- Feb 10, 2005
- Reaction score
- Montgomery, Al
He is a liar.
President Obama's claim that he pays a lower tax rate than a teacher making $50,000 a year isn't true. A single taxpayer with $50,000 of income would have paid 11.9% in federal income taxes for 2010, while the Obamas paid more than twice that rate — 25.3% (and higher rates than that in 2009 and 2008). And if the $50,000-a-year teacher were in Obama's tax situation — supporting a spouse and two children — he or she would have paid no federal income taxes at all.
The outcome is the same whether we count payroll taxes or not, and even if we look at what the $50,000 earner will pay on 2011 income. Whatever the assumption, the rates Obama paid were higher — and usually much higher.
The president was on safer ground when he stuck to talking about billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who wrote in a much-quoted Aug. 14 New York Times opinion piece — headlined "Stop Coddling the Super-Rich" - that he paid a lower effective tax rate than any of the 20 other people who work in his office. That may well be true, though we have no access to Buffett's tax returns or those of his employees.
But the president went too far when he started using his own tax rate to make the argument that "millionaires and billionaires" should pay higher taxes.
On Sept. 26, Obama said at a Democratic National Committee event in West Hollywood, Calif.:
Obama, Sept. 26: "I shouldn't be paying a lower effective rate than a teacher, or a firefighter, or a construction worker. And they sure shouldn't be paying a higher tax rate than somebody pulling in $50 million a year. It's not fair, and it's not right. And it's got to change."
And earlier, at a town hall meeting in Mountain View, Calif., Obama said:
Obama, Sept. 26: "Somebody who's making $50,000 a year as a teacher shouldn't be paying a higher effective tax rate than somebody like myself or Jeff (Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn), who've been incredibly blessed."
When we asked the White House about this, spokesman Matthew Vogel said: "The president was not offering a literal comparison of his personal tax rate. … He doesn't say, 'I pay a lower tax rate than my secretary' or anyone else."
We disagree. The president said: "Somebody who's making $50,000 a year as a teacher shouldn't be paying a higher effective tax rate than somebody like myself." And in our judgment, that's as "literal" as any comparison gets. Readers may interpret the president's words as they please. The fact is, Obama pays higher rates than the $50,000-a-year teacher he mentioned.
Obama has released his returns for 2008, 2009 and 2010. What they show is that he made millions, mostly from the sale of two best-selling books, and he paid millions in federal income taxes. His federal income tax rates for those years were 31.3%, 31.9% and 25.3%, respectively. And those are all higher than rates paid by anybody making $50,000 a year, whether they are a teacher or "a firefighter, or a construction worker."
A family like the Obamas — with two children under age 17 — would actually have received a $37 tax refund in 2010 on income of $50,000, thanks largely to the $1,000 per child tax credit and Obama's $800 "Making Work Pay" tax credit. Those are our calculations, which we confirmed with Nick Kasprak, an analyst at the Tax Foundation. Read more at the link....