The GOP seems to be in the middle of an identity crisis.  They’re looking to re-brand and re-package their message to motivate the base back to the tent.

The biggest problem, in my mind, is that they haven’t simply had a few bad years – they’ve totally lost their way and no amount of re-packaging and re-branding is going to do much until they get back to basics.

The number one basic they’ve totally lost sight of – LIMITED GOVERNMENT.

Not only have they abandon the very principle, they’ve reached a point where they’re really no better than Democrats when it comes to spending, expanding government and imposing more regulations on individuals lives.  These days the Democrats and Republicans really are no more than two-sides of the same coin, with very little difference at the end of the day in how they actually operate.

Actions speak louder than words.

If you say you’re conservative and want limited government, but then spend like there is no tomorrow, increase the size of government and such – well, your actions betray you – you’re no better than the tax and spend Democrat you’re attempting to win against!  In fact, you’re just a tax-and-spend politician calling yourself a Republican.

The Republicans can try to re-brand – but until they start to frame things based on conservative principles, they won’t get much traction with the populace since they’ve allowed themselves to be sucked in by the idea that the government should be regulating social issues, medical procedures and ideas.  They’ve allowed themselves to come to the belief that the Federal Government should be calling the shots, when the reality is that so much of what’s been going on in Washington should have been left to the states to decide.

Until the Republicans start to frame things in terms of how a particular issue involves government, little is going to change and I won’t be voting Republican.  (I won’t be voting Democrat either)

A good example of what I’m talking about – the stimulus package.  Both Democrats and Republicans started from the point of the stimulus package as being a done deal, the quibble was in the details of just how much money they’d spend and on what it would be spent. 

The Republicans failed to step up and clearly articulate that stimulating the economy was not the job of the Federal government; that if anything, the Federal government should be looking for ways to encourage the private sector to work things out so that the economy could get moving again.  They didn’t do this, instead they simply argued over how much money to spend and where.  They joined the chorus of doomsday, that without the stimulus package, the US would collapse.  They joined the Democrats and worked together to achieve the goal to spend more and expand the government rather than step-up and do their duty to work to limit government.

If the Republicans want to get back on track and get back the base of voters whom are truly conservative – their question for each issue MUST be: 

WHY IS THIS SOMETHING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHOULD DO? 

And then:

WHERE IS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TASKED WITH DOING THIS?

If they can answer the “why” but can’t answer where they’re justified, they need to step back and hold the position that for whatever the issue is, it’s not the business of the Federal government. 

Period.

End of Story.

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The fastest way to help someone understand why torture is unacceptable as a means to an end is this one sentence:

If we believe that tortue works and that we as a nation will engage in torture because it works….well, then we must accept that each and every last one of our enemies in each and every previous war with our country were justified to torture our captured soldiers since we believe it works too.

On this issue, a nation cannot have its cake and eat it too – either you believe that torture is unacceptable and make no exceptions, or you believe it is acceptable and that its use is then acceptable when it’s our soldiers being tortured.

President Obama decided that three pressing issues require attention this year – healthcare, energy and education; curiously, each sector is among the best performers in the current economic climate.

With regard to healthcare, we’re spoon-fed the idea that our healthcare costs are out-of-control, that we have too many uninsured among us, that we spend an astronomical amount compared to other nations ($7,439 per person on average), and that we need to overhaul the entire system to not only deliver healthcare to all but to also reduce costs.

For a while now I’ve been trying my best to fully understand why this is now a centerpiece issue for the new administration. While many are quickly concluding that this is due to Obama looking to socialize medicine in the United States, I think it’s something else.

Something that few are willing to seriously discuss.

Why exactly might the government be pressing so hard to reform healthcare now?

The most compelling reason may be the fact taht while government programs provide coverage to 27.8% of the population, government spending accounts for 45% of all healthcare expenditures in the United States.

Basically the government is in a terrible financial position at the moment, and the situation isn’t getting better, it’s getting worse.

One quick and clever way to fix the problem is to make the issue a crisis for all of us, make it appear we’re all paying too much, getting too little and the government is able to resolve this problem.

And the way they’re going to attempt to resolve this is by sucking healthy people into the government system, to capture dollars that would otherwise be spent in the private sector – where private insurance is held by 67.5% of the population with expenditures toward healthcare costs at about 43% of the total expenditures in the United States and the remaining 12% are out-of-pocket as either co-pays, deductibles and/or those without insurance paying for their medical services.

