Dialog with a Republican.

October 11, 2010 | By | 16 Replies More

My neighbor, B, is a progressive republican and a tax partner in a large CPA firm. We had a conversation…

“Obama needs to go”, said B.

Why? He’s doing pretty well considering the mess he inherited!

“Because all he wants to do is raise taxes! If we don’t get control [of congress and senate] my taxes will go up by almost 20%. I already pay almost half my income in taxes: income, property, FICA and the rest”

What? How do you get a 20% increase?

“FICA – is capped at about 100k. As a partner, I pay FICA at 15%. Lose that cap and my taxes go up immediately by 15%. The top rate of income tax is set to climb to 39%, which is an extra 3%. And there are a bunch of others, too”

No — that’s just wrong. Even assuming that happens… an example, if you earned $200k your effective FICA rate would be 7.5% on that $200k, right? So even without a cap, your effective FICA rate will never be greater than 15%. If you earn $200k, that means an increase of 7.5%, not 15%!

“OK! But that wouldn’t be a 7.5% increase if I earned 300k or 400k or 500k. It would be much greater than 7.5%”

B, Sure it would, but if you earn $500k and can’t absorb that kind of increase I’d advise you to start looking for a new tax accountant! LOL

“Well ok! But do you think it’s fair that 60% of the people in this country don’t pay any taxes?”

Where did you get that number? Do you think it’s right that the US has such a large population of poor people they fall under the threshold for federal taxes?

“Most of those people aren’t poor!”

But all of them pay taxes. You included property taxes in your 50%. I assume you included sales taxes, 7% for most everything here in GA? Then those people who pay nothing are paying way more in effective taxes than you – for food and energy and shelter

“So OK — but where’s my incentive for working harder, and producing more? Right now about half my income is going out in taxes. If Obama gets his way it’ll be closer to 60 or 70%, and maybe even higher.”

So what should the administration do? We have a decade of debt resulting from two useless wars, spiraling health care costs that costs real money in terms of lost productivity, and a crumbling infrastructure that no-one wants to pay for! What services would you cut to avoid balancing the budget

“I never agreed with the wars. Obama said he would get us out of Iraq in 16 months. We’re still there”

So, the counsel of the military on the ground shouldn’t hold any sway? B, you know that just because we define a strategy, the actual plan and outcome often bear little relation to it other than direction. I think it was dumb of Obama to campaign on a hard number – especially with senior military advisors making such great careers out of these wars. McChrystal & Petreus wouldn’t let him commit to anything that would make their management look bad – such as making too rapid an exit.

“That’s just stupid! You think the CinC can’t just fire a general who doesn’t do what he wants? He got rid of McChrystal fast enough when he was quoted in playboy [rolling stone]”

Actually, no. Maybe if you are the kind of authoritarian asshole who shoots from the hip and just tells other people what to do… but Obama is too damn conciliatory. He needs consensus – he’s not going to buck “the experts”, unless they do something really dumb. We do have an exit strategy, at least — although it ‘s too damn slow for my liking

At this point our conversation was interrupted for cake. Always a good reason to stop talking politics.

I was very interested, however. My friend is progressive on pretty much most social issues, but with a major blindspot regarding taxes. He also seems to have swallowed the kool-aid in capsule form regarding Obama the Anti-Christ.

I had a couple of insights from this.

  • Facts don’t matter, even to smart people who live and breathe facts every day! (60% of people don’t pay taxes, is a much stronger right-wing meme than the underlying facts: that 40% of the population are officially poor, and 80% earn less in real terms than they did a decade ago)
  • Obama is an emotional issue – Republican leaders hate him for reaching out, so they must demonize him even more. Unfortunately if you spend your life immersed in the right-wing echo-chamber (as B, at a large CPA firm does) the limbic brain gets triggered much more frequently, and Obama is now simply synonymous with bad (progressives followed a similar policy wrt Bush2, but without a media lapdog [Faux Noise] their message was never quite so viscerally successful)
  • Not all republicans are mouth-breathing wingnuts… but they are all willing to use those wingnuts to gain control of government.
  • Next time someone tells me how much they’re paying in taxes – just send them to this conversation.

