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Kirkpatrick, Baldenegro suffer from knowledge gap on taxes

Posted: August 27, 2012 at 6:23 am   /   by

The tale told in CD1 Dems look to up taxes on rich is an all-too-familiar one:

The circumstances differ, but both Democrats running for Congress in the district that includes the Flagstaff region would raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires, in some cases to avoid deep federal cuts. [ . . . ]

Flagstaff attorney Wenona Benally Baldenegro would support ending Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy, raising corporate taxes, and closing tax loopholes to resolve a standoff over the debt ceiling. [ . . . ]

Flagstaff attorney and former U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick would support “ensuring that millionaires, billionaires and corporations pay their fair share” to keep Social Security solvent and Medicare operating at today’s levels.

Other than Baldenegro’s position regarding closing tax loopholes, which may make sense depending on what loopholes she’s referring to, the rest of this is crazy-talk. Unfortunately, this kind of crazy-talk is spoken by virtually everyone on the left. Here are some basic facts.

We already have the most progressive income tax in the world:

To hear the class warfare rhetoric, you would think that the rich in this country are getting away with a terrible crime. In fact, the rich in this country are bearing a massively disproportionate share of the income tax burden already.

Here’a a helpful way to look at it:

Wealthier Americans are bearing a greater share than ever before:

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It’s not just the “rich” who are already paying more than their fair share, it’s also the middle class. Not just income taxes . . . ALL taxes.

Americans Making Over $50,000 a Year Paid 93.3 Percent of All Taxes in 2010

Americans making over $50,000 paid most of the federal taxes that were paid in the U.S. in 2010.

According to statistics compiled from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by the Tax Foundation, those people making above $50,000 had an effective tax rate of 14.1 percent, and carried 93.3 percent of the total tax burden.

If you’re in the middle class, government is taking half your money

Forget the rich—this is the middle class we’re talking about:

A middle-class taxpayer’s income is subject to a 25 percent federal income tax. Then there is the federal Social Security and Medicare payroll tax of 13.3 percent in 2012—5.65 percent of that is removed from the employee’s paycheck, and the remaining 7.65 percent is paid by the employer. (In reality, the employee pays the entire 13.3 percent, because the employer’s portion of the tax does not affect the cost of labor: The employer would pay the employee 7.65 percent more if there were no employer’s portion of the payroll tax.)

So the 25 percent federal income tax plus 13.3 Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes equals 38.3 percent going to federal taxes in 2012.

And then there are state taxes. According to the Tax Foundation, the average state’s income tax rate . . .

Taxing the rich more heavily will only pay for a few days of government. Even confiscating all their money won’t solve our problem


And finally . . .

We also have the highest corporate tax in the world


These are not opinions; these are mathematical facts.

  • The rich already pay a massively disproportionate share, one of the highest in the world.
  • Our businesses pay the highest corporate tax in the world.
  • The amount of revenue increase from raising the taxes on these groups even further will only be a drop in the bucket of what we are spending. It will pay for somewhere between a few hours and a few days of government spending.

Contrary to Kirkpatrick and Baldenegro’s absurd assertions, making the “rich pay their fair share” will not save Medicare and Social Security. It will not even make a dent in Medicare and Social Security.

To assert otherwise is to display one of three characteristics:

  • Ignorance
  • Extreme Dishonesty
  • Some form of brain damage that precludes rational analysis

There is no fourth choice.

Vote carefully.

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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Kirkpatrick, Baldenegro suffer from knowledge gap on taxes