What ‘Percent’ Are You? The Numbers Behind the Tax Divide Debate

When it comes to dividing up our class structure, the middle is a good place to start — namely, the 60% of households wedged between the poorest 20% and the richest 20%. These families make between $20,001 and $100,065 a year, and were the group hardest hit by the recession: In 2008, their average income fell by 3.6%, thebiggest single-year dropin history. At the same time, they were also devastated by rising unemployment, mass foreclosures, soaring tuitions and frozen wages. By comparison, households below the 20% line often qualify for social welfare programs, were far less likely to own real estate, and were less affected by massive layoffs. In other words, they had less to lose, and ended up losing less.


On the other end of the spectrum, many of those above the 80% line were shielded from the harsher effects of economic downturns. And over the last 30 years, the top 20% have done quite well: Their share of all wages paid in the U.S. has gone from 50% to 60%. Everyone else has lost ground.

The 53% vs. the 47%

The dividing line between the 99% and the 1% is stark, but some argue there’s a better one: The boundary between those who pay income taxes and those who don’t. According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, 53% of households pay federal income tax; the rest either break even or get back more in refunds than they pay.

In fact, thesecond-to-lowest20% of the country — households making between $20,001 and $38,043 — get back about 0.4% more income tax than they pay; for families who make less than $20,000, it’s about 6.8%.

Some conservatives — notably on the Tumblr blogWe are the 53%— have taken these numbers to heart, arguing that this means the bottom 47% is getting a free ride. But the 53%/47% division is a bit misleading.

To begin with, almost all households pay state taxes, Medicare tax, Social Security tax, excise taxes, sales taxes, and a raft of other government fees. When this broader, and more accurate, assessment of taxation is used, the 47% doesn’t look to be getting off so easy: Thesecond poorest quintile— the ones that got 0.4% of their income tax back — still paid more 10% of their incomes in various federal taxes.

In fact, when everything is factored in, 86% of the country pays more than it gets back in federal taxes.As for the rest, it’s not the split you might expect: More than half (8% of Americans) are senior citizens receiving Social Security.

And that last 6% — the ones who really pay nothing to the federal government? They are unemployed, disabled, in school, or making very low incomes. But even this small group pays state and local taxes, sales taxes, and other government fees.

Where the Poor Pay More


When it comes to percentage of income, the line is even clearer: For some taxes, the bottom 20% of the Americans pay more than the top 20%. For example, a household on the bottom pays almost 54% more of its income into Social Security than a household on the top. The same goes for excise taxes — fees attached to certain commodities like gasoline and alcohol: As a percentage of income, the poorest 20% pays more than four times as much as the richest 20%.

putdownmypants
putdownmypants:

Saw this on my facebook dash tonight and had to comment about it somewhere.
For one thing, this reminds me of the “elevator-gate” situation where a woman was harassed by a man in an elevator as she was going to bed. She told men in general that is not how you talk to women. It can be very scary for a woman at 3am to be approached in an elevator or some other secluded place. One man dismissed her problem by saying that women have it far worse elsewhere in the world - fanatically religious areas, for example, millions of women and girls have been abandoned to illiteracy, forced marriage, and lives of slavery and abuse. So, because people have it worse elsewhere, we should just ignore problems we have ourselves? Can we (I’m not sure who we is) address their problems without any money, influence, power, etc.?
The other thing is: I think many if not most of the people at these Occupy demonstrations would like nothing more than to see the people in the top section of the picture doing much better. The Occupy demonstrations are fighting for equality for the world, not just for white people (though some cities have had a problem figuring this out, I’ve heard). My hope with these protests, if they could actually work, would be to demand the 1% in this country and others similar to ours, to distribute their wealth not only to help their neighbors, but also to the much less fortunate who do not have access to food or water. Maybe things will never be perfect, but I believe we can do way better in our effort to make an abundant and meaningful life for every inhabitant of this planet. The people Occupying Wall St and other streets around the world simply do not have the means to help these less fortunate, less privileged/non privileged, people. If our system was set up fairly, many more people could and would contribute much more time and money to others in need of assistance. Look at the money just wasted on wars, “defense,” the bailouts, bonuses, salaries for CEOs compared to the average employee, etc. Then the loopholes, offshore P.O.s, lobbyists, etc. I mean, this is what the fight is against. It’s so fucked up, it’s staggering how this shit hasn’t been sorted out. For the most part, we know what is right/fair. Even though they won’t let on, they know too (the 1%, hell, we all do). But not everyone is willing to stand up for what’s right, clearly not enough are.
For those who agree with the picture, what would you have us do?