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Category: American Culture, Communication, Politics

About the Author ()

I’m a technophile with an enduring interest in almost anything real or imagined. I suffer fools badly, and love trashy science fiction, plot-free action movies, playing guitar, and baking (especially scones. You haven’t lived ’til you’ve eaten my scones. I’ve recently undertaken bread, and am now in danger of gaining in a matter of weeks the 60 pounds I’ve lost in the past 2 years). My wife & I are Scottish, living north of Atlanta, GA, with two children, one dog, and a growing collection of gadgets. I work for a living.

Comments (16)

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  1. Under Clinton, a tax cut went into effect. I had a conversation with my parents around that time and my dad declared that all our taxes went up. "Mine didn't," I said. "I got a tax break." He looked at me as though I'd just puked on the table. "How'd that happen?" he asked. "I don't make as much as you do," I said. And it finally sank in that most of the people in the U.S. probably didn't make as much as he did.

    Taxes are a hot button because (a) no one really wants to pay them and (b) a lot of people don't like where their taxes seem to go.

    A third factor for many Republicans (and more so for Tea Baggers) is the fact that many of them are in the "Let's starve the Beast" camp of political thinking. They want the federal government gone. Period. Bankrupting it looks like the only way to really do it. They're angry with Obama for trying to make the federal government appear relevant again.

    That most of the "facts" upon which they base their arguments are bogus makes no difference—the end they have in mind is smaller federal government, so explaining that they're wrong about these things only drives them back to basic principles. So what if I'm wrong, the federal government is still there!

    What they would actually do if they got their wish is beyond me. Most of them would be just as if not more unhappy than they are now. But some of them would be delighted—they could ignore civil rights again, they could empower their local police to drop Miranda, and they could dump sewage wherever they want to without someone fining them and making them pick up their mess. Return this country to the good ol' days when minorities stayed in their place, criminals were scared of the police, and a man could pee off his back porch any time he wanted to. Oh, yeah, and women wouldn't compete for jobs no more. Wouldn't be none o' this feminism nonsense without the federal government.

    Oh, yes. Wonderful days.

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    There you go again, Tony, trying to fight over-generalizations with facts. That is so LAST century.

  3. Erich Vieth says:

    Mark: Lots to remind ourselves about "the good old days." For instance, we freely scape-goated minority groups. And gay people didn't exist. And wealthy media gate-keepers didn't need to concern themselves with dissenters on the internet. The good old days.

  4. Edgar Montrose says:

    A few years ago my father forwarded a conservative SPAM email message to me, and to several of his friends. It was the typical "big government is evil" monologue, and said, among other things,

    "Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, and our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids. What happened? Can you spell 'politicians!'".

    My response, which I sent to all recipients, and which was never answered by any of them, was:

    "Things were better 100 years ago? Which of the following are you willing to give up to go back to that venerable era?

    Child Labor:

    1916 New federal law sanctions state violators First federal child labor law prohibits movement of goods across state lines if minimum age laws are violated (law in effect only until 1918, when it’s declared unconstitutional, then revised, passed, and declared unconstitutional again)

    1924 First attempt to gain federal regulation fails Congress passes a constitutional amendment giving the federal government authority to regulate child labor, but too few states ratify it and it never takes effect

    1936 Federal purchasing law passes Walsh-Healey Act states U.S. government will not purchase goods made by underage children

    1937 Second attempt to gain federal regulation fails

    Second attempt to ratify constitutional amendment giving federal government authority to regulate child labor falls just short of getting necessary votes

    1937 New federal law sanctions growers

    Sugar Act makes sugar beet growers ineligible for benefit payments if they violate state minimum age and hours of work standards

    1938 Federal regulation of child labor achieved in Fair Labor Standards Act

    For the first time, minimum ages of employment and hours of work for children are regulated by federal law

    Workplace Safety:

    In 1911, a professional, technical organization responsible for developing safety codes for boilers and elevators, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) was founded.

    1911-1915, During this five-year period, 30 states passed workers' compensation laws.

    In 1911, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) was founded.

    The ASSE was dedicated to the development of accident prevention techniques, and to the advancement of safety engineering as a profession.

    In 1912, a group of engineers representing insurance companies, industry, and government met in Milwaukee to exchange data on accident prevention. The organization formed at this meeting was to become the National Safety Council (NSC). (Today, the NSC carries on major safety campaigns for the general public, as well as assists industry in the development of safety promotion programs.)

