Various blogs claim that CNBC ran a story with the headline that read: Canadian’s Version of David Letterman’s Top 10. CBNC rejects this claim. The account, instead, originally appeared on http://afrafrontpagenews.blogspot.com/2013/07/canadas-top-ten-list-of-americas.html published by a one-man blog that has as its moniker American Family Rights. It is a arm of the one-man, one-state Silent Majority USA with mail collection at P.O. Box 402 Douglass, TX 75943.
The blurb reads: This is Canada’s [sic] Top Ten List of America’s Stupidity.” The secondary rant defines the screed: “Of course we look like idiots …. Because we are.” Here are the inherent lies within this pulp paper:
Number 10 Only in America could politicians talk about the greed of the rich at a $35,000.00 per plate Obama campaign fund-raising event.—This is a lie, as the source claimed it was written by Maureen Dowd of the New York Times—and while Dowd did write about the cost of campaigning, her article was about Hillary Clinton (who is white), and the $35,000 is far exaggerated it is pathetic.1
Number 9 Only in America …could people claim that the government still discriminates against black Americans when they have a black President, a black Attorney General and roughly 20% of the federal workforce is black while only 14% of the population is black 40+% of all federal entitlements goes to black Americans – 3X the rate that go to whites, 5X the rate that go to Hispanics! Another Tea Party lie, as statistics finds that most Democrats (60%) and Republicans (52%) have benefited from a major entitlement program at some point in their lives. So have nearly equal shares of self-identifying conservatives (57%), liberals (53%) and moderates (53%). 45% of the people received nothing. 53% of those who supported Mitt Romney have benefited from a major entitlement program. These “entitlements” include unemployment insurance (27%), social security (26%), Medicaid, Medicare (26%), Public school assistance, food stamps (18%) etc. The survey finds that 16% of those who have not personally received benefits also say a member of their household has gotten help. Taken together, these results indicate that about seven-in-ten households contain at least one member who has benefited at some point in his or her life from an entitlement program. Those who received “entitlements” are rural residents (62%) known as farm relief, urban workers (54%), and suburban dwellers (53%). Those who affirmed a political preference who received “entitlements” were conservatives (57%) compared to liberals (53%).2
Number 8 Only in America…could they have had the two people most responsible for our tax code, Timothy Geithner (former head of the Treasury Department) and Charles Rangel (who once ran the Ways and Means Committee), BOTH turn out to be tax cheats who are in favor of higher taxes. Other Tea Party lies.
Reality shows that Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges is a tax cheat in addition to being a convicted criminal. On Friday the Dayton Daily News originally reported that Borges owed a staggering $493,624 in federal taxes and $98,397 in state taxes.3 Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) , who sits on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. “Why should we give them more tools to harass taxpayers?” and the aligned GOP/Tea Party in the House refused to strengthen IRS power to go after tax cheats or announce the names of any rich GOP contributor.4 In June, the House GOP proposed reducing the IRS’s budget by $341 million.5 They also voted to slash the budget of the IRS’s enforcement division by 25 percent, equal to $1.2 billion. Such steep cuts, the Associated Press’s Andrew Taylor wrote, “would mean fewer audits of taxpayers and make it more likely that people who cheat on their taxes will get away with it.”6
Number 7 Only in America…can they have terrorists kill people in the name of Allah and have the media primarily react by fretting that Muslims might be harmed by the backlash. Another lie first issued by Free Republic then by www.limitstogrowth.org and other far right groups. Statistics show that attacks on Muslims or by Muslims are insignificant, measuring 160 reported occurrences out of a nation of 300 million people.7
Number 6 Only in America…would they make people who want to legally become American citizens wait for years in their home countries and pay tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege, while they discuss letting anyone who sneaks into the country illegally just ‘magically’ become American citizens (probably should be number one). This comes out of rightway.news.com and is false, like all the others. There is no “magical” way to become a citizen either for an illegal (undocumented) or legal (documented) alien. While there are more than 11.1 million undocumented people in the USA, only a few have applied for citizenship afraid that if they come forward they would be deported. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began to accept applications for the deferred action program beginning August 15, 2012.8 Since then, the latest data (through May 31, 2013) shows that 520,000 young immigrants have submitted an application —more than half (55%) of all those estimated to be potentially eligible for the program.9 The Founding Fathers put up no restrictions for citizenship save that each future citizen’s allegiance would be to the USA.10
The notable exception was for Black slaves. Southern states demanded the Three-Fifths Compromise.11 For the founders, Obama’s call to reward people for “playing by the rules” would require rewarding citizenship to continuous residents who have invested their labor and affections in this land, rather than punishing them with fines and lengthy waits for legal status. The Obama administration has strengthened immigration enforcement more than the George W. Bush administration did, reaching most of the goals laid out in a 2007 immigration bill.12 Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan all granted undocumented aliens a chance to work towards statehood by executive order.