Bravo and well said. Thank you. Logical fallacy indeed.
Do you, the person who made this graphic or agrees with it, think any fairness will be brought to these dying children if first world nations do not first get their own priorities in order? Those children don’t seem to be working either. Look at them lazing about holding out their hands begging. Why don’t they get a job? Work harder? Because they do not have the infrastructure or a working economy that supports them. We have a growing class of impoverished homeless people.  People will vilify and shun and then reject further when they fall into escapism like drugs. Because currently in the US there are 4 people to every 1 job opening. Because our population is growing and our industries are not. Because technology is advancing and taking over more and more medium skilled positions. Because more and more jobs are outsourced by companies who care more about cheap labor than building infrastructure without it’s “HQ’s” country (if they even still have their HQ here that is). More and more money wil be siphoned from our lower classes, ruining any chances for start up companies or the ability to ask family for some help while you are in school. Or because it is swiftly becoming less profitable to get a university degree. That education has turned into a BAD INVESTMENT for many people. All of these are signs that things are getting worse in this country. 
1. Do you really think the people at the top in our country, (who had to unscrupulously fight their way to the top and, once there, then abuse that position to defraud the people in their own community), will help these kids?  The fact we even need pause at the thought that perhaps certain diseases are not cured because that would hurt the drug and medical industries dependent upon you being sick to make more money, spells out the problem loud and clear. Do you think THOSE people who helm THOSE callous, profit-driven decisions, will give a rat’s ass about dying kids in Africa? No, the people who CARE are all those “lazy, liberal hippies” occupying your parks or taking a vocal stand otherwise- you know, those people who you are currently scoffing at for giving a fuck.
And no, I am not saying every 1%’er is a callous psychopath, but I bet their father’s are or they are lucky and/or brilliant as hell and hopefully WILL and DO donate money to these hurting people. But if all money lands into the hands of a very small, elite few who have a vastly higher percentage of sociopaths than the rest of the population, these kids are LESS likely to be helped. 
2. Furthermore, just as every airplane has the same safety speech on how to put your airmask on in the case of any emergency BEFORE helping your child place on his mask, America must be in a condition to be compassion-oriented before it will ever SHOW compassion. Currently, we are not a nation that values CARING. We are a nation that values money.
Lastly, it isn’t only a personal finger point at some of the 1% who committed legitimate crimes or abuses of system loopholes to effectively steal, but also at the system that ALLOWS this to happen. These are the demands of the movement - accountability of those who committed crimes against the people and changes to the way our government is currently influenced by money. 

putdownmypants:

Saw this on my facebook dash tonight and had to comment about it somewhere.

For one thing, this reminds me of the “elevator-gate” situation where a woman was harassed by a man in an elevator as she was going to bed. She told men in general that is not how you talk to women. It can be very scary for a woman at 3am to be approached in an elevator or some other secluded place. One man dismissed her problem by saying that women have it far worse elsewhere in the world - fanatically religious areas, for example, millions of women and girls have been abandoned to illiteracy, forced marriage, and lives of slavery and abuse. So, because people have it worse elsewhere, we should just ignore problems we have ourselves? Can we (I’m not sure who we is) address their problems without any money, influence, power, etc.?

The other thing is: I think many if not most of the people at these Occupy demonstrations would like nothing more than to see the people in the top section of the picture doing much better. The Occupy demonstrations are fighting for equality for the world, not just for white people (though some cities have had a problem figuring this out, I’ve heard). My hope with these protests, if they could actually work, would be to demand the 1% in this country and others similar to ours, to distribute their wealth not only to help their neighbors, but also to the much less fortunate who do not have access to food or water. Maybe things will never be perfect, but I believe we can do way better in our effort to make an abundant and meaningful life for every inhabitant of this planet. The people Occupying Wall St and other streets around the world simply do not have the means to help these less fortunate, less privileged/non privileged, people. If our system was set up fairly, many more people could and would contribute much more time and money to others in need of assistance. Look at the money just wasted on wars, “defense,” the bailouts, bonuses, salaries for CEOs compared to the average employee, etc. Then the loopholes, offshore P.O.s, lobbyists, etc. I mean, this is what the fight is against. It’s so fucked up, it’s staggering how this shit hasn’t been sorted out. For the most part, we know what is right/fair. Even though they won’t let on, they know too (the 1%, hell, we all do). But not everyone is willing to stand up for what’s right, clearly not enough are.

For those who agree with the picture, what would you have us do?

Bravo and well said. Thank you. Logical fallacy indeed.

Do you, the person who made this graphic or agrees with it, think any fairness will be brought to these dying children if first world nations do not first get their own priorities in order? Those children don’t seem to be working either. Look at them lazing about holding out their hands begging. Why don’t they get a job? Work harder? Because they do not have the infrastructure or a working economy that supports them. We have a growing class of impoverished homeless people.  People will vilify and shun and then reject further when they fall into escapism like drugs. Because currently in the US there are 4 people to every 1 job opening. Because our population is growing and our industries are not. Because technology is advancing and taking over more and more medium skilled positions. Because more and more jobs are outsourced by companies who care more about cheap labor than building infrastructure without it’s “HQ’s” country (if they even still have their HQ here that is). More and more money wil be siphoned from our lower classes, ruining any chances for start up companies or the ability to ask family for some help while you are in school. Or because it is swiftly becoming less profitable to get a university degree. That education has turned into a BAD INVESTMENT for many people. All of these are signs that things are getting worse in this country. 