    In 1916, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of state workers' compensation laws.

    In 1918, the American Standards Association was founded. Responsible for the development of many voluntary safety standards, some of which are referenced into laws, today, it is now called the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

    In 1936, Frances Perkins, Secretary of Labor, called for a federal occupational safety and health law. This action came a full 58 years after organized labor's first recorded request for a law of this nature.

    In 1936, the Walsh-Healey (Public Contracts) Act passed. This law required that all federal contracts be fulfilled in a healthful and safe working environment.

    By 1948, all states (48 at the time) now had workers' compensation laws.

    In 1952, Coal Mine Safety Act (CMSA) was passed into law.

    In 1960, specific safety standards were promulgated for the Walsh-Healey Act.

    In 1966, the Metal and Nonmetallic Mines Safety Act (MNMSA) was passed.

    In 1966, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and its sections, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), were established.

    In 1968, President Lyndon Johnson called for a federal occupational safety and health law.

    In 1969, the Construction Safety Act (CSA) was passed.

    In 1969, the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) was established. This organization certifies practitioners in the safety profession.

    In 1970, President Richard Nixon signed into law the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHAct), thus creating the OSHA administration and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

    Food and Drug Wholesomeness:

    BAI's Inspection Responsibilities

    USDA's Bureau of Chemistry was assigned with the task of enforcing the 1906 Food and Drug Act and the administration of the 1906 Meat Inspection Act was assigned to the Inspection Division of the BAI. BAI's meat inspection responsibilities grew tremendously. Many federal agencies requested BAI's inspection, including: Navy (1907), Bureau of Indian Affairs (1916), The Army (1917), The Marine Corps (1919), The Veterans Bureau (1927). Starting in 1912, BAI also inspected eggs for the Navy, long before USDA inspected them for the market and the public.

    How did FDA originate?

    In 1927, USDA's Bureau of Chemistry, which enforced the 1906 Food and Drug Act, was reorganized, and it became the Food, Drug, and Insecticide Administration. It was renamed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1931. In 1940, the FDA was transferred from USDA to the Federal Security Agency, which became in 1953, the Department of Health, Education, and

    Welfare — now the Department of Health and Human Services.

    Sweeping Changes in the Industry

    Following World War II, the processing industry changed significantly. The rapid growth of the federal highway system and the development of refrigerated trucks allowed packinghouses to move out of expensive urban areas. Competition in the meatpacking business led to the building of sophisticated, mechanized plants in less expensive rural areas.

    Government Responds to Changes

    The Eisenhower Administration inaugurated sweeping organizational changes at USDA in 1953. Scientific bureaus, including BAI and the Bureau of Dairy Industry, were abolished and their functions were transferred to the newly established Agriculture Research Service (ARS).

    Poultry Inspection

    Following World War II, there was explosive growth in the poultry industry. Congress passed the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) in 1957 in response to the rapidly expanding market for dressed, ready-to-cook poultry and processed poultry products.

    Industry Changes, New Concerns

    During the 1950s and 1960s, inspection increasingly focused on wholesomeness and visible contamination. The prevalence of animal disease as a food safety problem was decreasing. However, there was an increase in the kinds of products, the complexity of operations, and the volume of processed products produced, resulting in increased concerns about mislabeling and economic adulteration. In 1958, in response to the public's concern about invisible hazards from chemicals added directly or indirectly to foods, the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1906 was amended with the 1958 Food Additive

    Amendment to deal with the safety of ingredients when used in processed foods, including animal drug residues in meat and poultry products.

    1960's – A Decade of Change

    The Federal Meat Inspection Act was amended as the Wholesome Meat Act of 1967. This amendment addressed the difficulties that had arisen from an inspection system that had become increasingly complicated as the marketing system changed. Under the Wholesome Meat Act of 1967, States were to conduct an adequate inspection of the nation's meat. The PPIA was amended to the Poultry Products Inspection Act of 1968. At this point, the meat and poultry inspection programs, which had been separate, were merged into one program within the Consumer and Marketing Service of USDA's Agricultural Research Service.