NUMBER 5 Only in America….could the people who believe in balancing the budget and sticking by the country’s Constitution be thought of as EXTREMISTS. This comment actually began in 2009, as a critique of balancing the budget in Nevada by laying off government workers—a idea rejected by Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio who said layoffs of state employees should be a “last resort” as Gov. Jim Gibbons and lawmakers sought ways to balance the Nevada budget.13
Democrats have never proposed such an outlandish idea. The idea of balancing the budget by laying off people was a GOP proposal in most state houses as well as the national House of Congress. They were under no threat. Not a one was threatened with an election loss thanks to gerrymandered districts.
In 1936, Representative Harold Knutson (R-MN) proposed the first constitutional amendment to balance the budget (H.J. Res. 579, 74th Cong.). It would have established a per capita limitation on the federal public debt. The biggest percentage of the national budget goes for military spending ($901.8 billion) and national debt ($562.2 billion). Welfare that includes unemployment and food subsidies for poor and ill people received the least consideration and payment. Unemployment compensation was $60.7 billion.14. All welfare spending amount only to 10% of the budget, and of this 90% go the elderly, disabled, and working households with poverty-level incomes.15
Number 4 Only in America…could you need to present a driver’s license to cash a check or buy alcohol, but not to vote. Another Tea Party / GOP lie pushed that is totally wrong. Unexpired drivers licenses are even legal in Wisconsin16, Pennsylvania17 and other states18 where the Tea Party and GOP feverishly worked to suppress the vote and created additional obstacles to ensure a nationwide Koch victory.
Number 3 Only in America…could people demand the government investigate whether oil companies are gouging the public because the price of gas went up when the return on equity invested in a major U.S.
Oil company (Marathon Oil) is less than half of a company making tennis shoes (Nike). The lies grow, as those who first demanded an investigation of Big Oil were conservatives who condemned Obama for doing nothing to stop the rising cost of gasoline.19 This followed the Katina flooding in 2009, when George W. Bush was president.20
Democrats, like Rep. Elijah Cummings (D, Md.), called instead for an investigation of price gouging by drug manufacturers where the cost of drugs rose between seven and 80 times the retail price for certain drugs including generic injectable cancer drugs that would retail for as little as $5 per vial.21
Number 2 Only in America… Could you collect more tax dollars from the people than any nation in recorded history, still spend a Trillion dollars more than it has per year – for total spending of $7-Million PER MINUTE, and complain that it doesn’t have nearly enough money. This is one of the greatest lies by the Tea Party and GOP as the runaway national debt grew its fastest under Ronald Reagan who raised the national debt from $1 trillion to $2.8 trillion, H. W. Bush raised it $1.55 trillion and George W. Bush raised it $6.1 trillion for a wrongful war in Iraq. By 1987, even Ron Paul (who loved the tax-cut part) blurted out: “How is it that the party of balanced budgets, with control of the White House and Senate, accumulated red ink greater than all previous administrations put together?” Obama inherited the problems, plus a recession but has actually effected a lowering of the debt.22
Apprehensively-overwrought, frantically finalizing the fantasy list is prefaced with a dangling conjunction at the beginning of the numeration: And Number 1 Only in America…could the rich people- who pay 86% of all income taxes – be accused of not paying their “fair share” by people who don’t pay any income taxes at all.
