In addition to the “debate” on the federal level about the wealthiest Americans and corporations getting a free ride off We the People while just about everyone else is sacrificing what little they have left, there are three huge lies that seem to stick around way longer than they should about Americans and taxes. I’ll put all three to bed right now with three simple facts:
- Tax cuts for the rich are job killers (as evidenced by these links);
- Many lower income families pay a lot of tax; and
- The rich pay a lower percentage of their income in state taxes (at least here in NJ but also in many states) than everyone else.
It is these last two items that have really been in the forefront lately and a lot is based on the completely farcical selective focus on personal income tax. The excuses and “proof” is laughable – that more money is paid by the top 5% (duh, they have 90% of the total income and wealth), that lower income Americans don’t pay federal or state income tax or whatever else. But of course, that doesn’t take into account the following:
- Property tax
- Social Security tax
- Medicare tax
- Sales tax
- Cigarette tax
- Hotel tax
- Non “tax” taxes such as tolls, ATM fees, parking or meter fees, etc.
Even taking the last few out of the mix, a recent 50 state study showed that in almost all states, the top 1% and 5% pay a lower share of their income in taxes, and the lowest 20% paid a substantially higher percentage of income in overall taxes – even when the income taxes are taken out of the equation.
Here in NJ, just taking sales, property and income taxes, the lowest 20% pay almost 11% of their income in state tax, while the top 1% (with an average 2007 income in excess of $2,250,000) paid under 7.5% of their income in state taxes. This is the lowest of any bracket (lowest 20%, next 20%, next 20%, next 20%, next 15%, next 4%, top 1%) and substantially lower than nearly all of the other brackets.
Couple this with the debunked lie that Governor Christie and his right wing ilk like to repeat about taxes and the little to no impact they have on people leaving a state, and you have those poor mistreated, misunderstood and unfairly picked on super rich crying about stuff that is a steaming pile of thousand dollar bills lining their pockets at the rest of our expense.