    Meat & Poultry Inspection's Changing Home

    On October 26, 1971, the Animal and Plant Health Service was created to administer all regulatory functions of the Agricultural Research Service. Meat and poultry inspection work was transferred from the Consumer Marketing Service, and the agency's name was changed to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in 1972.

    Becoming FSIS

    On March 14, 1977 the Food Safety and Quality Service was established and was assigned the responsibility of meat and poultry products inspection from APHIS. On June 17, 1981, the Food Safety and Quality Service (FSQS) was redesignated as the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

    Historic Outbreak

    In 1993, an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 occurred in the Pacific Northwest, which caused 400 illnesses and four deaths.

    The public demanded change for safer ground beef products.

    A Science–Based Inspection System

    Both agency officials and constituents called for a more "science-based" inspection system as FSIS was still depending on organoleptic (sight, touch, and smell methods) inspection. FSIS stepped up its research studies to apply the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system to meat and poultry inspection, setting the stage for the most significant change in regulatory philosophy in the history of the inspection programs. On July 25, 1996, FSIS issued its landmark rule, Pathogen Reduction/Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Systems. The rule focuses on the prevention and reduction of microbial pathogens on raw products that can cause illness. HACCP clarifies the respective roles of government and industry. Industry is accountable for producing safe food. Government is responsible for setting appropriate food safety standards, maintaining vigorous inspection oversight to ensure those standards are met, and maintaining a strong enforcement program to deal with plants that do not meet regulatory standards. Implementation of HACCP began on January 27, 1997, and it was completed by January 25, 2000. The Pathogen Reduction/HACCP rule applied to approximately 6,500 federally-inspected and 2,550 state-inspected meat and poultry (slaughter and processing) plants in the United States. The CDC has attributed HACCP implementation as an important factor in the overall decline in bacterial food-borne illnesses from 1996 through 2001.

    Air Pollution:


    Air pollution inversion (cool air trapped by warm air above it keeps pollution from dispersing) in Donora, Pennsylvania, kills 20 people and makes 40 percent of the town's 14,000 inhabitants ill.


    Cleaner Air Week is started by the Air Pollution Control Association to commemorate the Donora air inversion.


    Sulfur-laden smog covers London and is responsible for 4,000 deaths over a two-week period.


    Respiratory Disease Committee of the National Tuberculosis Association recommends that tuberculosis associations consider air pollution problems in their respective areas and form local control committees if needed.


    The national board of the National Tuberculosis Association adopts a resolution expressing major concern about all environmental health hazards, urging prompt and vigorous action be taken through a national program under the leadership of the United States Public Health Service.


    Air pollution inversion in New York leads to 405 deaths.


    National Air Conservation Commission formed by the American Lung Association to address air conservation issues and develop lung association positions on these issues.


    Air pollution inversion in New York leads to 168 deaths.


    Air Quality Control Act passed by Congress, setting timetables for states to establish their own air quality standards.


    American Lung Association sponsors national conference on air pollution programs.


    Congress passes the Clean Air Act, allowing the newly created Environmental Protection Agency to set national air quality standards. Also allowed states to establish their own stricter standards, which California did.


    American Lung Association becomes a sponsor of Clean Air Week.


    Catalytic converter developed and used on auto emissions systems. Cuts hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions by 96 percent and nitrogen oxides by 75 percent.


    Revised Clean Air Act Amendments passed by Congress, providing more time for areas with more serious air quality problems to comply with standards.


    American Lung Association expands air conservation program to include indoor air pollution.


    Indoor Air Quality Act first introduced into Congress to address the pervasive problem of indoor air pollution.


    EPA establishes Indoor Air Division of the Office of Air and Radiation to address indoor air quality issues.


    Congress approves Indoor Radon Abatement Act to assess extent of indoor radon problem, educate public on hazards of exposure and improve testing and repair technology.


    American Lung Association and EPA designate second week of October as National Radon Action Week to educate the public on the hazards of radon exposure and subsequent precautions.


    National ban on smoking aboard domestic flights enacted, protecting passengers from the dangers of secondhand smoke.


    Further revisions to Clean Air Act Amendments are passed by Congress, this time providing more time to comply with standards but requiring that cities implement specific air pollution control measures.


