self sufficient. They are unqualified, and, most importantly, unwilling to work (why would anyone strive for themselves when they are given so much) which ultimately keeps them poor. If the government keeps giving via social programs, the amount of people on those programs keeps increasing because their incentive to do otherwise is being destroyed. I believe that yes, while these programs help in the short term they hurt in the long term by killing incentive (look at the ever expanding population on gov't social programs, look at unemployment in relation to how long unemployment insurance benefits exist). I think if the gov't stopped giving so much while it cut everyone's taxes, we would see people have to get to work. They would have to learn a trade or get an education because they know their sustenance is no longer coming from the gov't. This knowledge, currently, is what I believe contributes most to poverty vs wealth in this country. I don't think it's fair to require the wealthy few to make up for the poor decision making of the many. If social programs MUST exist, the gov't should indiscriminately tax us at the same rate to pay for them.

    Thank you again for your post and information. I hope to hear back from you.