Video From Reason.TV:
A lot of folks hear numbers like "the top 5%" of income earners, and they think that means Bill Gates, and fortune 500 CEOs etc...
No, although that's exactly what the government, and the media, would love for you to believe.
It's how they pit us against one another. It is a very deliberate divide and conquer strategy for class warfare; and the fact that 52 million people voted for it shows just how well it's working.
It works, because "The Rich" is always the other guy. You aren't "The Rich" after all, you're "working class" or "middle class" whatever those mean (and who exactly says the "middle class" don't work?).
Nobody wants to pay more taxes (well, except some of the extreme left), and very few people would vote to increase their own taxes; so they employ this class warfare rhetoric to get you to support tax increases on "The Rich", which will supposedly favor you, and "the less fortunate".
The only problem is, according to the government, there's a pretty good chance that You (yes You, with a capital "Y") ARE "The Rich".
How can that be? They're always talking about the "top 1%" or the "top 5%", and again people start thinking about Bill Gates, and bank CEOs, and Wall Street traders...
Actually, the top 5% likely includes a lot of folks you know. Theres a fair chance it includes you. It almost certainly includes people you interact with every day.
When we get down to as low as say, the top 15%, most folks would think that got to be people making like $250,000 a year right?
No, actually people who make $250,000 a year are the top 1% (in fact, anyone over about $180,000 a year is in the top 1%. $250,000 puts you into the top .8% or so).
Wait a sec... the top 1% is just $180,000 a year?
Yes, yes it is.
The estimated individual income numbers for 2008 (actuals wont be available for another two years. Also don't confuse these with household numbers, which account for multiple incomes) look like this:
The "top 1%" of earners in this country, is everyone who makes over about $180,000 a year.
The top 5% is everyone who makes over about $152,000 a year
In case you were interested, $100,000 is the top 5.63%
The top 10% is everyone who makes over $76,000 per year.
The top 15% is everyone who makes over about $64,000 a year.
The top 25% is everyone who makes over about $46,000 a year.
The top 50% is everyone who makes over about $32,000 a year.
So when somebody says "we're going to tax the richest 15% to pay for the other 85%" what they're really saying is anyone who makes more than $32 an hour.
Ayup, if you make more than $32 an hour, guess what, YOU are "The Rich".
If they say "we're going to tax the richest 25%" that means anyone who makes more than $23 an hour.
So, let me ask you, are you rich?
The top 15% pay more than 85% of all income taxes.
The top 50% pay more than 96% of all income taxes.
The bottom 50%, pay less than 4%.
The bottom 40% pay nothing at all.
The bottom 30% are actually PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT (and I don't mean civil servants).
Plumbers, carpenters, electricians, mechanics, pretty much anyone with more than 10 years experience in any mid-level or higher job, in any professional career field or trade; that most likely puts you into the top 15% or so. Are you rich?
If you own your own business, the government ALMOST CERTAINLY classifies you as earning in the top 10% or higher... of course how much of that you actually KEEP is another story. Are you rich?
If you're reading this right now, demographically speaking, it's very likely you are in the top 15%. Are you rich?
If you have a college degree, live in or near a major city, and have more than 10 years experience in your career field, you are very likely to be in the top 5%, and almost certainly in the top 15%. Are you rich?
I'll tell you right now, I'm in the top 5% of income earners, and with my wifes income we're in the top 5% of household earners (in fact, the top 3%); and we are very definitely not rich.
We don't live an extravagant lifestyle. We have a 1600 square foot house in an old neighborhood in Scottsdale (not one of the McMansion areas), two used cars that were both under $30,000 each when we bought them, and we send our two kids to Catholic school that's subsidized by the parish, or else we couldn't afford it. We don't have a vacation home; no RV, no boat, no vacations to Switzerland every six months...
We're not rich.
As far as the government is concerned though, we are "The Rich".
In fact, it's very likely that you are "The Rich" too.
What they're really saying when they talk about "taxing the rich", is taxing you. Because as far as the government is concerned, unless you're taking money from them, hey, YOU'RE RICH.