Politics & Policy

Let Us Now Praise the 1 Percent

The president senselessly demagogues America’s upper class.

The scariest thing about lies is that if they are repeated often enough, people eventually assume that they are true, especially when they go largely unchallenged by the victims of those very lies.

The president of the United States has lied so often about “the 1 percent” that even House speaker John Boehner, and some wobbly Republicans, have swallowed Obama’s toxic fiction that “fairness” requires the rich to surrender more of their money to Washington — albeit through narrower deductions rather than higher tax rates.

Washington’s problem is not a paucity of revenues but a nicotine-like addiction to blowing through other people’s money, coupled with a lust for Chinese debt. Thus, Republicans from Boehner on down should reject tax hikes on anyone, especially to satisfy Obama’s obsession with putting America’s most successful citizens in their place.

Obama has had America’s top earners in his crosshairs for years:

#ad#‐ “I do think at a certain point, you’ve made enough money,” Obama said in April 2010.

‐ “If asking a millionaire to pay the same tax rate as a plumber makes me a class warrior — a warrior for the working class — I will accept that,” Obama stated in September 2011. “I will wear that charge as a badge of honor.”

‐ “Some billionaires have a tax rate as low as 1 percent — 1 percent,” Obama announced in December 2011. “That is the height of unfairness.” For this statement, the Washington Post awarded Obama three Pinocchios and added, “An administration official conceded the White House had no actual data to back up the president’s assertion.”

‐ And, perhaps most notoriously, in July Obama declared: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

While Obama loudly excoriates the wealthy, the Tax Foundation quietly analyzed the latest IRS data on the 135,033,492 income-tax returns filed in 2010. The facts pulverize Obama’s lies.

First, the top 1 percent does pay its “fair share” of taxes. The top 1 percent of tax filers — Americans with adjusted gross incomes of at least $369,691 — earned 18.9 percent of national income. And those who filed these 1,350,335 returns paid 37.4 percent of all income taxes (For these purposes, the IRS’s count of 1040 income-tax returns reflects not the number of Americans filing taxes, but the number of “tax units.” A tax unit is either an individual or a married couple filing jointly — along with their dependents. However, the particular set of figures discussed here excludes dependent filers, such as child stars with their own incomes.)

The top 10 percent made at least $116,623 each. Those who submitted these 13,503,349 returns earned 45.2 percent of national income and paid 70.6 percent of all income taxes.

If these taxpayers are not paying their fair share, Obama should specify what he considers a “fair” percentage.

Meanwhile, the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers made less than $34,338 each. This group earned 11.7 percent of national income, but paid just 2.4 percent of all income taxes. The reviled 1 percent coughed up 16 times this amount.

Also, the entire bottom half of tax filers paid a 2.4 percent average tax rate on their 67,516,746 tax returns, while the top 1 percent paid 23.4 percent — nearly 10 times as much.

So much for the vicious lie that the poor and middle class bear America’s tax burden while the rich laugh all the way to the Caymans.

Second, many 1 percenters launch and expand companies, invest their earnings, purchase goods and services, and conduct economic activity that creates and sustains the jobs and careers of Americans who aren’t as wealthy.

According to Bloomberg News: “53 percent of business income reported on individual income tax returns is earned by taxpayers who would be affected by Obama’s proposal” to boost taxes on those whom Obama denounces as “millionaires and billionaires.” Of course, Obamathematics defines “millionaires and billionaires” as married couples who earn at least $250,000 and individuals who make more than $200,000.

Third, the top 1 percent handsomely finances charities.

The 2012 Bank of America Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy (in conjunction with the University of Indiana’s Center for the Study of Philanthropy) just surveyed 701 Americans with an average net worth of $10.7 million.

In 2011, 95.4 percent of these “plutocrats” gave to charity. Among the general population, 65.4 percent made charitable donations.

These wealthy individuals last year donated $52,770, on average, or 8.7 percent of their personal income.

Beyond writing checks, 88.5 percent of these people volunteered. These Americans volunteered an average of 254 hours in 2011. This equals more than ten full days or 31 eight-hour shifts in which they rolled up their sleeves to advance their favorite causes.

So, are 1 percenters monsters?

You bet!

These monsters pay most of Uncle Sam’s bills, keep companies running, underwrite charities, and even contribute their valuable time.

One way to repel these unjustified, baseless assaults on America’s highest achievers (at least monetarily) is for the 1 percent to speak up already! When the 1 percent maintains a low profile, that just invites fresh floggings in the dark.

Instead, they should handle this bully the only way that bullies respect: By defending themselves.

Publicly and vocally, 1 percenters should stand up and shout:

“Mr. President, my company hired X number of people last year. I obeyed the law and legally paid Y thousands (or millions) in taxes, which financed plenty of the social spending, ‘investments,’ and other stimuli that you love to spread around to other people. I gave Z thousands in charitable donations, and volunteered so many hours to help groups that are making people’s lives better.

“So, Mr. President, please kindly remove your boots from the necks of me and my fellow 1 percenters. If you stop manhandling us, we will do what we do best: produce goods, services, and more wealth for ourselves — yes — but also for our customers, our employees, our shareholders, and even our U.S. Treasury.

“We are not part of the problem, Mr. President. We are part of the solution. And we demand to be treated that way.”

The 1 percent deserves a pat on the back, not the back of Obama’s hand.

— Deroy Murdock is a New York–based Fox News contributor, a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service, and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online.

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