In Obama's newest campaign ad, he goes right after Mitt Romney and his tax rate. First,... why??? What in the world does this have to do with anything? Does Obama really think the American people are that stupid? Let's get some things straight:
- Mitt Romney has done NOTHING illegal. Nothing.
- Mitt Romney has paid every bit of taxes required of him.
- Mitt Romney has paid more in taxes in one year than an average American would pay in 448 years of work.
- Mitt Romney DID pay a higher tax rate than most Americans - I will address this specifically.
- And probably the most important point: President Obama did the EXACT same legal maneuvers Mitt Romney did to reduce his tax liability - Of course, this will be addressed.
So let me see if I understand this: President Obama puts out the ad above. It uses creepy music and words like "probably" to make a claim about a guy who has done nothing wrong, while lying about the tax rates of all Americans and participating in the exact same legal tax liability reduction games Mitt Romney has participated in????
Yes, Obama truly does think Americans are that stupid. Allow me to elaborate.
First, with regards to the "Mitt Romney probably paid a lower tax rate than you" claim, did you notice the most important word? Of course, it's "probably." Why does Team Obama use that specific word? One simple phrase answers this question: plausible deniability. Why didn't Obama just say "Mitt Romney paid a lower tax rate than you?" Because Obama knows this is absolute baloney. They can twist their claim any way they want... IF the American people question it. Team Obama hopes and knows they won't. But using the word "probably" is like an insurance policy, just in case a fire storm does hit.
To understand this overall picture, I submit to you: when you're putting out a claim to the country as a whole (the "you" part), you're implying that > 50% of people fall in to the category. You can't claim "you" if it's one in 100 people. So yes, when Obama claims, "Mitt Romney probably paid a lower tax rate than you," he is implying Mitt Romney paid a lower tax rate than most people. Hmmm. I want to briefly return to Obama's previous claim about the wealthy's tax rates to help us understand this. Back in March, I investigated the ridiculous claim about "millionaires' and billionaires'" tax rates.
What does the data show? It clearly says that yes, IRS data confirmed that "millionaires and billionaires" do not pay lower tax rates than the middle class. For those claiming "well, this doesn't include payroll taxes..." False. It does. This is total tax receipts. When a tax filer submits his/her tax return, the key numbers the IRS takes into account for this data is total income and total taxes paid. It doesn't breakdown or remove payroll taxes.
Now that the first Obama tax lie is debunked, Obama is taking his lie a step further and claiming Mitt Romney pays a lower tax rate than the most Americans (again, this is irrelevant, and the creepy music and negative images in the ad paint a strong image of Mitt Romney being a bad guy though he did nothing wrong). Of course, I wanted to look at some real IRS data again.
I did this using data found on this IRS website: http://www.irs.gov/taxstats/productsandpubs/article/0,,id=130681,00.html - Here is the specific IRS tax data report: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/12inwinbulratesshare.pdf
Let's take a look. First, and this is a quick side note... we constantly hear the claim, 47% of Americans pay no taxes. Well, the opening line of the IRS data says the following:
- "Taxpayers filed 140.5 million individual income tax returns for Tax Year 2009. Of those, 81.9 million (or 58.3 percent) were classified as taxable returns. This represents the lowest percentage of taxable returns in more than 24 years. A taxable return is a return that has total income tax greater than $0."
What?! That means, if we assume the US has about 310,000,000 people, that yes, about 45-47% didn't even file tax returns (this is given as a range because the number could be different due to joint tax returns), but there is an even more important stat here: 81,900,000 of those paid taxes. So out of 310,000,000 people, only 26.4% had income tax to pay? How can this country be sustained when nearly 3 out of ever 4 people doesn't even pay income tax? Perhaps the argument is, "73% of Americans pay no income tax, if you add payroll taxes (Social Security and Medicare taxes) in, 47% still pay nothing? Hmmm.
