In the video below, Senator McCaskill flexes her political skill of making unreasonable things sound almost reasonable.
There’s much wrong with what Senator McCaskill says in the press conference.
For example, at the :45 second mark, McCaskill claims that since 70% of Americans do not itemize taxes, the tax code was written for wealthy Americans. That’s a difficult claim to make in light of the facts Don Boudreaux highlights and links to in this blog post yesterday on Cafe Hayek.
As Boudreaux points out,
…the top 1 percent of income-earning households – surely “the wealthy” – they paid a whopping 38 percent of federal personal income tax revenue.
A reasonable question is what percentage of the income did that 1% of taxpayers earn? According to the link Boudreaux provides in his post, that 1% earned 20% of the income. So, the super wealthy pay taxes nearly double the proportion of the income they earn. If the tax code has been written for them, as McCaskill claims, it seems like that proportion would be much less.
Advice to reporters: I’d be interested to know what proportion of taxes McCaskill thinks the top 1% should pay, that way we can see how far from her mark we are and we can prevent ourselves from getting stuck in this arbitrary quagmire of her saying the “rich should pay more” no matter how much they are already paying. Please ask her.
At the 1:30 mark McCaskill says:
…because they’re [Republicans] going to pout if we don’t give more money to millionaires…
Emphasis added. Letting millionaires keep money they earn and already pay substantial taxes on is not the same as giving money to millionaires. I’d appreciate honesty here. If McCaskill can’t be honest voluntarily, I’d appreciate it if reporters held her accountable.
Good reporter question: Senator, You said Republicans want to give more money to millionaires. Is that what you meant? It seems you are really talking about letting them keep more of what they earn.
I recommend the following revision to McCaskill’s remark:
…because they’re [Republicans] going to pout because we want to take more money from millionaires…
Addendum: Thomas Sowell covers the same topic today in his column, Rhetoric Rises Again. Sowell’s words:
When you refrain from raising someone’s taxes, you are not “giving” them anything. Even if you were actually cutting their tax rate– which is out of the question today– you would still not be “giving” them anything, but only allowing them to keep more of what they have earned.
Is the government doing any of us a big favor by not taking even more of what we have worked for? Is it not an insult to our intelligence to say that the government is “giving” us something by not taxing it away?