    American Lung Association sues EPA to force review of ozone air quality standard. By law, the standards were to be reviewed every five years, but have not been reviewed since 1979.


    In the American Lung Association v. EPA, the court rules in favor of the ALA.


    The American Lung Association sues EPA to force review of the sulfer dioxide standard; court rules in favor of the ALA in 1993.


    EPA reviews ozone standard, but chooses not to revise it.


    EPA classifies secondhand smoke as a group A carcinogen, responsible for an estimated 3,000 cases of lung cancer in nonsmokers and 150,000 to 300,000 cases of lower respiratory tract infections in children under 18 months of age each year.


    American Lung Association files a lawsuit seeking to force the EPA to revise the federal air quality standard for ozone air pollution. This challenges EPA's decision not to revise the air quality standard for ozone air pollution. In 1994, EPA agrees to review the decision not to revise the ozone standard, but 1997 deadline remains.


    American Lung Association testifies before Congress that the current federal standard for ozone air pollution does not protect public health and should be changed.


    American Lung Association sues EPA for failing to review the adequacy of federal health-based standards for particulate matter air pollution. Court rules in favor of the ALA in 1994.


    American Lung Association files a lawsuit to compel EPA to speed up review of the ozone standard.


    EPA strengthens the standard for particulate matter air pollution.


    Clinton Administration announces federal plan that would for the first time require all private passenger vehicles – including sport-utility vehicles and diesel-powered vehicles – to meet the same tough clean air standards.


    EPA passes new rule for diesel, capping sulfur levels in diesel fuel at 15 parts per million by 2007.


    Supreme Court supports health-based air pollution standards when it rejects challenges to the new standard for particulate matter.


    Landmark legislation (AB 1493) was passed in California that requires automakers to reduce greenhouse gases from motor vehicles.


    California adopts more stringent particulate matter standards for PM10 and PM2.5.

    Water Pollution:

    1948 – Federal Water Pollution Control Act

    1974 – Safe Drinking Water Act

    1977 – Clean Water Act

    All of this was found in fifteen minutes of Internet searching. There's plenty more."

    • Tony Coyle says:


      Don't you know that all these regulations just get in the way of Americans Doing Business™? Are you some kind of commie-pinko-faggot-liberal-socialist-elite-evilutionist? You just want to make our wonderful Judeo-Christian Nation™ like those lazy and ungodly Europeans, don't you?

      Admit it! You just want to destroy the American Way of Life™!


      Honestly – whenever people complain about regulation, I ask them which part of the third world they want to live in. If we continue down the road we're on in the States, I may not have to ask that question… the answer will be right here at home!

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Edgar: Thank you for assembling this list. I've been searching for something very much like this. Yes, who is for repeal of any of these things, all of which clearly constitute regulations. And how about seat belts? Is there anyone out there who wants to repeal the law that requires cars to contain seat belts? What about the state laws that require children to go to school? Aren't all of these limitations on our freedom? If so, repeal them all, right?

      Your list is a reality check for the Tea Party/Free Market Fundamentalist folks.

  5. Edgar Montrose says:

    "Don’t you know that all these regulations just get in the way of Americans Doing Business™?"

    Americans Doing Business is what led to half-a-billion eggs being recalled recently for e coli contamination. Funny, I didn't hear even the most conservative business advocate saying that the recall should be stopped.

    "Are you some kind of commie-pinko-faggot-liberal-socialist-elite-evilutionist?"

    I was a moderate Conservative with Libertarian leanings until the Bush II era, in which it was proved unequivocally that Conservatism and Libertarianism don't work. There's a big difference between theory and practice, and in this case the "practice" was a catastrophic failure.

    "You just want to destroy the American Way of Life™!"

    I want to destroy the false illusion that so many people seem to have of what the American Way of Life really was.

  6. Most Americans get their history from movies and television, if at all. They believe the Waltons represent the worst of the Depression, that Elliot Ness was triumphant over organized crime, and the transcontinental railroad (which was built on federal land grants and tax abatements, btw) brought prosperity automatically to the whole country. They also seem to believe the period from 1948 to 1964 was the standard for the prosperity of the American Family for the whole of our nation's existence and refuse to believe things were ever worse.

