18 Comments

  1. Wow, that would revolutionize politics in the US. Everytime someone said something stupid like ‘Foreign aid is 20% of the US budget’, you could just look at them and reply ‘didn’t you even READ your tax receipt this year?’

    1. But that would require them to:

      1) read
      2) accept facts

      If I’ve learned nothing else in 40 years on this planet, its that people generally don’t read a lot and they don’t readily accept facts, preferring the mythology instead.

      1. Just like you are both doing by accepting this so-called “tax receipt”. It’s a transparent attempt at obfuscating the fact that the “tax cuts” this group are calling for would lower the taxes ONLY on the top 2% income earners; those very people who pay the LEAST in taxes overall (when you aggregate ALL taxes: FICA, Income Tax, Sales Taxes, etc…). Third Way is arguing for extending the Bush tax cuts NOT on the middle class (and the example given is not even middle class by any existing standard), but ONLY on those making 250K+. The rest of the Dems are already in favor of extending the Bush cuts for those making less than 250K, so this group CANNOT claim ownership of that plan, WHICH THEY REJECT AND HAVE STATED THEY WOULD VOTE AGAINST.

        The reality is that “what you pay for” is far more complex than “Third Way” would have you believe; If you make 30K, yes, most of your FEDERAL taxes are FICA, so they go to Social Security and Medicare. But if the rich are given a rebate, it’s those making 30K who will have to shoulder a greater burden of taxes, by absorbing greater State taxes because the Feds have to cut payment to the states for things like National Security. It’s certainly the case in quite a few States already as a result of the Bush tax cuts.

  2. Don’t be fooled by this group. “Third Way” isn’t a “think tank,” but a front group for Wall Street conservatives trying to permanently move the Democratic Party over to their conservative “free market,” anti-tax cause. Its board of directors is made up of almost all Wall Street investment bankers, hedge fund managers, venture capitalists, etc. And its “advisory board” is made up of conservative Blue Dog and “New Democrats” who are currently stumping to renew the Bush tax cuts for the top 1% of Americans.

    Their agenda isn’t noble. Its oligarchy.

      1. Uh… no. The Blue Dogs “Democrats” are really old-style Republicans who don’t have any place in the GOP now that it’s been taken over by the teabag loons.

  3. What bothers me most is the low funding for the Pell Grant. This is of particular concern and irritation to me because of the way it can be awarded. I qualified for a $500 Pell Grant, but was denied it by my (public) university after I applied for a federal loan to cover the rest of my expenses. It may not seem like a lot of money in the total cost of my college education, but it has put me that much further into debt.
    Low income students, which I define as not being able to pay the full cost of college through their or their parent’s savings/earnings, have enough problems paying for college without being denied grants just because they begrudgingly agree to start digging themselves into a hole with debt in the hopes that they might better themselves with a good education.
    Unfortunately, my demographic has the worst voting record, so I doubt this is going to be a top political issue any time soon.

  4. That list is BS. It’s a verifiable fact that the single largest item in the US Budget is Military spending. Yet this list puts “Social Security” first? Note that they cheated here: they used a low-income family, which would pay a significantly higher amount in FICA taxes than income taxes. That’s why they end up with Social Security and Medicare at the top of the list (which are paid by FICA, NOT income taxes). The higher you get up the income ladder, the less you pay, relatively speaking, in FICA taxes, and the more you pay in income taxes (well…. theoretically; there are so many loopholes that once you hit the 250K mark, you start paying less and less in income taxes).

    This is righty trope.

    1. From the PDF describing the receipt:

      How is this done? It’s really very easy. The total amount of federal spending is the denominator and the amount of money spent on a particular program is the numerator. The resulting quotient is the percentage of all federal spending that goes to that program. For example, the amount of money spent on Pell Grants in fiscal year 2009 was $19.38 billion, which is divided by total federal spending of $3.518 tril- lion. This means that 0.55% of all federal spending went to Pell Grants. Multiply this number by the amount a taxpayer paid in taxes (in this case $5,400) and that means this person contributed $29.75 to Pell Grants.”

      So what you are saying is basically false. The receipt does not look to be customized to each tax payer, other than to convert the percentages into dollars based on your total tax bill. I imagine for someone making a million $ it will show more paid in Social Security than the person actually paid, so it is certainly flawed. But I don’t see how it’s flawed to support one group over another.

      As far as the military being over 50% of the budget, I have looked for the supporting numbers and I wasn’t able to find them. Can you please provide a reference?

      1. Please see my other comments for how they used misleading accounting in their little attempt at obfuscation. But

        1. I never used the number 50% for military spending. I simply said it was the biggest item in the U.S. budget by far, which is a fact. The number is close to 25% on an average year, bigger than Social Security or Medicare. It’s also misleading in that Military spending is itemized and split between a number of different items, and that large parts of military spending (such as spending related to contractors, which a large portion is part of the State Dept budget) have not been included.

        2. If their methodology is as they say, then it’s even more misleading, since a person making 30K pays more as a percentage of total Federal Taxes in FICA than someone making 100K. They are oversimplifying a complex situation for political gain.

        3. All this completely forgets State and Municipal taxes, which are overwhelmingly shouldered by the middle class. And any reduction in Federal income will have a direct impact in either loss of services or increase in taxes at those levels, as we have seen repeatedly over the last 30 years.

        This is a political hack job, pure and simple.

      2. DR, Sorry I attributed the 50% number to you. I was thinking of another discussion regarding the pie charts that I see as bumper stickers where half is red (military). I was thinking you were referring to this.

        There really isn’t one correct grouping. Some may want to see how the wars in Iraq and Afganistan are paid for, independent of military retirement benefits. Others will want to group it all as military to show how big our defense/offense budget is. Ideally there should be an interactive site where you can slice and dice the data anyway you want.

        Sure, I think they could do better and show actual usage of revenues on an individual basis. But that’s a much more difficult process and would require detailed knowledge of your finances. But it should be easy for the IRS to do this.

        Sure, state and municipal taxes should be broken down as well. But I still fail to see how this is a solely a political hack job. At least it’s transparent, and much more helpful than listening to rhetoric from most politicians.

    1. Problem with that chart is that, IIRC, spending on Iraq and Afghanistan is not included in the military spending block… It certainly was not for the entirety of the Bush administration.

  5. See, if you disconnect Medicare and Social Security, which is funded with specific taxes just for those programs, you’d have a chart about federal income taxes.

    Then, if you combined the war costs and military personnel into one unit, it would be on top.

  6. Honestly, I thought the “Interest on National Dept” was out highest payment but I guess I might have been wrong. I’ll have to look into it. What I didn’t see was “Subsidy’s for Farm/Mining/Etc.”
    From a few of the posts, I see that “accepting the facts” has already gone by the wayside. We are back to the norm:
    “I read it on the Internets so it must be true” or “I disagree without any substantial proof that it’s false, so it must be wrong”.

  7. Keep your reciept and the lies that go along with it. I served in the military and had the GI Bill which I put 1,200 into in order to get 10,800. After I got honorably discharged I was also able to get a pell grant. After Bush was elected the GI Bill (reimbursement) was considered income. My school increased in costs and my income dropped to almost nothing. So instead of getting both GI Bill and Pell Grant I only “qualified” for GI Bill, which came to the same amount 1,200. On top of that I was hit hard by the Savings and Loan Crisis.
    My education experience means I am not going to contribute to some “bankers” so they can get rich and keep me down. Clinton kept up with the same Bush policies and I have no time for a bunch of supporters who think government is grand. Last thing I need in my life is some institution created by a bunch of attorneys.

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