Obama Declares War

by Gerri Willis

Fairness.

It was a big question in last night's State of the Union Address. And President Obama was pretty clear about who he thinks is getting the raw end of the deal.

"We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by,” he said. “Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules."

The President is vowing to use the power of government to close the gap between the super rich and the middle class.

He is demanding millionaires pay at least 30% tax rates, tapping into perceived public anger at low rates paid by the rich including Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

But here's where the lines between reality and rhetoric are completely blurred.

The truth is even the richest among us - the Romneys, the Buffetts - don't just pay a 15% rate.

According to Americans for Tax Reform, capital gains and dividends actually face a tax rate of closer to 45% because the money used to make these investments were already taxed usually at the 35% mark.

But this math seems to be getting into the weeds so let's simplify it.

The wealthy in this country, you know the bad guys, are already paying their fair share.

It really is that simple!

According to the I.R.S, not some right-wing radical think tank, the top 10% of earners in America pay nearly 70% of the Federal Income tax.

This big piece of the pie - with just 10% of American workers in it - pays 70%!

Breaking it down even further, the top 5% pays well over half the income taxes:

Again the balance is way off, and get this: the top 1%, the people getting hammered by protesters on Wall Street and others on the left, these big bad one percenters pay more than 38% of all Federal Income tax.

You tell me if that seems fair!

And if we're talking fairness here, it's not just about how much is paid in taxes. It's also about where the money goes and who gets what in return.

That again - to me - is not fair!

The tax foundation did an in-depth accounting study of Washington's "redistribution of wealth." Here's what they found.

The bottom 60% of families - those earning less than $85,000 a year - pay about $17,000 a year in taxes. But the benefits they receive from the government - everything from national defense to welfare - tops $20,000 a year!

And look at the lowest income Americans - those making less than $11,000 a year.

Their share of the taxes are about $1,700, but they get $17,000 worth of benefits!

In other words, they get more than $10 in benefits for every dollar they paid in taxes of any kind!

Even middle-class families get $1.15 for for every dollar paid.

Let's look at the flip side: the top 40%.

A family earning between $86,000 - $110,000 a year - comes out about even... 98 cents on the dollar.

But the wealthiest - those earning more than $712,000 - received only 43 cents on the dollar!

Mr. President, maybe it's time we stop worrying about what's fair, and start worrying about what works.

Nobody - left, right or center - thinks our current tax code is working.

It's time we take away the loopholes, the lobbyists, the long-wording, and switch to a flat tax.

Everyone cuts a check to the I.R.S. Everyone pays the same rate.

Because, let's be honest, 15% of $39 billion dollars is a heck of a lot more money than Warren Buffett's secretary pays.