1. Do you really think the people at the top in our country, (who had to unscrupulously fight their way to the top and, once there, then abuse that position to defraud the people in their own community), will help these kids?  The fact we even need pause at the thought that perhaps certain diseases are not cured because that would hurt the drug and medical industries dependent upon you being sick to make more money, spells out the problem loud and clear. Do you think THOSE people who helm THOSE callous, profit-driven decisions, will give a rat’s ass about dying kids in Africa? No, the people who CARE are all those “lazy, liberal hippies” occupying your parks or taking a vocal stand otherwise- you know, those people who you are currently scoffing at for giving a fuck.

And no, I am not saying every 1%’er is a callous psychopath, but I bet their father’s are or they are lucky and/or brilliant as hell and hopefully WILL and DO donate money to these hurting people. But if all money lands into the hands of a very small, elite few who have a vastly higher percentage of sociopaths than the rest of the population, these kids are LESS likely to be helped. 

2. Furthermore, just as every airplane has the same safety speech on how to put your airmask on in the case of any emergency BEFORE helping your child place on his mask, America must be in a condition to be compassion-oriented before it will ever SHOW compassion. Currently, we are not a nation that values CARING. We are a nation that values money.

Lastly, it isn’t only a personal finger point at some of the 1% who committed legitimate crimes or abuses of system loopholes to effectively steal, but also at the system that ALLOWS this to happen. These are the demands of the movement - accountability of those who committed crimes against the people and changes to the way our government is currently influenced by money. 

gothboygirlhorror

gothboygirlgossip:

There have been all kinds of articles I’ve been getting from where I’m at. There’s been the more exciting ones that remind me of more anarcho protests in the past, such as videos from NYC and Santa Cruz CA (remember when my friends were arrested for “terrorism” later dismissed by the judge as “activity protected by the first ammendment”) this month’s videos are of customers being arrested with excessive force while trying to close bank accounts as protest. An overlap between anarchist ideology and the current protests is the slogan “Debt is slavery,” but there is a much wider intellectual policy base to the current action. There are plans for an OWS Convention in 2012. This Convention will take place in Philadelphia on July 4 - a location and date chosen deliberately. The convention will elect delegates from each congressional district, 435 women and 435 men. The 870 delegates would then compose a petition of grievances that would be non-partisan. The currently suggestions are: Number one and two are a ban on private contributions to politicians seeking or holding federal office and instead public financing for campaigns, and a constitutional amendment to reverse the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court. The list then goes on to suggest single-payer national health care, immediate passage of the DREAM Act, a jobs plan, a deficit reduction plan and recalling military personnel at all non-essential bases. You can read that article here

Currently 37% of Americans support OWS, and 18% oppose the Occupy movement. This is in contrast to 28% who support the Tea Party, and 41% who oppose the Tea Party. Source NBC Wallstreet poll.

Someone once told me “Money has no inherent ethics” and that is still true. I wish you’d taken me to a credit union when I was 16, instead of a bank! Credit unions, which are not-for-profits that don’t answer to shareholders, typically offer fewer or lower fees.

I think a lot of what the OWS protests will claim as their grievances is summarized in this article:

“To our great shame, among the 20 major advanced countries America now has

  • the highest poverty rate, both generally and for children;
  • the greatest inequality of incomes;
  • the lowest government spending as a percentage of GDP on social programs for the disadvantaged;
  • the lowest number of paid holiday, annual, and maternity leaves;
  • the lowest score on the United Nations’ index of “material well-being of children”;
  • the worst score on the United Nations’ gender inequality index;
  • the lowest social mobility;
  • the highest public and private expenditure on health care as a portion of GDP,

yet accompanied by the highest

  • infant mortality rate;
  • prevalence of mental health problems;
  • obesity rate;
  • portion of people going without health care due to cost;
  • low-birth-weight children per capita (except for Japan);
  • consumption of antidepressants per capita;

along with the shortest life expectancy at birth (except for Denmark and Portugal);

  • the highest carbon dioxide emissions and water consumption per capita;
  • the lowest score on the World Economic Forum’s environmental performance index (except for Belgium), and the largest ecological footprint per capita (except for Belgium and Denmark);
  • the highest rate of failing to ratify international agreements;
  • the lowest spending on international development and humanitarian assistance as a percentage of GDP;
  • the highest military spending as a portion of GDP;
  • the largest international arms sales;
  • the most negative balance of payments (except New Zealand, Spain, and Portugal);
  • the lowest scores for student performance in math (except for Portugal and Italy) (and far from the top in both science and reading);
  • the highest high school dropout rate (except for Spain);
  • the highest homicide rate;
  • and the largest prison population per capita.”

Have you heard of Bank Transfer Day? It’s on Guy Fawkes day (I will assume you know who that is) Nov 5 and I myself will participate by dumping Wells Fargo. I’m not really into them for the following reasons: Wells Fargo was the only bank to not freeze 55,000 foreclosures when paperwork errors suggested that the foreclosures were flawed -source. There are reports that Wells Fargo predatory loans targeted black people and people already in poverty. In general, they engaged in predatory loans which damaged thousands of lives so a few people could live in opulence. Wells Fargo chief is the highest paid bank CEO and makes $30 million a year. Quote time!

“Could one man live in idle luxury by the sweat of another’s brow?” — Abraham Lincoln