So here we have:

Government programs – 27.8% of population; 45% of spending
Private insurance – 67.5% of population; 43% of spending
Out-of-pocket – 12% of spending

The government obviously has a problem and despite lowering reimbursements, shifting administration costs to the private sector, increasing compliance requirements for reimbursement and a host of other ways to frustrate the system, it has not, and can not reduce its financial load without healthy individuals contributing toward its ever increasing burden with our aging population.

Some interesting statistics that you won’t find all in one place, but need to go searching to bring the puzzle pieces together for a look at the bigger picture here:

80% of Americans utilize less than $1200 a year in healthcare services
10% of Americans utilize $1200 to $3500 a year in healthcare services
10% of Americans utilize more than $3500 a year in healthcare services

5% of Americans utilize more than 50% of all healthcare costs each year
1% of Americans utilize more than 27% of all healthcare costs each year

In 2007, medicare spent an average $5,694 per beneficiary on healthcare, medicaid spent $6,120 per beneficiary. That’s just “average” though and does not include that medicare spends an average $22,107 per beneficiary in their last year of life or the $14,858 for blind/disabled beneficiaries with medicaid and $14,058 on aged beneficiaries with medicaid in addition to medicare!

Is it any wonder seniors and senior advocacy groups are concerned about how various changes will impact those 65 and older?

As it is right now we have about 40 million seniors in the United States – in ten years it’s projected we’ll have 55 million, and even if we increase the age of eligibility for medicare, the projected 25% increase of eligible seniors is untenable – unless the government can convince us to suck healthy individuals into its system to capture those dollars.

When we begin to look at the even bigger picture – the $5,400 average for an individual health insurance policy and the $12,500 for a family policy, the bucks start to add up very quickly as we realize that if that money is captured by the government, effectively taken out of the private sector, it’ll be a boondoggle for the government financially – especially when you consider that 80% of the population needs less than $1,200 a year in healthcare.

When you do the math, it’s a no-brainer why the government is so hot on reforming healthcare – taking control of the current flow of money that’s within the private health insurance sector, capture those dollars to cover their butts since they’re going to go broke without those dollars and creating a crisis now is an effective way to convince us the entire system is broken and needs fixing.

Could our entire system need some reform? Sure – but it’s certainly not the crisis the government is making it out to be, except for the government programs themselves right now.

In future posts I’ll attempt to tease out changes that can make a difference and delivery better for the American public – and I can say, it’s not through expanding government programs!

And this one is a potential doozy!

As reported in Reuters, some Dems are open to the idea of taxing healthcare insurance benefits, currently paid by employers, as income!

“I think that tax provision should be on the table,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, who will play a major role in writing the legislation to revamp the U.S. healthcare system as promised by President Barack Obama.

“It’s too aggressive. It skews the system,” he said of the tax benefit.

Think about that for a moment. 

Then consider your own situation. 

If your employer currently provides your health insurance, even if you currently contribute something toward the policy premiums through payroll deduction, you do not pay taxes on the cost of your health insurance policy total cost.

Today, the average cost of a policy for an individual runs somewhere in the neighborhood of $5000, and for a family policy an average $12,000. 

The majority of this cost is paid by employers so few employees have any idea how much it really costs for their policy, they just know they’re happy they have coverage, even if they have to contribute toward the premium which is in pre-tax dollars.

If all of a sudden the paradigm changed and now you’re on the hook for paying taxes on that policy, as if the premiums are now part of your taxable income, how does that impact your personal finances and tax burden each year?

Each day it’s looking more and more like the policy makers in Washington are playing a big game of sleight-of-hand with the American taxpayers; as in, no we won’t increase your taxes by way of raising marginal rates falling below the current 33% level, so don’t pay attention to the stealth increases we’re going to hit you with, like cap-and-trade and including your health insurance premiums as taxable income!

As I noted in a post yesterday, a couple with an adjust gross income of $150,000 will not see their income taxes increase.  But what happens when their taxable income now includes a family health insurance policy worth $12,000 a year that’s primarily paid for by one of their employers?

Well, for one thing, today their federal income tax is $25,732 with personal and standard deductions only.

If this type of proposal moves forward and becomes the new standard to calculate income, this same couple now faces a tax increase, taxed on an AGI of $162,000, making their federal income taxes rise to $29,092 – an increase of $3,360 in federal income taxes.

But wait you say – they can deduct medical expenses and medical expenses includes insurance premiums.

