Fact Check: the News is STILL Racist and biased toward the rich

Sometimes the media makes you think – and sometimes it makes you very, very angry. I saw this in my news feed today and I was astonished that it wasn’t from that one news network I already know to be filled with right-wing lunatics.

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Fact check:

  • The top tax rate for capital gains and dividends is 15%.
  • The most recent information [on taxes paid by the richest 400 Americans], for 2008, shows that the 400 wealthiest Americans paid $19.5 billion in income taxes. That seems like a lot, but their average (effective) tax rate was 18.11 percent, down from as much as 29.93 percent in 1995. (source)
  • Social Security tax is no longer collected once a person makes more than $106,800, so the share of such taxes declines quickly for wealthier groups… Thus, the top one percent pay an effective rate of 1.6 percent on social insurance taxes, compared to an effective rate of about 9 percent for most other income groups. (same source)
  • On AVERAGE though, the top 1% of Americans paid 31% while middle-class Americans paid around 15%.
  • BUT, from the video, notice that 1470 tax returns were filed by households making over $1,000,000, and (the announcer calmly reads), “of those, just 1% Paid No Federal Tax.”
WHAT? That’s 15 people earning over $1,000,000 in the last year PAYING NOTHING.
Olemacher notes that this means millionaires paying less taxes than average Americans “is the exception.” Yes, but.
It’s still absurd, right?  It’s still wrong, right? It’s still something we should fix, right? I mean, “the data” also shows that serial killers “are the exception.” That doesn’t mean we ignore them. But apparently with millionaires paying ZERO federal taxes, oh, it’s just one or two, or 15, so don’t be so uppity about it, right?
Then comes the real kicker. 
Let’s talk about those other 46 million Americans (leaving out the 15 millionaires) who pay no taxes.
Cue footage of black people. Make it black and white. Get lots of women and babies. Overweight women especially. Ohh, look, we have some of kids carrying cardboard boxes over train tracks. Perfect.
That’s who doesn’t pay tax in America? Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit. (sorry, but it bears saying)
This is the most horrible racist stereotype-based Bullshit reporting I’ve seen in recent memory (I don’t watch TV news, this is probably why).
Someone should be fired over that. Such blatant race-bating. Not only does it suggest that black people are somehow the problem in the American tax system, but it makes poor white people invisible, poor Asians invisible, poor Hispanics invisible, and poor Native Americans invisible.

IN FACT – most poor people, most of those 46 million Americans, aren’t black. So why not show footage of poor white kids in Arizona, poor Native American elders in Montana, poor Hispanics and Asians in California?
Oh, and most, about 95%, of those other Americans who pay no taxes… they live in poverty. As of last week, 43.9 million Americans live in POVERTY.
A nice little fact you might have mentioned.
[I haven't had a good political rant here for a while. But this just demands it.]

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12251616424535405289 Eric Brown

    While this is bad, it's more subtle than my local news that I've had to stop reading. connectmidmissouri.com, go to any story about crime. In the comments there will be at least one racist comment. I've reported it over and over again, but they never go away. I've stopped going to the site at all.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16251894326400488989 Blondeau

    Very nice. Thanks for putting this together. I'm bumfuzzled by the direction things are going. My paranoid theory is the top 1% is trying to shore up the barricades before things get really weird.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01698040927871199780 Algernon

    A commendable rant.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05464423409696388387 Divine Lotus Healing

    Kudos on your eloquent points; all why I don't watch TV news. One detail to note: Hispanics are from Spain. Latinos/Latinas are from Spanish speaking countries South of the USA. Namaste.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14246929532585980356 Buddhist_philosopher

    Eric, I'm sorry to hear that things are even worse where you are. I hope you and like-minded people can help bring about change for the better.Blondeau, I'm bumfuzzled too (nice word). Hasn't history taught us that we can't simply lock away our enemies or build a bigger wall? Thank you, Algernon.Thanks also Laura. Interesting point regarding Hispanics/Latina/os; but the wiki article (and data source I assume) use "Hispanic" and my Oxford dictionary assures me that this term relates "to Spain or to Spanish-speaking countries, especially those of Central or South America" or, "n. a Spanish-speaking person, especially one of Latin American descent, living in the US."

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13718601770472939313 Tom Armstrong

    A LOT more than 1470 people filed taxes with earnings over a million dollars. 150,000 individuals tax filing were for over $1million. [Download data for 2009 from here.]And what Obama is asking is that each individual or couple earning over a million needs to pay as much as the average for middle-income people. Obama is NOT saying that the average for ALL millionaires be the same or higher as ALL middle-income people.ALSO, payroll taxes, which most affect middle-income workers are ALL taxes from the wages of workers. Half is paid by the employer directly, but ALL of it is wage income tax and is, in stark reality coming out of wage-earners' hide.What is OUTRAGEOUS is that taxes are forever being moved more and more over to being a burden of workers, increasing the likelihood of jobs getting sent overseas.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13718601770472939313 Tom Armstrong

    The following comes from a NYTimes board editorial, today:THE ‘BUFFETT RULE’ President Obama has said that tax reform should follow the principle that no household making $1 million or more should pay a smaller share of its income in taxes than a middle-class family. Republicans say this is an act of “class warfare.” But it is clearly unjust to have a tax system that, today, allows 22,000 households earning more than $1 million to pay less than 15 percent of their income in federal income and payroll taxes — less than half of what a middle-class family pays.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13266018405604523361 Patia

    I'm a little late commenting on this, but Justin, I LOVE hearing you get up a good rant!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14246929532585980356 Buddhist_philosopher

    Yep, Tom – thanks for the additional facts, all the more strength I think for the case against the uber-rich.Thank you too, Patia. :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13718601770472939313 Tom Armstrong

    I think that debating tax rates is always a very weird thing. At points of transaction, money is always being taxed.Many rich claim that capital gains and dividends shouldn't be taxed AT ALL since the corporations in which they have shares are already being taxed. There is a certain logic to what they say — up until you look at the WHOLE picture.In reality TAXES ARE EVERYWHERE and nowhere. The bottomline is that the benefit from increased worker productivity has gone entirely to the richest people since 1980. It is grotesquely unjust, and, worse, ruinous for the country.The stinking rich are now in a position to shield their wealth from risk; to dictate national policies and politics and determine the nature of every debate. It may even be too late at this point to turn things around.And now with globalization, every country in the world will be competing for the generosity of the rich, putting the USA in a price-war with the rest of the world for the largess or wealthy benefactors.We've slipped into becoming slaves. It all happened on the QT [and on Fox Network].