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Letters to the Editor

‘Batchelder logic’

Mike Brake September 14th, 2011

Poor Nathaniel Batchelder (Letters, “Lankford and the Bush trifecta,” Aug. 31, Gazette). His frequent letters here are always a convoluted intellectual wrestling match between fact and fantasy, with a dollop of hypocrisy for spice. Such was his recent offering, which postulated that, a) the national debt is really G.W. Bush’s fault, and, b) the answer is to raise taxes, on the “rich,” of course.

Some facts intervene with this illogic. We added roughly $607 billion per year to the debt under the Bush administration … a shabby record no doubt, and one I deplore. But the first three years of the Obama administration have added an average of $1.116 trillion annually to the deficit. At that rate, four years of Obama spending will effectively equal eight of Bush’s, and a second Obama term would undoubtedly make him the all-time deficit champ.

To the incessant liberal litany that the “rich” need to pay “their fair share” of taxes, one can only note these IRS figures:

The top 1 percent of all earners pay 40 percent of all federal income taxes. The top 5 percent pay 60 percent. The top 25 percent pay 86 percent of all income taxes, and the bottom 50 percent pay only 3 percent of taxes. It’s fairly obvious that you can only soak the “rich” so much.

Batchelder logic is always entertaining, but rarely enlightening.

—Mike Brake
Oklahoma City

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09.14.2011 at 01:49 Reply

That's an interesting read.  Where on the IRS website can I find these statistics?  After all, I can no more take you for your word than Mickey McVay, and I've already proven him wrong today.

Oh what they hell.  Deciphering the IRS statistics page is a nightmare of Biblical proportions, but here is a handy link that puts things into perspective.

To quote a popular internet meme, “I see what you did there.”  You attempt to juxtapose the amount the wealthy cumulatively pay in taxes vs. the actual average tax rates paid out by the bottom 50% of tax payers.  Those are actually two different metrics.  So, let’s post the numbers that REALLY matter; the average tax rate for each income group. 

All Taxpayers     --->      12.24%

Top 1% --->      23.27%

1-5%     --->      17.21%

Top 5% --->      20.70%

5-10%   --->      12.44%

Top 10%            --->      18.71%

10-25% --->      9.29%

Top 25%            --->      15.68%

25-50% --->      6.75%

Top 50%            --->      13.65%

Bottom 50%       --->      2.59%

Now, don’t get me wrong, the amount in taxes that the wealthy pay each year is pretty close to the numbers you threw out there.  But you’re holding them up next to a percentage that the poor pay, and now wool you tried to pull over the readers eyes becomes transparent.  You literally weighed apples to oranges!

And yes, the wealthy do pay more.  However, according to my information the people in the Top 1% pay an average of 23.27% which is significantly lower than their actual tax rate of 35%. Now, if you like, I’ll be more than happy to support a tax system which doesn’t allow for any tax breaks/deductions, but that would put the wealthy on the hook for the whole 35%.  Which would you prefer?

Alternately we need to look at certain deductions.  A good example of how deductions alter tax rate can be the deduction one takes for having children.  If I am a single parent working minimum wage, I’ll have a take home pay of less than $15,000.  So it stands to reason that listing my child as a deduction will significantly decrease my over all tax rate when compared to someone who takes home $1,500,000.  You can apply that to any deduction, the less you make, the more significant the reduction in percentage.

I suppose I’ve probably wasted my time here since most of the conservatives prefer to put their comments in the paper instead of facing their rebuke online.  That’s a tad pathetic because you refuse to back up your claims with actual relative facts.  But should you manage to find me here, feel free to engage me. 

Ironically, what you said about Batchelder’s logic being entertaining but rarely enlightening can easily be applied to the exaggerations you employed to discredit him.