Well now, let’s do math.

If their taxable income is $162,000, they can deduct medical expenses which exceeds 7.5% of their AGI – so at this new higher taxable income level, they can only deduct medical expenses exceeding $12,150. 

Ooops, they can’t deduct the cost of premiums that are driving up their tax burden – nope they just have to suck it up and pay, it is, afterall, for the greater good, right?

Most small business owners in the United States structure themselves as a business entity in the simplest way possible – sole proprietor or simple partnership if they have a low liability risk, LLC or subchapter-S Corporation for greater liability protection.

These four main business structures all feature something few are talking about today – the flow-through of all income to the owners personal income and his 1040.

How the proposed budget and other potential changes may affect his budget can and will directly affect those (s)he employs because the bottomline is the owners income.

Let’s set up a hypothetical couple, married, two kids.  The husband is the primary earner since the kids are small and his wife helps with the business, but isn’t an employee.  His business nets him an income of $300,000 a year.  After federal taxes, social security and medicare (which he must pay both sides of, employer and employee) and living in a no state tax state, taking nothing but the standard and personal deductions, takes home $209,181 each year.  Note, he paid out, in various taxes $90,819 of his earnings from his business.

A very respectable take home at the end of a year of hard work – taking home about $17,430 a month.

How will the family situation change, if the proposed changes take effect?

All things remaining the same, except his federal taxes going up, his take home will be reduced to $196,741; stated another way, doing the same exact thing he’s always done, he’ll now have to pay $9,440 more to the government, taking $787 less home each month.

Would your budget be affected if you had to take a $787 hit on your take home money?

Could it get worse for our business owner?

Sure could, especially if the powers that be decide to remove the cap on social security taxes – abolish the limit that currently exists that taxes the first $106,800 of income so that all income is now taxed.

Doing that, on top of the above hike in federal taxes now will take another $23,957 out of his household budget because right now he pays $13,243 for his social security contribution and will, if the cap is removed, then have to pay $37,200 instead.

Now this couple isn’t simply taking a $787 monthly hit on their income for their household, they’re now taking $2783 LESS home each month, with their annual take home reduced to $172,784….or a 28% reduction in his take home, taking his taxes and social security from $90,819 for a year to $127,216!

Now yes, there’ll be naysayers who can’t quite fathom why this is potentially a problem in our economy, they’ll say this couple should pay the higher amount, they can afford it. 

How many out there can truly say, with a straight face, they can easily take a 28% reduction in their take home pay?

If the hypothetical business owner doesn’t figure out how to adjust income to pay less taxes, he and his wife are going to sharply cut spending (they no longer have the same disposable income) and likely will begin to look at whom to layoff in their business since the wife can step in and do that work instead of their paying someone else to do it.

Either way the economy loses – be it through spending less on services and convenience, or by someone getting laid off to make up the $36,397 in additional tax burden the couple will have to face and deal with.

Take $36,397 out of this couple’s disposible income equation and you’re likely to be hitting the service sector – they’ll reduce meals out, salon services, cleaning services, etc. because they have $3,033 LESS to spend on services each month – and it will domino through the economy as each service provider makes less, they’ll need to cut back on their own use of services, and so on and so on.

Just food for thought, especially when you consider that in an interview, Obama told Fox News:

“In terms of raising the cap on the payroll tax, right now everybody who’s making $102,000 or less pays 100 percent of payroll tax on 100 percent of their income. There are about 3 percent to 4 percent of Americans who are above $102,000 in income every year. So if you want to talk about who’s middle class, me giving cuts to folks making $60,000 or $70,000, and potentially asking more from friends of mine like Warren Buffett. That’s a debate I’m happy to have…because it’s the people making $75,000, $50,000, $60,000 who are hurting.”

Over the last week or so much has been debated about Obama’s new budget and his plans for the future, especially his plans for those who find themselves in the upper 5% of income earners in the United States.

I’d like to use this post to set the record straight on something first, we keep hearing that the various changes to the tax code will not affect anyone making less than $250,000 a year.  We hear that 95% of workers will not be affected.  We’re told this must be done to equalize the disparity in income and targeting the “rich” to pay more is fair because they can afford to pay more.

First things first – where you fall for taxes depends on your filing status.  We are told that the two upper tax rates are those that will rise – the current 33% will rise to 36% and the current 35% will rise to 39.6%, all other tax rates will remain the same.

