Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What Happens When Both Sides Are Right

Here's an interesting hypothesis to consider today: the budget stalemate in Washington is due to the fact that both sides are right.  I came up with this postulate after checking out an infographic on yesterday breaking down the percentage of taxes paid by income class. 

The graphic shows that since 1986 (just before George HW Bush promised "Read my lips, no new taxes) the top 10% of income earners have paid an ever increasing share of the TOTAL amount of income taxes collected by the federal government--less than 55% in '86 to the current level of nearly 71% in 2010.  During that same period, the percentage of taxes paid by the rest of us--the bottom 90% has shrunk from just over 45% in the mid-Eighties to less than 30% now.

Those figures would appear to give credence to Paul Ryan and the Conservatives arguments that the rich already pay enough in taxes.  Mitt Romney is also vindicated with affirmation of his 47% paying NO federal income tax.  But the same report gives ammunition to Liberals like President Obama and Harry Reid by pointing out that the percentage increase in taxes paid by the rich is due to much larger jumps in income for the top 10% than the rest of us--and that when you look at taxes paid as a whole (income, property and sales) the top 10 pay about 40-percent of their income--while the middle class pay about 35%.

Armed with numbers that support their particular budget stances, the two sides see no reason to back down from their respective positions.  They can go to their core bases or appear on Fox News or MSNBC, toss out their numbers and get the viewers at home nodding "yes" and agreeing with their stance.

So it looks like the real question voters will need to consider for the foreseeable future is do we want fewer people paying more--or more people paying less? 

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