posts tagged "obama"
I always hate this kind of scapegoating after elections. I mean, when you lose, you lost. Someone asked me the other day, ‘Why did Mitt Romney lose?’ Because he got less votes than Barack Obama. That’s why.
Who Doesn’t Pay Taxes And Why
Mitt Romney is in a bit of hot water for comments he made during a closed-door fundraiser about the 47% of Americans who don’t pay federal income taxes.
I’m generally pretty sympathetic to people saying stupid things in closed-door fundraisers, but the whole flap raises an interesting question: Is it really true that 47% of Americans pay no federal income tax? And who are these people? And do they believe that they are victims entitled to health care and housing?
How many people don’t pay federal income tax in the US?
Lots of people. The 47% stat is accurate, as long as you only count federal income taxes. (More than 85% of Americans under 65 pay either income tax, federal payroll tax, or both—and almost all Americans who own land or buy things pay state and local taxes.)
Who are these people?
Many elderly people who live off social security pay no income tax (social security benefits are only taxable if your total income is over $25,000 a year). Only about 25% of Americans over the age of 75 pay federal income tax, but it’s important to remember that most of them did pay federal income tax when they were working.
Also, many young adults pay no income taxes, because they are full-time students or have very low incomes. You can see a chart here that shows that about 30% of 18-year-olds pay federal income tax, while over 65% of people in their 40s do.
People living in poverty are also unlikely to pay federal income taxes. A married couple filing jointly making under $18,700 annually pays no income taxes. But it’s worth noting that in 1996, 99.5% of all nontaxable returns came from people making less than $30,000 a year. Today, that number is closer to 76%.
The fastest growing segment of Americans who pay no tax are those who earn between $75,000 and $100,000 each year. As explained here, there’s been a 12,000% increase in nontaxable returns in this income category thanks to middle income tax cuts and tax credits introduced by both George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Romney’s central mistake is imagining the data as static. In 2000, for instance, I paid no federal income tax. This doesn’t mean that I am a drain on the system: In fact, I have paid lots of federal income tax in other years. 2000 just happened to be a weird year, because I had a lot of health care expenses and not very much income.
This is the case for most Americans: Romney’s comments implied that the same 47% of Americans pay no federal income taxes every year. In fact, the members of that 47% are constantly changing as people age into and out of the work force.
Do these people believe that they are victims entitled to health care and housing?The most incendiary remark Governor Romney made was, “There are 47% who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care of them, who believe that they are entitled to healthcare, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.”In fact, the number of Americans who feel the government should provide health care and food to those in need is much higher than 47%. 76% of Americans (including a majority of Republicans) favor medicaid, the program that offers health care to the poor. A majority of Americans also believe medicare, the program that offers health care to the elderly, is worth its cost. And more than three quarters of Americans support the federal food stamp program that provides food to low-income and elderly people.
It’s hard to serve as president for all Americans when you’ve disdainfully written off half the nation.
Both these comments are rhetoric and not policy, so shouldn’t be taken too seriously, but the underlying ideas here are very important to me.
When the President says that higher education is an economic necessity, he’s is absolutely correct. If you look at the industrialized economies that are struggling around the world, they line up very closely with higher education rates. (Look at Portugal, for instance.)
So, like, “the U.S. experienced a fairly large growth in population from 2000 to 2009. During the period, the population increased 8.68% — the 12th highest among OECD countries. Meanwhile, the rate at which the share of the population with a tertiary [post high school] education is growing has slowed to an annual rate of 1.4% — the lowest among the 34 OECD countries. Just 71% of funding for educational institutions in the country comes from public funds, placing the U.S. sixth-lowest in this measure.” [source]
So we already have one of the lowest rates of public investment in education in the industrialized world, and the lowest rate of growth in post-secondary education.
This is a real long-term and structural problem for the US economy, because the only future growth available to industrialized nations is in jobs that require education. If we only offer higher education to people who can afford it, we will lose to the many nations where university education is more highly subsidized, because they’ll have better educated workforces that will earn more and in turn pay more in taxes, which will allow future generations to be better educated still.
Both parties would like to take political credit or assign political blame for the unemployment rate and the pace of growth etc. But the truth is, government doesn’t have a lot of say in that stuff (unless of course they screw things up so royally that there’s a debt default or something). A lot of the government’s role in economic growth is much longer term—it’s stuff like infrastructure and long-term political stability and creating a better-educated workforce.
The Words They Used At The National Convention
I’ve pointed out “women” because one of the bigger impressions I got from the DNC was that the Democrats clearly think they can use the divide on women’s rights (see: Akin, Todd) to their advantage. One of Obama’s biggest rhetorical flourishes last night involved a girl growing up to be president. Almost every speaker spoke to the issue of gender equality as it related to choice and occasionally as it related to equal compensation. I was surprised at how much they seem to feel they have the advantage pressing the attack there. The only thing that surprised me more (at least as far as speech content was concerned) was the repeated, frank mention of voter suppression — maybe a bit cynical on my part, but I assumed that was an issue the media would complain about but would not be spoken about on a national political stage.
This chart also includes a nice list of excerpts where some of the words were used. Pretty rad.
Since day one, President Obama has fought for women’s health care rights and the economic security that goes with access to affordable insurance. I wish that were true for Mitt Romney.
Mr. Romney offers only dangerous promises to roll back these rights. I’m going to take him at his word—and every woman in America should, too. On Obamacare, he says he’ll ‘kill it dead’ on day one, eliminating mandatory coverage for lifesaving preventive care and once again letting insurance companies play by their own rules.
Mr. Romney has said over and over that he would ‘get rid’ of federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which is a provider for more than 3 million people across the country who need cancer screenings and other basic health care. He also applauded a proposed law that would allow any employer, religious or not, to deny employees coverage for any medical service, not just contraception.
Mitt Romney said the White House wasn’t sleeping well last night. You know who else wasn’t sleeping well? The mother with a child who has leukemia. The recent college grad who’s unemployed and thinking about making a doctor’s appointment. The grandfather who isn’t sure if he’ll be able to afford the prescription medication he needs. The middle-class family who isn’t sure if they’ll be able to keep their home if their medical bills broach the lifetime cap “Obamacare” eliminated. What would Romney and his bravado do for each of them? Nothing.
Barack Obama Being Adorable with Adorable Children
this actually makes me kinda tearful
I LOVE my president!
This is my favorite. Just look at her face. She looks like she can stay there forever.
I mean, it’s like they just know.
MITT ROMNEY MAKES CHILDREN CRY
You start out in 1954 by saying “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968, you can’t say “nigger” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like “forced busing,” “states’ rights,” and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now that you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things, and a byproduct of them is that blacks get hurt worse than whites.
Jacob spoke first.
“I want to know if my hair is just like yours,” he told Mr. Obama, but so quietly that the president asked him to speak again.
Jacob did, and Mr. Obama replied, “Why don’t you touch it and see for yourself?” He brought his head level with Jacob, who hesitated.
“Touch it, dude!” Mr. Obama said.
As Jacob, who was 5, patted the presidential crown, Mr. Souza snapped.
“So, what do you think?” Mr. Obama asked.