Which I know is not a nice thing to say, and I suppose we should blame Fox News for hiring her — but really: how can you be given national exposure as a personal finance expert when you argue, as Gerri Willis  does here, that the average family will be paying 50% of its income in taxes next year?  Her piece is headlined:  Half Your Paycheck to the Government in 2013.

. . . All told, next year, total taxes will go to almost 50% for the middle class; the very group that the president says he wants to protect. That means 50 cents out of every dollar earned has to go to the government. Half of everything will go to an entity that didn’t earn that money, and shouldn’t be entitled to all that dough.

Unbelievable. . . .

Well of course it’s unbelievable, you nitwit — it’s not true.  On the last $1,000 you earn, close to half might go in taxes, if you bend over backwards to count your employer’s share of payroll taxes and sales taxes and your state and local income tax that the President has no sway over.  But that’s what’s called the “marginal” tax rate.  You don’t pay it on all your income.  How did you get to be Fox’s top finance guru not understanding that?

Take a married couple earning $35,000 each — $70,000 — with two kids at home and no special deductions and what’s their income tax?  About $4,500.  True, with FICA taken out, it’s more like $10,000 — but FICA provides this hypothetical couple disability insurance and survivor’s benefits and keeps their parents from needing to live with them and entitles them to expect a subsistence safety net of their own when they’re old.  And, in any event, $10,000 is not anywhere close to “50%” of $70,000, nor is it even anywhere close to 25% of $70,000, so why is this woman on TV?  And how is Fox serving its viewers, really?  Or, at the end of the day, does it exist simply to exploit a marketing niche, like professional wrestling, except that this marketing niche — amplified by rich and powerful people using it to further their own ends — is tragically huge, and the audience in this particular niche does not, for the most part, realize that it’s all kinda fake.

Excuse the italics, but when my pal Zac Bissonnette sent me this link it made me almost as nuts as it had made him.  (Zac notes that Ms. Willis, formerly of CNN, adopted Fox’s political slant only after they started paying her, and suggests there’s a word for such a person — “and it’s not ‘journalist.'”)

FILIBUSTER REFORM

Sign here.  I’m so happy Elizabeth Warren is planning to spend her first day in the Senate fighting for this.  She has a lot of company, too.  Wouldn’t it be great if a lone senator couldn’t easily block a bill the country wants? or keep an important job unfilled for a year?  There’s some hope for our dysfunctional government yet.

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