Back in 2010 my buddy Hank told me the following story:
He had gone to his Father-in-law’s house for some family function when his Father-in-law launched into a political rant that culminated with the declaration “Obama raised my taxes!” Hank said he ignored this at first but the father-in-law’s ranting continued to grow in intensity, expressing the irrational disgust that many of us are now used to when people talk politics. He repeated his previous claim several more times “Obama raised my taxes!” Finally, Hank said “What taxes are you even talking about?” The father-in-law hesitated and then repeated his statement. So Hank repeated his question. The father-in-law began evasive maneuvers with “All my taxes! Everything is more now.” Hank just frowned. “That’s bullcrap. Go get your tax statements and show me.” The father-in-law dropped the tax thing at that point and switched tracks to “Obama spends more than…blah…blah…blah”. Hank said he just got up at that point and went to see what his wife and mother-in-law were up to.
I have had this type of exchange many times over the last 8 years and it’s always a stupid move on my part. This is NOT the way to deal with an irrational, politically partisan person, least of all a FOXstafarian right wing nut job. It’s like arguing with a drunken person, until they sober up it’s a waste of breath and it ruins your evening.
To a person like this any word that isn’t against Obama is for Obama and anything that you consider to be wrong or immoral must be caused by or supported by the Democratic party and especially Obama. He’s King Democrat. I am not now, nor have I ever been a Democrat and I’m certainly not an Obama supporter. I’d be happy to back those statements up with my personal opinions but as soon as I start one of those irrational right wingers will tell me I’m wrong and then launch into whatever Rush Limbaugh was just talking about. I am also not a moron who thinks the President is an all-powerful, demi-God, rock star who will fix all my problems or single handedly destroy my entire way of life. I’m looking at you Trump supporters. Stop choosing the lesser of 6 evils because you want something that sounds as different from the other side as possible.
I feel like, after a lifetime of watching the conservative adults around me focus on their own interests when it came to political opinions, things right now have gone off the rails for those Americans who identify as “Republican” or “conservative” and they’ve grown a group of nut jobs at least as bad as the leftist-earth-first-tofu-eating hippies we’ve been mocking for 50 years. How is it that the save the whale crowd is now more solidly conservative in their values and actions than the right wing Christians who want to reduce individual freedom because it upsets their idea of sexuality or family structure? It seems like, ever since 9/11, the right wingers are the first to rush to the senate and demand more government. I know grown men who have never spoken aloud in front of me about the government except to say it should be slashed in size and reduced in power, who now furiously demand that the government bring its powers to bear against immigrants and other religions. They used to get excited about the idea of having their own freedom and now all they want is to see others repressed and controlled.
Maybe it was always like this and I’m just now getting to these topics. Maybe I’m just now noticing how grown-ups act. Just in case that’s the truth I’ll mention that I have long been fascinated with this over-correction that people make when they feel that their opinions/beliefs are being attacked or condemned. For example I had a terrible introduction and subsequent exposure to Christianity. It scarred me deeply for years and I made a grade-A ass of myself more than once in front of people I loved because of my aggravation with the general Christian attitude to which I had been exposed. I couldn’t see how my opinion was flawed until I heard truly radical atheists online. It was like cold water down my back to see that the people who have been mistreated grew up to be abusive (not unlike me). The sad part was while they are acting like that they claim to be rational and ruled by science. At this point I had a come-to-Jesus moment with myself and developed a better philosophy. Something I can live with. I guess when I dealt with that religious issue I really dealt with a philosophical issue and I had to address the political aspect as well.
So, that brings me full circle to the current President and the federal income tax. I did not vote for now will I vote for Obama. I don’t agree with much of his social ideology (as far as I can tell). But I do not blame him for the tax law. However, when I looked into the federal income tax brackets and standard deductions for the last 15 years I found something amazing. I pay less tax now. I don’t know what you pay because I don’t know what games you play. I get a pay check, my employer withholds based on the law and at the end of the year I actually get a little money back now. I don’t play any games, I don’t pretend to be a business, and I don’t buy stuff just for the write-off. I am a middle aged, single, middle-income American citizen and I am a little ashamed to admit that the tax code has been getting better for me. (Do not confuse this with an endorsement of our disgusting way of collecting federal income tax. That’s a topic for another day when I'm not trying to make a different point about blind hatred and irrational anger.)
What follows are real numbers calculated using the actual marginal tax rates and standard deductions for every $$ that a single person or married couple earned from 2002 – 2016. Since I didn't calculate any other deductions or consider income from other sources, my numbers are truly "conservative". I gave Uncle Sam less money and had more for me. This started with the Bush tax cuts back 2003 when we got the 10/15/25% tax brackets and it carries on to now. I don't want to hear the "Obama wanted to do away with those tax cuts". He also wanted to close Guantanamo bay and didn't want to tomahawk missile Libya back to the 1920's but we can't always get what we want and the reality is that time has passed and these things are now historical fact. My taxes went down.
If you can’t handle the fact that it happened while George Bush or Barrack Obama were the president, or if you can’t stop making excuses for how the other party didn't want this to happen and we narrowly avoided the blah blah blah, then go F^%K yourself. The G-D fact is that my taxes went down under a war monger AND a socialist. That should be a sign that the system is capable of working even if we’re too bigoted to see it. Maybe let's concentrate on the parts that work and dismantle the stuff that doesn't. Like the two party system, an uber-executive branch that distracts the voters from the legislature and the bracketed tax system that only works when a system of complex deductions are in place.
Marginal Tax rates from here: https://njaes.rutgers.edu/money/taxinfo/
A nice interactive version is here: http://qz.com/74271/income-tax-rates-since-1913/
So, lets pretend that you have some cushy salary job that pays you $50k/year. Since 2002 your tax burden dropped from almost $9,000/year to <$7,000
If you are married to someone who also makes $50k/year your tax burden on the combine $100k should have dropped from almost $19,000/year to <$14,000
Most married couples do not earn the same amount of money per person per year but when you divide the married column/2 the tax burden lines up with the single rate. Typically one person earns the majority of the family income and the other person earns just enough to bump you up in the tax brackets and cost you money.
Here's the break down for 2006. Incomes are in the left hand column, under "single" and "married" is the tax burden at that income level. Under "married/2" is half the tax burden which correlates to half that income (theoretically)
By 2016 look at the drop across the board.
In a previous blog post I mentioned that average American income is ~$54,000/year (you can google that for yourself) but what matters when we look at things like average american household income is that our population is~319,000,000 people with ~204,000,000 working age (15-64) but only ~122,500,000 actually employed. The income tax that should hit 64% of Americans only reaches 38% by my estimation. Which doesn't matter because it looks like only half pay income tax anyway because they make too little or they play the deduction game. But assuming all that went away like magic, what happens to wages if we employ all those non working people so we can tax them? Even if we expand part time work for the young, old and students. We could let them earn a dollar and pay a dime. I could argue that would make them invested in the system. But we know that there's a bottom to the livable income scale and too many full time Americans are too close to it now. What happens to the people who are earning a good wage when the market is flooded with more money from more workers? That $100,000 married chart actually represent 20% of households in the US. Can we inflate the prices of cars that start at $25,000 and go up? Can we make more people work for less money at part time jobs, tax them and then refund all their money every year?