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Video: White House Buffett Rule fuzzy math

Posted: April 21, 2012 at 9:15 am   /   by

One of the big reasons the left hates FOX News is because FOX catches them fudging, stuff that CNN, MSNBC, and others would not report at all. Stuff that Katie Couric would immolate herself before talking about.



Video description:

“With the executive system we didn’t come up with 16%, we got 7%. And when we look at the teacher and the cop, we couldn’t get 19%, we got 10% and finally when we got to our doctor not 23…16%. And if you will notice, that looks like tax fairness.

7,10,16,18. More income you have, higher your tax rate.”

“The will get out hundreds of thousands of dollars more in benefits spent in social security and medicare than they ever pay in taxes”


Ed Morrissey has some insights:

Why shouldn’t the FICA taxes be counted?  Those funds go to the government-mandated retirement accounts and health-insurance coverages whose benefits and payouts are capped.  Because the government (and both political parties) are determined to maintain the pretense that Social Security and Medicare are not welfare programs, the contributions are linked to the capped payouts, which means that any income over a certain level becomes exempt from FICA taxes.  The explanation is that the wealthiest Americans are entitled to no more than the capped benefit amounts, so forcing them to pay over the capped contribution amounts would transform these programs into wealth-redistribution welfare programs.

Whether you buy that nonsense or not, that’s the way the program is structured.  Its progressivism is built into the distribution of benefits, not the seizure of capital, as in the income tax system.  That’s why the White House argument is equally nonsensical.  If the issue is that FICA contributions are capped, then raise or eliminate the caps, and deal with the political fallout of making Social Security and Medicare explicitly welfare systems.  The income tax system is already sufficiently progressive — in fact, it’s overly progressive, considering that around 40% of Americans don’t pay anything at all.

You’ll excuse me if I go all deontological on things, but NONE of this is tax fairness. You know what might start to approach tax fairness?

10%     10%     10%     10%

Or a 30% consumption tax on all retail items (except food, perhaps).

Or anything else that treats all citizens equally.

Tax fairness is everyone paying the same rate. Progressive taxation in any form may make for good politics, and it may allow politicians to gin up envy among the roiling masses (at the expense of the much smaller block of voters who are wealthy), but it is not “fairness.” Fairness is an equal burden for all.

If you want to say that progressivity is desirable, okay, let’s have that discussion. But calling it “fairness” is Orwellian.

Christopher Cook

Christopher Cook

Managing Editor at Western Free Press
Christopher Cook is a writer, editor, and political commentator. He is the president of Castleraine, Inc., a consulting firm providing a diverse array of services to corporate, public policy, and not-for-profit clients.

Ardently devoted to the cause of human freedom, he has worked at the confluence of politics, activism, and public policy for more than a decade. He co-wrote a ten-part series of video shorts on economics, and has film credits as a researcher on 11 political documentaries, including Citizens United's notorious film on Hillary Clinton that became the subject of a landmark Supreme Court decision. He is the founder of several activist endeavors, including (now a part of Western Free Press) and He is currently the managing editor of and principal contributor to
Christopher Cook

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Video: White House Buffett Rule fuzzy math