Doubting Thomas

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Cal Thomas is, according to his website, the most widely syndicated columnist in the United States.

Even so, this has gotta be the dumbest paragraph any columnist wrote all week.

Perhaps the revolt can start with the so-called “rich,” those making more than $250,000 a year. That has always been an arbitrary figure applied to all, regardless of their personal circumstances. Suppose people who are able decided to limit their income to $249,999.99 in 2013? If they make a lot more than that, they could consult their tax adviser about legally placing the excess in tax-free municipal bonds or other tax shelters, depriving the government beast its sustenance.

First of all, tax-free munis don’t work that way.  It’s the interest that’s not taxable. You couldn’t use the purchase to reduce the size of your income. You can use a SEP that way if you’re eligible. And, of course, you can use charitable giving during the tax year.

More than that, Thomas almost seems not to know how brackets and marginal rates work. The tax rate you’d pay on your first $250,000 wouldn’t change, even if you made a lot more. The top marginal rate is assessed against your last dollars earned, not against all of them.

That’s why, for part of the 1940s and then again during the 1950s and early 1960s, top marginal tax rates climbed to 90 percent. They have since plummeted to 35 percent.

Anyway, according to Friday’s Times, the total local/state/federal tax burden has actually gone down even since the 1980s.

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9 thoughts on “Doubting Thomas

  1. Richard

    Cal is not worth reading. Townhall has a few decent commentaries here and there. I like the Obamacare Waiver stuff as the Blue States and Blue Districts and Unions are shameless about applying for waivers and then demanding the Catholic Church adhere to all their mandates.

    Stuff like this

    >>White House Press Secretary Jay Carney downplayed the significance of the administration’s approval of Obamacare waivers amid the uproar over 38 Obamacare waivers luxurious hotels, gourmet restaurants, hip nightclubs, day spas and four-star hotels received in April in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s district<<

    Of course we knew all along it was a political bill not an honest attempt to lower costs and improve health care access.

  2. Bill

    Even if Carl had been correct, the political point missing to all those conservatives who accuse Obama of waging class or income warfare is this; Obama choose an arbitrary income figure as a rallying call to generate support. We must never forget that the Republicans had one goal in resisting the Affordable Health Care Act – which was to simply bring Obama down at all costs. And they most nearly achieved this nasty goal at the expense of the country. If the Republicans had participated and made contributions and supported the health care act, it would have been made more efficient. Instead, democrats had to compromise and push the act through Congress.

    I hold the Republican Party fully to blame for ignoring the health needs of this nation. Obama repeated $250,000.00 over and over again until a majority supported the idea of taxing the rich. It sold.

    So you see, both sides can play that game. Our side did it rather well don’t you think? We skunked the republicans. They are now fractured. Fighting among themselves. Breaking that holy pledge of never raising taxes.

    It is unfortunate that these head games must be played. But Obama proved in the end to be the better player.

    1. Richard

      Wow. That’s a myopic view. When you look at Dan Malloy’s budget (and Colin’s column today) you might see some fractures in the Democratic Party. Certainly the one I knew as a youngster has gone missing.

      1. Bill

        Richard: I am an equal opportunity critic. As a liberal, I will criticize democrats when needed and they need it (in other ways)as much as those regressive enigmatic conservatives especially when spending on worthless projects like the bus lane to know where which was a gift to unions no doubt.

        I am not blinded by stupid dogma when it comes to enacting legislation like universal health care – a very basic need for everyone. I don’t know anyone (including myself) that wouldn’t be alive today had it not been for some kind of health coverage. But I did once have a few friends who are now dead because they didn’t have health care coverage to cure very treatable diseases and were too proud to beg the state for it.

        Does that make you feel any better, Richard?

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