Anyway, the glaring charts that stand out in the IRS data are Figures B and B1. Take a look:
(Click on image to zoom in)
What do you notice? Ahhh yes... truth and fact. This shows the average tax rates of the 81.9 million who DID pay taxes. Yes, this means that the people who did not pay taxes have had their figures removed, no longer bringing down the average. So out of all remaining taxpayers, for example, the average American making $30,000 - $50,000 per year paid a final tax rate (again, notice total income tax), of 6.4%.
Now lets look at ALL TAX FILERS- including those who actually did file a tax return and didn't pay any tax (about 41.7% of all tax filers). Check it out:
(Click on image to zoom in)
So... what did we find? Factoring in ALL TAX FILERS, the average American making $30,000 - $50,000 per year (this chart shows ALL income earners), paid a final tax rate of 2.9%. Did you notice anything else? Yes, many people get more in a tax refund than they paid in total income tax. These people essentially receive tax payments from the government.
Why did I highlight the $30,000 - $50,000 income range? Well, though this data is slightly outdated, the average American earns about $40,000 each year (it's safe to assume this hasn't changed drastically since): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_income_in_the_United_States. To me, that's the standard. If you claim, "Mitt Romney probably paid a lower tax rate than you," I respond with an question of, "what did the average income earner pay?" Since the average American did not pay anything close to the rate that Mitt Romney did, how can this claim by team Obama be anything but a lie?
The last issue I wanted to address was the 5th point I made above. It read, "And probably the most important point: President Obama did the EXACT same legal maneuvers Mitt Romney did to reduce his tax liability - Of course, this will be addressed."
What am I talking about? Well, in Obama's rhetoric, he hammers home the point of Mitt Romney paying a lower tax rate than most Americans (again, a lie), and that Mitt Romney pays a lower tax rate than he should. But how in the world does Mitt Romney do this? We have often heard from liberal pundits that the wealthy have tons of "loopholes" (they love that word) and "write-offs" and "deductions" not available to many middle class Americans. Yes, they do. But us middle class folks have some of these luxuries, too. I write off my mortgage interest, for example, and yes, that reduces my tax rate substantially. But that's not the point.
The main point is this: the left vilifies Mitt Romney, with an almost "how dare he" approach, for using 100% legal methods and tax rules to reduce his taxable income. I counter to the left: why are you not vilifying President Obama, too? Let me make this clear: Obama does EXACTLY what Mitt Romney does when it comes to reducing taxable income in order to pay a lower overall tax rate. Does the left call this out on Obama? Nope. Do I smell a double standard? Ohhhhhh yes.
If you don't believe me, fine. But don't take my word. As a good conservative blogger, I back what I say. Take a look at President Obama's 2010 tax return: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/rss_viewer/POTUS_taxes.pdf
Start by focusing your attention to page 1, line 22 - Total Income: $1,795,694 (and oh yeah, he is in the 1% the left love so much to hate).
Next, look at adjusted gross income (AGI), line 37 at the bottom of the page: $1,726,096. What's that?! He reduced his income by 1.69x the average American yearly income. Don't worry; there's more.
Go to the second page, near the top. Line 40 - Itemized deductions: $373,289. Holy cow! You mean Obama has used the current tax code, just as Mitt Romney has, to reduce his taxable income.
Line 43 shows the "smoking gun" - Taxable income: $1,340,247. Ta-da! President Obama has reduced his taxable income from the original $1,795,694 to $1,340,247, or by 25.4%!!!
But wait... it's gets better. Let's take a look at Mitt Romney's 2010 tax return, and I can make this quick: http://thorndike.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Romney1040-2010.pdf
Page 1, line 22 - Total Income: $21,661,334
Page 2 (it's further in the document) Line 43, Taxable income: $17,120,067
To make sure we are comparing apples to apples, this means Mitt Romney reduced his taxable income by $4,541,267 or only 21%!!!
So when it comes to who is the biggest player of the US tax game... who reduces their income by more, who skirts the system by using these "loopholes," "write-offs," and "deductions," not only is President Obama playing the same game... he plays it MORE.
In conclusion, if this isn't a double standard, I don't know what is. To make the accusation against Romney while playing the same game in a larger way, to me, is truly disgusting. I hope this gets passed on; I firmly believe that Americans need to see this.