While we keep hearing this magical number of $250,000 a year in earnings – think again, it’s really lower than that number if we look at filing status and when each hits the current 33% and 35% tax rates on earnings. 

To be clear too – this isn’t just your paycheck, it’s your earnings and includes interest earned, dividends, previous tax year refunds from your state or local government, alimony received, etc. on this list of income you list on your 1040 to determine your adjusted gross income.

If you’re single, you’ll hit the 33% tax bracket once your income (including all the goodies above to determine your AGI) hits $175,000; married with no kids, you’ll see yourself hit the 33% tax bracket at $220,000 of income; and if you’re married with two kids, you’ll see the 33% tax bracket when you reach $230,000.

Notice, each of the above are UNDER $250,000 – and they’re all going up! 

So don’t believe the media when they keep singing the $250,000 threshold, it’s bogus and a fairy tale.

Interesting finding for me today – I wanted to understand how it is that those in the upper income brackets aren’t paying their fair share, so I crunched some numbers.

I’m still trying to understand how it’s unfair that, say a married couple with two kids, with an income of $150,000 – who to keep this simple only has the standard deduction and personal deduction – pays $23,963 in federal income taxes, but the married couple making twice as much with two kids pays $71,052 in federal income taxes – or to put it bluntly 2.9-times as much tax rather than twice as much for making twice the income!  That’s somehow not quite fair enough yet?  We have to increase how much is taken from the couple earning $300,000, despite their already paying more than twice as much as the couple earning half what they do?

So now, the powers that be have somehow come to the conclusion that $71,052 isn’t enough, that instead they’ll take $82,023 from the couple making $300,000 to be “fair”? 

I don’t know about you, but taking home $914.25 LESS each month will certainly lead the family with the $300,000 income to figure out how to either live on less OR PAY LESS TAXES because I haven’t even touched on the mortgage deduction being reduced, charitable contribution deductions being reduced, capital gains increased, and the potential that the cap on social security taxes may – it’s being discussed right now – be lifted so all income is affected, not just the first $106,800. 

That last one is going to be the thousanth cut for employers, especially the 23-million small business owners out there that employ greater than 116-million Americans!

We see and hear a lot of reasons presented why we need to adopt a universal healthcare model in the United States.  The most frequently cited is that if we look at other developed nations, they have universal healthcare and spend less of their GDP on healthcare than we do; that if we adopt a model similar to theirs, our healthcare costs will be lowered and the delivery of healthcare will improve.

The Walker Report makes the case using the newly signed stimulus package as a cost comparison:

If we adopt any one of the health care systems used by the dozens of first world nations with universal health care, we would save the equivalent of one stimulus package a year.

The article above even goes so far as opining that if we could only be as efficient as Luxembourg or Finland, our healthcare system would be great…but that might not be an attainable goal, so maybe doing as well as  Germany, France, or Switzerland might be our best goal for now.

One thing I love about the internet is quick access to numbers and statistics.  While GDP serves as one measure, perhaps a better one is actual dollars spent per capita in US dollars?  That way we’re comparing real dollars to real dollars rather than an abstract percentage of gross-domestic-product.

Nation Master is a neat site that lets you define out statistics by category and includes the category “health” for the nations in its database.  When we do a search for across the board “health” and then  “total expenditure in US$” we are returned statistics that reveal that in 2004 (latest data available for all reporting countries) the following was spent, in US-dollars, by each country in the list, sourced from the World Development Indicators Database:

United States:  $6096 per person annually

Luxumborg:  $5904 per person annually

Finland:  $2664.30 per person annually

France:  $3464 per person annually

Germany:  $3521.4 per person annually

Switzerland:  $5571.90 per person annually

I’m left scratching my head about why Luxembourg is considered more efficient when they only spend $194 less per person each year?  I mean Finland is obviously spending less – with only $2664.30 per person each year, that’s $3,431.70 less spent per person each year.

How do they do it?

Well, another interesting statistic can be had on Nation Master – how often a population visits the doctor, and in the United States we average 8.9 consultations with physicians each year per person; in Finland they consult with a doctor just 4.3 times a year per person. 

So in Finland they use their system about half as often as we do across the population, thus spend about half as much as we do.  Interesting.

Are they really “efficient” as Walker Report thinks they are?

If we spend $6096 on average, for each person each year, and they see the doctor 8.9 times on average in a year, then we’re spending an average $684.94 per doctor visit (or whatever encounter you have – ER visit, hospitalization, etc.)….compare this to Finland, spending $2664.30 per year, per person for 4.3 doctor visits each year – or $619.60 per doctor visit…..now it’s only a difference of $65.33 per doctor visit – not significantly different or more efficient than the United States, huh?

