Voting with Math


Wouldn’t it be nice if somebody had a website where you could input how much money you make in a year, and then it tell you an estimate of which current candidate would save you more money?


Like…this one?



Because the tax code is complex, the calculator makes a number of simplifying assumptions that may differ from the circumstances of any particular user. It assumes all income is from wages. For married filers, it assumes that income is split evenly between two earners. It assumes that income does not vary over the years analyzed. It assumes that taxpayers claim the standard deduction for the purpose of analyzing the impact of the expiration of the middle class tax cuts. The impact of Mitt Romney’s tax plan is based on an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, which determines the tax increase or tax cut the average family in each income group would face if Romney paid for his $5 trillion tax plan by cutting tax benefits. The analysis assumes that Romney eliminates all tax benefits, except those for savings and investment, for households earning over $200,000, and reduces those benefits for households earning under $200,000 to cover the rest of the cost – resulting in a reduction by more than half. The Tax Policy Center uses income thresholds based on “cash income”, a measure broader than AGI commonly used by TPC. The calculator is intended for information purposes only.


It starts lowering your taxes under a Romney plan right about at an annual income of $497,500……….so, exactly the sort of crowd donating heavily to the GOP already.

Of course, even with that….


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  • Tyler Horne (@tightfive5)

    I’m not a smart man, so maybe I’m reading into this too much, but the wording is a bit suspicious. I plugged the total of my wife’s and my salary, $100,000 for the two of us combined, with one dependent. It says that my tax saving during Obama’s first term was $5,600, or $1,400 a year for four years. But then if he just extends the cuts (my “continued tax savings”), I’m supposed to be saving $3,613 in one year? More than double for 2013? Also, if the cuts don’t get extended, then I have to pay $3,613 more than I did last year? Meanwhile, Rmoney’s box says that if he wins, I’ll only pay $1,339 more next year. Does that mean that if Rmoney wins AND the tax cuts don’t get extended, I’ll have to pay $4,952 more? Or does the box mean that I’ll be paying that much more with or without the tax cut? Maybe a bad analogy will help. Let’s say that I “should be” paying $10 in taxes on my household income. Obama got my taxes lowered to $8 for the last few years, but that lowering might or might not last and I could end up paying $8 or I could end up paying $10. Is the website telling me that I would have to pay $9 under Rmoney or $11 under Rmoney?

    • Kodie

      After several attempts to wrap my head around it myself to explain it to you, I conclude that it would be $11. Your regular tax is like the regular price of a good at the store and the cuts that apply to you are like coupons or a temporary sale. The promotional aspect in retail is so you buy more stuff with the money saved, come into the store for the one thing and buy other things, or the supplier would like to promote its product so you are enticed to try it. Other conditions may apply to lower the price permanently, as costs may go down for the supplier or the store decides to let itself go, cut wages, or whatever. But the price will go back up, it’s not up, it’s the level determined to be the most fair price point. It’s “up” to you, because you had grown accustomed to a lower price and don’t want to pay the higher price, but in the case of taxes, the store won’t let you leave until you buy it at whatever price they set.

      But I did an experiment. I put in $5,000,000 for a married couple with 1 dependent. Their savings under the Obama plan are not 50x more than your tax savings, they’re about 2.5x. Their savings under a Romney plan is about 2.5x your income. I’m not sure it’s reasonable that Romney would extend payroll tax cuts even if they also apply to the wealthy, but that information is not at that site or at least not that part. The $5,000,000 income household does not qualify for the Making Work Pay Credit that you also get, so their payroll cut is maybe then 8x compared to yours, or really, your savings is 1-4% of your income (I don’t know when the payroll credit started as the wording implies one year or $4000, or over 4 years, $1000 per year in office), and their savings is .04-.17% of their income. I think I’m doing that right.

      I don’t know how much tax on $5,000,000 to save $245,551 from, but that’s 30x more than they’re saving from Obama’s plan.

      • Kodie

        They’re payroll credit is only 2x not 8.

  • Tyler Horne (@tightfive5)

    Not that it matters… I just found out that Atheists aren’t supposed to vote or something.

  • Rilian

    Blarg, I suspect that it’s got some kind of java thing that’s not working on the crappy school computer I’m using. :c