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Monday, November 28, 2011

Dems and WaPo: Screamingly Dumb And Proud Of It

You know, a republic that cannot add, subtract, divide and multiply is doomed to fail. Perhaps we have reached that point.

Certainly WaPo reporters are too abjectly stupid to be allowed to write about national issues for a living. They must give prospective WaPo journalists special tests for low IQ and chicanery - you have to be either very mentally limited or very committed to lying in order to write the STUPIDEST article I have ever seen:
Senate Democrats are pressing ahead on President Barack Obama’s plan to cut in half every worker’s payroll taxes next year — paid for by a 3.25 percent tax surcharge on the very wealthy.

The $248 billion plan would trim Social Security payroll taxes from 6.2 percent to 3.1 percent in hopes of propping up the still-weak economy.
Sounds good, doesn't it? You may be wondering why, after reading the lead-in quoted above, my eyeballs spontaneously ejected from my skull, metaphorically speaking. In the grimly physical sense, my mouth dropped open and my vision blurred as I attempted to reconcile WaPo Sen-Dem world with the universe I live in.

Gasping for breath and groping for an explanation, I wondered if perhaps in a fit of absentmindedness I had wandered through a some oval stone monument built by some ancient civilization that did not know when to let well enough alone, consequently finding myself reading WaPo in a different universe, with a different time line and totally different fiscal realities. Perhaps it's akin to the Star Trek universe, in which 1 to the fourth power is a MUCH larger number than 1.

That could explain a lot. In this WaPo universe, 1% of 10 million dollars of rich folks' money is a much, much larger number than 1% of 10 million dollars of poor folks' money. I am so shocked because in my universe, 1% of 10 million dollars is the same amount no matter whose money it is, and it always will be.

The problem here is that 3.25% of the total income of taxpayers earning over 1 million a year is a much, much smaller number than 248 billion, or 3.1% of all the wages in the country under the SS cutoff.

Reporters are supposed to check into this stuff, and later in the article it is clear that they know that tax raise for those with incomes over 1 million wouldn't come close to covering the SS tax cut next year. They just fail to point this out, possibly because they do not want to spoil the Senate Dems propaganda routine here. It sounds great, and it is a great Democrat talking point, and best of all, it implies in the mind of the cretins who buy into this stuff and WaPo journalists who exist to delude them (all the news that we want you to believe) that we really don't have to deal with our fiscal problems - all we have to do is tax the rich just a tad more. This is great electoral fodder, but it is a total lie, and a very destructive one.

IF all we had to do to correct our fiscal problems was to raise taxes on the very wealthy a few percentage points, we would do that. In fact, we don't have the choice. So in raising this plan, the Senate Dems are not only playing a very dishonest game, but they are playing a game that is designed to undercut all responsible legislators in the future, aren't they? And the WaPo journalists, in writing this remarkably misleading article, are helping destroy the country, aren't they? And when the country hits the fiscal wall, it will be significantly due to Senate Demograts (def = Democrat who loves to Demagogue), won't it? Which means that Harry Reid and his pages at WaPo are really intent on screwing over the poor and aged, aren't they?

You can verify this for yourself (I realize the average reader doesn't read tax stats for a living and thus probably doesn't have an intuitive grasp of the huge discrepancy).

Go to this SOI Tax Stats page and click on the link for Table 1. That will download a spreadsheet with income tax returns for 2009. This is entirely essential. Because I am afraid that people won't do this, I have two images:

2009 is the last year of tax data available. The ratios don't change that much, though, so you can safely assume that a big miss here will be a big miss in 2011.

Now, what we do here is add up the total income amounts shown for the brackets that are 1 million and above. There are three zeroes missing from each column, so we'll put those back in later:


Total: 735,144,440. You may be thinking "Dagnabit! That's a lot of money! They should pay up!"

You'd be right that it's a lot of money. You'd be even more right if you remembered to add the missing zeroes, which gives us $735,144,440,000 - 735 billion. However, those who can calculate 10% in their heads may at once grasp the problem - 3.25% of this number is going to be less than 10%, and 10% of this number is 75 billion, which is already way short of that 248 billion dollar shortfall projected over the 3.1% FICA cut. So we have just a tiny problem.

Taking off our shoes and socks (the digital math revolution at WaPo - classes held every Thursday at lunch in the main conference room) to calculate 3.25% of $735,144,440,000 (0.0325 * X) = $23,892,194,300. Unfortunately Digital SuperReporterMath classes may not yet have reached the lesson plan about why you have to insert zeroes in front of written percents before you multiply, which could, in fact, explain this article.

In point of fact, you do have to insert those pesky zeroes, which means that the 3.25% tax increase in 2009 would have raised close to 24 billion, which is kind of close to 10% of the FICA cut, isn't it? This is not really surprising, because when you compare total income for all taxable returns to the total income for those with incomes 1 million and up, it turns out that those with incomes of 1 million and up had about 10% of total income.

Since the vast majority of income for the non-wealthy in this country comes from wages, a good seat-of-the-pants rule is that to cover a tax cut of about 1% for most, we need to increase taxes on the incomes of the very wealthy (1 million and over) by about 10%. Total wages and salaries for all returns were listed (at the top of the table) at 5,707,088,487, or $5,707,088,487,000 (5.7 trillion).

Now income this year will hopefully be higher in 2012 than in 2009, so instead of multiplying by 10 to figure what we would need to actually co let's multiply by 9 (remember, wages and thus FICA taxes are going up too). 9 X 3.25 = 29.25%. To cover the tax break this year we'd need to raise taxes on the TOTAL incomes of the wealthy by at least 28%, which would probably put the top tax bracket over 75%. Bummer.