Yet we won’t see these numbers in the media, nor will we hear them on the radio – but the numbers and statistics are out there if you want to find them!

No doubt our healthcare system can be improved – but let’s not rely on myths to reform the system. 

We need facts and data to be able to make good decisions, not myths!

The word “profit” comes from the Latin, to make progress. 

Profit is the difference between the price something sells for and the cost of bringing to market whatever is sold, be it a product or service. 

Within the healthcare debate, we’re told profit is bad, it is a dirty word, it must be eliminated from our healthcare system so that we can deliver quality healthcare to all Americans.

The problem is one of semantics; any business endeavor, whether it is classifed as “for-profit” or “non-profit,” must generate enough revenue to meet its financial obligations like operating expenses and salaries. 

In the for-profit business model, revenues that exceed the cost of doing business are “profits”, whereas the same excess in the non-profit sector is termed “surplus”. 

No matter what you call it, it’s the same thing, more money in than money going out. 

The damning of profit however is an extremely effective way to terminate any discussion of alternatives or options to the current system we have because no one from within the healthcare system is going to step up and say “but profits are good” or anything related to money.

It’s manipulation pure and simple – carefully crafted and designed, then repeatedly executed well, by those who wish to keep the focus on establishing a single-payer universal healthcare system in the United States.

How can anyone have a meaningful discussion of the state of our healthcare system if you don’t talk money?

There is indeed much discussion on the demand side of the equation, that is the cost to those who need healthcare and virtually no discussion about the supply side of the equation, the costs to those delivering healthcare.

We absolutely must open the discussion up, take it beyond its cost to patients, and look at all sides if we are going to fix the areas in our healthcare system that need fixing and address the issues that are important to us all – the quality of our healthcare, how and where to better manage costs, and how to reach out to and provide affordable coverage to those uninsured among us.

Share your thoughts on this matter in the comments!

Last night Keith Olbermann railed Mitch McConnell, naming him ‘Worst Person in the World’  for suggesting that

“When our good friends on the other side of the aisle say raising taxes on the wealthy, they really mean small businesses,” in an interview on CNN’s Late Edition.

Here is what Olbermann ranted on about:

“…more importantly, if you own a small business and it pushes your own income over 250-grand and you haven’t incorporated and you haven’t been able to enjoy lower taxes that result and you’re still treating it as your personal income, you better ask to see your accountants diploma because in the vast majority of cases either you or he is crazy.”

Olbermann simply failed to do his homework, and instead relied upon supposed fact checking that wasn’t complete.  Instead, he referred to the statement as “Joe the Plumber crap” and said that checking the facts revealed only 2% of small businesses would be affected. 

If we poke around on the net, we find an article where “facts” were presented to support Olbermann’s opinion, in the CNN article Fact Check: Plumber Joe’s Taxes.  The CNN article isn’t factually incorrect, but it suffers the sin of omission, which is why Olbermann’s rant last night irked me as a small business owner!

In the CNN article, it says that “…[the] broad definition of what counts as a small business, including everyone who files a Schedule C, E and F. ”

“In 2005, there were 21.5 million Schedule C returns filed, according to the IRS.”

Since most Americans have no idea what a Schedule C is, they wouldn’t know that the CNN article fails to include Schedule K filings.  A Schedule C is for Sole Proprietors ONLY, that is, a business owned legally by one and only one person that remains unincorporated.  If you ask me, 21.5-million folks filing a Schedule C is a lot of sole proprietors out there.

But what about Schedule K? 

Schedule K is used to file Partners share of income, deductions, credits, etc. in partnerships, joint ventures, LLC’s and S Corporations – basically anyone doing business not as a full c-Corporation. 

In 2001 there were 23-million Schedule K filed with the IRS.  Taken together with those filing Schedule C, this is now no less than 44.5-million small business owners – a far cry from the CNN articles use of SBA data suggesting that based on the Census there were “6 million small businesses in 2005.” 

The IRS is a far more accurate agency for small business data than the Census Bureau; and the Census data also says that  “a firm is defined as the aggregation of all establishments owned by a parent company” – meaning if a person has a parent company and one or more subsidiary companies at the same time, they’re included as only one company in the data.