This is a Tea Party skewering fact and in keeping with the lies of porcine castrating Joni Ernst of Iowa who grovels openly before the Koch Brothers who gave her “a career” with a vow to end minimum wage and limit a woman’s rights–but was still elected by the sleeping voters of Iowa. Those who do not pay taxes are those who make less than $15,000 a year, or are the Big Banks, Industries, and businesses. Verizon Communications, General Electric (who gave Mitt Romney $53,750), Boeing, NextEra Energy, American Electric Power, Pacific Gas & Electric, Apache (Houston-based oil and gas company), Consolidated Edison, El Paso (Houston-based energy company that operates the country’s largest natural gas pipeline), CenterPoint Energy (Houston-based electric and gas utility), not only did not pay taxes but all qualified for tax refunds.23
CNBC ran a story with the headline “The rich do not pay the most taxes, they pay ALL the taxes. (and early in the story claim that the top wage earners pay 106 percent of the taxes)”.24 The Tea Party ran with this, ignoring later in the CBNC report: “According to the CBO, the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans saw before-tax income grow more than 16 percent from 2009 to 2010, which isn’t such a surprise since the stock market was coming off the bottom.25 Most of the rest of the country only saw gross incomes grow about 1 percent.” The lowest income strata in the USA (the largest group) only earned $8100 in 2010. Only at the end of the article and telecast does CNBC mention that this is income taxes not federal taxes.
The story has thousands of Facebook shares. And its premise is completely false.
The article goes on to present data regarding the federal personal income tax, which is indeed paid almost entirely by people with high incomes. People with low incomes pay negative federal personal income taxes (that is, the government sends them checks) because of the earned income tax credit (EIC).
But “taxes” are not the same thing as “federal personal income taxes.” The federal personal income tax only made up 28% of all U.S. government tax collections in 2012. Federal, state and local governments collected $4 trillion in taxes last year; just $1.1 trillion of that was federal personal income tax.
People with low incomes who don’t pay federal personal income tax do pay many of those other taxes: payroll tax, state income tax, sales tax, property tax, excise taxes, and more. They pay other taxes indirectly: Workers bear the burden of employer-paid payroll taxes and part of the burden of corporate income taxes.
This chart shows the distribution of the tax burden when you add all the taxes together. Earners in the top 1% pay about 43% of their incomes in tax. People who are in the middle quintile pay 25%. The poorest fifth pays 13%.
Data from Tax Policy Center and Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy
Deception and deceit ingrained in bloggers for the rich exaggerate what wealthy people pay. While it is true that rich people do pay a lot more taxes than poor people, both in absolute terms and as a percentage of income, this is only a part of the bigger picture: America’s Rich are not paying all the taxes. This can be seen looking just at the federal personal income tax. To do that gives wrong answers, however, as it does not tell what other taxes are paid.
