Statistics in search of an argument |

Statistics in search of an argument

Ben Justus


I am not a fan of President Obama’s policies therefore writing this is not a pleasure.

It has been said that statistics are nothing but a bunch of numbers looking for an argument. I don’t know from where Governor Romney got his infamous 47 percent or opinions about them. From IRS’ latest published 2009 tax statistics 58.8 percent of the returns with an adjusted gross income, AGI, under $50,000 paid no income tax. With numbers from the Census Bureau approximately 49.1 percent of the estimated 225 million over the age of 19 paid no income tax.

How is it that the governor characterizes his 2011 tax return as merely paying what was legally due yet he suggested the 47 percent were idle ne’er do wells? They also paid no more than what was legally due.

As for the governor’s remarks that the 47 percent felt the government owed them, the vast majority of those with an AGI less than $50,000 would greatly desire to not be dependent on anyone including the government. Many are scrambling to just meet basic essentials and need not be characterized as shiftless dependents.

Gov. Romney made a reported $13.69 million in 2011 paying a low 14.1 percent in taxes. Yet, in 2009 those with an AGI of less than $1 million but more than half a million paid an average 24 percent.

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What does this say about someone making far in excess of $10 million not paying anywhere near even the average tax for income levels far below his and thinking of it as merely legal and proper as opposed to others not contributing their fair share? Would the words greed or arrogance be appropriate?

It is also of interest that many of those crucifying the governor are the very ones who helped pass, and themselves take advantage of, the same tax codes that make his tax return legal. How about the word hypocrite for them?

A good start to stopping the deficit would be to adjust the basic tax rate along with removing the grossly unfair tax advantages available to and taken by a number of the extremely wealthy. This can be coupled with those making above a certain amount not being eligible for government entitlements. Someone with a significant income does not need Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, Obamacare or other government benefits.

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