So was McConnell making a boldly wild statement when he suggested that “[w]hen our good friends on the other side of the aisle say raising taxes on the wealthy, they really mean small businesses”?

Nope – he’s dead-on…and Olbermann is the one who should have done his homework so he wouldn’t look the fool who knows nothing about small businesses, their owners, and how they have to structure their businesses legally in the United States.

Obviously Olbermann has no clue that doctors, lawyers and others classified as “professional service providers” have little choice but to organize as an LLC or S-Corporation – if they incorporate as a C-Corporation, they’re subject to the highest corporate tax rates because they’re defined as a personal service corporation, not simply a traditional corporation!

Olbermann is oblivious to the fact that it makes little sense for many business owners to go the route of incorporating as a C-Corporation due to the increased reporting required (translation: more time consuming paperwork) by the IRS and the very real double taxation they may face going for a C-Corporation. 

Here’s an idea – perhaps it is Olbermann that needs to sit with an accountant to get some facts before he speaks?

Let me spell it out for Olbermann about corporate taxes!

If a corporation makes between $100,000 and $335,000 – their tax rate is 39% (higher than if the owners kept their business as an sole proprietorship, simple partnership, LLC or S-Corporation).  Next time you hear the likes of Olbermann claiming small business owners are stupid, crazy or poorly structured in business -just remember, if they listen to him, they’ll be paying even more without a tax increase!

If professionals (doctors, lawyers, etc.) incorporate, structuring as a c-Corporation, their tax rate is 35% (higher than if the owners kept their business as a sole proprietorship, simple partnership, LLC or S-Corporation)

The tax rate actually goes DOWN if a business makes more than $335,000 a year – and has profits of less than $15-million….the tax rates for this range is 34-35% (still higher than if the owners kept their businesses as sole proprietorship, simple partnership, LLC or S-Corporation).

Even those corporations earning $15-million to $18.3-million pay less taxes (38%) than those making just $100,000 to $335,000!  Make more than $18.3-million and your taxes drop even more – to 34% (which is still more than if you allow the income to flow through to personal income since you’ll then have double taxation – the tax on the corporate profit and then taxed again when you pay yourself a paycheck from the corporation).

Oh and let’s not forget the Accumulated Earnings Tax – more money to pay on top of the above rates if a corporation has accumulated taxable income in excess of $250,001 ($150,000 for personal service corporations).   Yup – do that and you’ll pay an additional 15% ….. to put it simply, if you have profits of $250,000, Uncle Sam gets 39% first in corporate tax, then another 15% for AET – combined, that’s a tax rate of 54% if a corporation has a profit of just $250,000.

Yo, Keith – when is 54% of your profits less than 33%***? 
***the tax rate a small business owner will pay if they have their income flow through to their personal income taxes via proprietorship, simple partnership, LLC or S-Corporation

Me thinks Olbermann needs to go back to school and learn math, don’t you?

Some will do almost anything to attempt to make it seem like Republicans only promote tax cuts for the “rich”.  Today, TaxProf Blog provided a post, Republican Tax Cuts Skewed Toward Rich, with this graphic:

From TaxProf Blog

From TaxProf Blog

Hmmm…

That sure looks like the proposed Republican tax cuts favor the “rich” doesn’t it?

Wait a minute!  How much money are we talking about for each level of income in the graphic above?

Ah, see TaxProf didn’t bother to provide any context for his readers.  Instead, he’s leaving it up to his readers to figure out what he means by “rich”.

This graphic provides a bit more context:

taxcuts21

So, 94% of all the proposed tax cuts go to those households with $199,999 or less income.

What I find purposely misleading is the category “next 15%” with households between $92,500 and $199,999.  That is the widest gap of income in TaxProf’s graphic.  It’s hard to know how many households are at the $92,500 level versus the $199,999 level since they’re all lumped together, leaving us thinking many are at the higher end of the spectrum.

The US Census actually let’s us know how many households are in each and every income group! 

Of the 15% of households with incomes between $92,500 and $199,999:

  • 16% of households have income between $92,500 – $99,999; this income level is 3% of US households
  • 64% of households have income between $100,000 – $149,999; this income level is 9.9% of US households
    20% of households have income between $150,000 – $249,999; this level of income is 3% of US households

So, 80% of those in the income group TaxProf wants us to believe are “rich”, have a household income that’s between $92,500 to $149,999.

Anyone living in Manhattan, Los Angeles or Miami knows $100,000 to $149,999 ain’t “rich”.