While it’s true that rich people pay most federal personal income taxes, to get to CNBC’s claim that they pay “all” federal personal income taxes, you must use a really expansive definition of “rich.” This is an overly simplistic definition and judgment that is not borne out by hard statistics. The statistics are found with the Congressional Budget Office that few conservatives bother to consult. During the 2014 election it was far easier to make up gee-whiz statistics and play on the fear and loathing of the electorate with barely veiled aspersions against Obama that was the heart-beat of the Tea Party and GOP. Voters were discouraged and did not vote, sealing for them their slide backward into poverty while the gap between rich and poor grew greater and more devastating.26
The Congressional Budget Office finds that payments by the top 40% of the income distribution exceed the total of all net federal income tax collections. This is because many poor people have negative federal income tax bills. The current definition of who is a part of the “rich class” is a conglomeration of data and people. The top 40% group includes single people with incomes as low as $51,100 and couples with incomes of $72,300. By 2014 standards, these people are at best in the disappearing middle class. Those making between $51,100 and $72,300 aren’t poor but they are not rich like the Walton family (Wal-Mart), Koch Brothers, Romneys, etc. who do not pay all the taxes or even their fair share of taxes in the USA.27 Most, like Romney, report a minor portion so that their tax liability is equal to that of a person working for minimum wage while in fact they are able to buy multiple million dollar homes, or like the Koch Brothers spent more than $100 million dollars to buy an election, as occurred in 2014.28 Through shadow-hidden subsidiary groups, the Koch Brothers spent more than $290 million dollars to buy the election of Ernst in Iowa with her argument against minimum wage and promise to lower it, David Perdue in Georgia despite the fact that he bragged about outsourcing Georgia jobs and kept Georgia salaries low, and others while retaining governorships of the most corrupt who delight in outsourcing jobs, destroying small businesses, and attempting to turn the clock back to the nineteenth century.29
- http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/29/opinion/29dowd.html?_r=0. ↩
- http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2012/12/18/a-bipartisan-nation-of-beneficiaries/. ↩
- http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/gop-official-owes-592k-in-back-taxes/nXKH5/. ↩
- http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/irs-republicans-109423.html#ixzz3JzytZiuY/ ↩
- http://thehill.com/policy/finance/209606-house-gop-targets-irs-for-more-budget-cuts. ↩
- http://bigstory.ap.org/article/house-gop-slashes-irs-tax-enforcement-budget. Cp. http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/irs-republicans-109423.html ↩
- http://www.publiusforum.com/2013/04/19/boston-globe-frets-over-citys-muslims-after-marathon-bombing. ↩
- http://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/consideration-deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-daca. ↩
- http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/06/27/if-they-could-how-many-unauthorized-immigrants-would-become-u-s-citizens/. ↩
- http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/should-illegal-immigrants-become-citizens-lets-ask-the-founding-fathers/2013/02/01/ec3cca66-6bba-11e2-bd36-c0fe61a205f6_story.html. ↩
- Cf. Finkelman, Paul (2013). “How The Proslavery Constitution Led To The Civil War”, Rutgers Law Journal Volume 43 Fall/Winter 2013 Number 3, p. 405. ↩
- http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/01/29/the-2007-immigration-bill-set-border-security-targets-weve-hit-most-of-them/. ↩
- http://www.nevadanewsbureau.com/2009/12/09/raggio-says-state-emp-layoffs-should-be-last-resort/#sthash.9BawD2gD.dpuf. ↩
- Fed. Budget: Hist. Tables 3.2, 5.1, 7.1/ ↩
- http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3677. ↩
- http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/drivers/forms/mv3004.pdf. ↩
- http://newsitem.com/opinion/letters/you-don-t-need-your-driver-s-license-to-vote-1.1396201. ↩
- http://www.tn.gov/sos/election/photoIDFAQs.htm. Cf. http://www.texas.gov/en/discover/Pages/voting.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1. http://www.dmv.org/voter-registration.php. ↩
- http://www.conservativeactionalerts.com/2011/03/obama-ignores-gas-price-gouging/. ↩
- http://www.dragsource.com/index.php?navselect=newsflash&flash=11. ↩
- http://www.amednews.com/article/20111014/government/310149997/8/. ↩
- http://zfacts.com/p/318.html. ↩
- http://www.opensecrets.org/ and http://www.ctj.org/pdf/notax2012.pdf. ↩
- http://www.cnbc.com/id/101264757, citing the Congressional Budget Office report table 3, on page 13 based on 2010 IRS and Census Bureau figures. ↩
- http://www.cnbc.com/id/101264605. ↩
- http://www.cctv-america.com/2014/10/30/growing-gap-between-rich-and-poor-could-influence-midterm-elections. Cf. http://www.aljazeera.com/video/americas/2014/01/gap-between-us-rich-poor-growing-201418181222378555.html. ↩
- http://www.businessinsider.com/no-the-rich-do-not-pay-all-the-taxes-2013-12#ixzz3Jx7pWARn. ↩
- http://www.nationaljournal.com/politics/the-koch-network-spent-100-million-this-election-cycle-20141104. ↩
- http://patch.com/georgia/dacula/georgia-election-results-2014-us-senate-race-0. ↩