Now, if we are going to raise the taxes of the wealthy that much, we should be doing it to cover the deficit FIRST, because it is the deficit that threatens SS in the future, and SS, as Congress Critters solemnly assure us, is essential for the welfare of the working class. They are very devoted to the welfare of the working classes, so I am sure they will get that done before the 10% and up cuts that have been inflicted on pensioners in Portugal and Greece show up in the laps of the US working class.

Thank G_d we have all these very patriotic, cretinous Democratic senators, who I am sure will promptly raise total taxes on the very wealthy to cover last year's deficit of 1.299 trillion plus 75 billion to cover the additional FICA cut, to, ah, let's see what rate it would take to raise taxes of 1.299 trillion off income of 900 billion (adjusted significantly upward from 2009) - 153%. No problemo. It's done. Dems ride to victory on the shoulders of the cheering, cretinous OWS masses.

Unfortunately, matters won't be quite so joyous come 2013, because the IRS is going to have a problem collecting income people don't have. History has shown that when you show up demanding money people never made in the first place, you need attack dogs and thumbscrews to get it, and even that often doesn't work. Perhaps the IRS could contract with FARC to assist with collection efforts. Still, FARC isn't really doing that well, so I conclude that a substantial shortfall in revenue will occur.

We now understand why those OWS people have to create their alternate realities and their "people's libraries". Following the best precepts of post-modernism, they're trying to create an alternate narrative to create a new world. Unfortunately, they are all liberal arts students, so they fail to realize that the mathematics in the textbooks has something to do with the real world, and that no matter how often you insist that 2 plus 2 might equal 5 or even 6 or 10 or perhaps 120, when the bondholders open up the sack they always find 4. Then they sell your bonds.

Reality, she's a mathematical bitch from hell.

Don't sweat it, MOM, the Dems will makeup the shortfall with the money resulting from winding down the wars in Afstan and Iraq. It's taken care of!
Oh, WHY didn't I think of that?

Perhaps we should also cancel our planned conquest of Asia, and use the savings to pay off the 4 trillion dollar rise in Debt Held By The Public in the last three years!

If the SSA tax withheld on paychecks is cut in half, with the implication that it is the employees half that is being cut out, leaving the employer to pay the entire amount (implied), wouldn't the employer simply adjust wages accordingly (downward) to make up for his increased SSA obligation?

I might have a slightly erroneous read on the structure of the tax-cut and if so, please go easy on me. I'm assuming that .gov isn't really thinking of taking in less $$ for SSA, they just are playing a shell game with all actors involved. I don't work for WaPo, I promise ;)
The tax cut on the employee's portion is 3.1% (1/2 of 6.2%), which is half of the total 12.4% employer + employee SS/Disability tax. In Obama's proposal for 2012 there is also a tax break on the first 5 million in payroll for many employers. The employer will under no circumstances pay more.

In 2011 only the employee received the tax cut and the percent cut was 2%, but the employer's obligations did not change. And yes, the result is to cut SS taxes by probably around 108 billion over 2011. The SS bookkeeping is adjusted by running a higher cash deficit and crediting the money to the SS funds as paid in. However, since we cannot borrow the money in the fund for very long, and since there is no money in the fund without the practical ability to borrow (it is a legal authority to borrow that depends on the willingness of lenders), it did in fact cut future SS benefits.

The problem with cutting payroll taxes is that you can't easily back off it without taking one in the economic kisser. However SS/DI is running a deficit now even if all the taxes were being paid (more would be paid out in benefits than comes in taxes), so this is accelerating our dive into financial disaster.
Dagnabbit, MOM, you just threw cold water on this ingenious scheme to redistribute the wealth. The Dems and WaPo must use the same math that Greece has been using.

We are in an alternate universe. Have been since January 2009.
Dagnabbit, MOM, you just threw cold water on this ingenious scheme to redistribute the wealth. The Dems and WaPo must use the same math that Greece has been using.

We are in an alternate universe. Have been since January 2009.
Why do people study journalism?

Because math is hard.
I came up with a new tax plan last night at the grocery store. Raise taxes 20% on anyone featured on the cover of a tabloid! If Demi and Ashton can afford a $290 million divorce, surely they can afford to pay their fair share.
In Politico, John Podesta says opposition to extending the payroll tax cuts proves Republicans are interested only in "helping the wealthiest 1 percent and hurting President Barack Obama." Welcome to Bizarro World.
Warren - they're lying deliberately, sure. I believe WaPo is complicit, definitely.

But regardless, both are dumb because they are assuming that the Republicans won't respond with the clearly evident truth that it is a lie, and that the public is going to be so dumb they won't realize that it is a lie.
Carl, yeah, it's a talking point. That's the only purpose of the thing.
>>> Taking off our shoes and socks (the digital math revolution at WaPo - classes held every Thursday at lunch in the main conference room)

You know, if they take off their clothes, they can count to 21 if they're men, 22 if they're women.

...Not suggesting they count that high in public, mind you.

LOL, Star Trekkie word verif: "glingons" -- libtards glitter-bombing people while dressed as Klingons?
>>> use the savings to pay off the 4 trillion dollar rise in Debt Held By The Public in the last three years!

I think it's rather clear that the only solution to this is going to be the lie of the Printing Press.

The chief question is if we'll get busy with the lie before we get Weimar'd or Zimbabwe'd.
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