    The fact is, Americans live very expensive lives. It has to be paid for. If each family were directly billed for all the things they take for granted, the screaming of stuck pigs would raise the decibel level to the stratosphere.

  7. Tony Coyle says:

    Mark wrote Most Americans get their history from movies and television, if at all

    Leave it to Beaver was not a documentary, Gilligan's Island was not an early pilot for Survivor, and Hawaii Five-0 was not an early experiment in Reality TV!

  8. Tony….

    They WEREN'T?!?

    Well, duh.

  9. Edgar Montrose says:

    You're welcome, Erich. As I mentioned, it only took about fifteen minutes to compile that list.

    "And how about seat belts? Is there anyone out there who wants to repeal the law that requires cars to contain seat belts?"

    Interesting question that leads me slightly off-topic: Not so long ago I saw a televised interview with a behavioral psychologist, who offered his opinion that there is a direct cause-and-effect between safer automobiles and more careless drivers. Apparently people who feel that their cars will protect them in an accident are more likely to drive foolishly and to take more chances. He facetiously stated that the way to make people become more careful drivers is to have a big spike sticking out of the steering wheel, pointed at the driver's chest.

  10. Erich,

    re: seat belts. Yes, there are people out there who want to do away with them. And the annoying little bells that tell them to buckle up. Just as there are motorcyclists who want to repeal helmet laws.

    The perversity of human nature—what one might willingly do if it's his or her own idea will be rejected outright if it is imposed. Hell, you've been a lawyer long enough to have seen this in action in many different areas.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Mark: I do suppose that the "Free Market" wants to give children the right to become quadriplegics in minor auto accidents. I handled a case where a man became a quadriplegic in a really minor accident because he didn't buckle up. We can either say that this is his "right" even though he is not sapping up lots of government resources for his "right to be seatbelt-free," or we can do what we can to urge that people be safe.

      I would fully expect at this point that someone will write in to say that it was a good thing his cousin WASN'T wearing a seatbelt, because he was ejected from the car, which immediately exploded. Well, such isolated cases do exist, but they should consider that

      "In 2008, seat belts saved more than 13,000 lives nationwide. From 2004 to 2008, seat belts saved over 75,000 lives — enough people to fill a large sports arena. During a crash, being buckled up helps keep you safe and secure inside your vehicle, whereas being completely thrown out of a vehicle is almost always deadly. Seat belts are the best defense against impaired, aggressive, and distracted drivers." http://trafficsafetymarketing.gov/bua/brochures/g… and see here: http://www.nhtsa.gov/Driving+Safety/Occupant+Prot

      Here's how they work to save lives: http://auto.howstuffworks.com/car-driving-safety/

  11. Erich Vieth says:

    David Harmer, California Congressional Tea Party candidate wants to stop all government funding of schools, because it would allegedly improve them. http://motherjones.com/politics/2010/10/david-har

  12. The Gregarious Misan says:


    You should challenge your friend to prove he pays 50% of his pay in taxes, because he doesn't. I'll bet his total tax is about 25% of his income.

    Here's an example:

    Family of 4, homeowners

    Salary: $150,000

    Capital Gains: $10,000

    Total Income: $160,000

    Fed Income tax: $22,000

    Property tax: $5,000

    Sales tax: $2,000

    Soc Sec tax: $6,600

    FICA tax: $2,200

    Total tax: $37,800

    (tax numbers come from: http://www.efile.com/tax-service/tax-calculator/2

    Deduct $20,000 in mortgage interest

    tax/income = 23.6%

    If you include the other half of Soc Sec and FICA as income then take it out again as tax, you get 27.6%

    People like to add percentages: top tax rate 39% + sales tax 7% + SS/FICA 15%. OMG I'm paying 61% in tax!! I'm astonished anyone that bad at math could earn anything subject to a 39% tax bracket.

    The higher income tax brackets are largely meaningless since as income increases, it often comes in the form of things that can be construed as capital gains and taxed accordingly (much lower rate). The capping of Soc Sec tax at around $100,000 also offsets the higher marginal rate. Complaining about property taxes while enjoying the mortgage interest deduction (largely offsetting) is disingenuous.

    Make your friend read David Cay Johnston's book "Perfectly Legal."

  13. Pete says:

    Cripes people.

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