The 102% Tax Rate February 7, 2012March 27, 2017 DOUBLE TAXATION – III Andrew Long: ‘You’ve missed the most important form of double taxation. As you know, a very high percentage of the retail cost of liquor is due to various taxes. To make matters worse, I pay sales tax on liquor INCLUDING THE AMOUNT THAT IS DUE TO TAXES. Oh, the humanity. Imagine how much more drunk we could all get without this unfair double taxation.’ NON-PROFIT INEFFICIENCIES Fred Campbell: ‘Considering your column yesterday, I thought you might enjoy this exchange I had with a local charity. I wrote: ‘I received a phone call solicitation on behalf of the Firefighters Burn Fund the other night. You sound like a great organization but I wanted to find out what percentage of each contribution is used for administrative purposes and what percent actually go to the victims?’ They replied: ‘We find it necessary to use professional fund raisers at this time as we are a new organization. Their percentage is typically 80%. Thanks for your kind consideration.” This is of course no more reason to berate all nonprofits than are $600 hammers reason to berate all government or is the Sirius Satellite billing department reason to berate all private enterprise. What I object to are large swaths of the Republican Party agreeing that we should shrink government to the size it can be drowned in the bathtub. I don’t hear them saying that about the private or non-profit sectors. THE 102% TAX RATE By James B. Stewart, here. Jim is quick to note, ‘That doesn’t mean Mr. Ross pays more in taxes than he earns. His total tax as a percentage of his adjusted gross income was 20 percent.’ (You’ll have to read the story to see why.) ‘One thing that emerged loud and clear,’ he writes, ‘is that a large swath of hard-working people are paying a high rate and are furious about it – not because they object to paying taxes, even high taxes, but because so many people, even billionaires, pay at a much lower rate than they do.’ ☞ If Romney were smart, he’d say, ‘It’s crazy that people like me pay such a low tax rate. I have the expertise – and the Street cred – to fix that. And if you elect me, I will.’ Instead, he defends the status quo . . . that his lobbyists helped create. INNUMERACY From former Congressman Alan Grayson: Something caught my eye a few months ago. International standardized tests in mathematics now put U.S. students at or near the bottom, in the entire developed world. Which is really odd, when you think about it. After all, 2+2=4 in New York, Tokyo, and everywhere else I know. One recent exam (results here) put U.S. students 31st in the world in math — just a few points higher than the very bottom among the OECD (i.e., developed) countries. One earlier exam, called TIMSS, had U.S. twelfth-graders at the very bottom of the OECD in math. So the government stopped giving that test to U.S. twelfth-graders. Yes, that certainly solves that problem. So why is this? Whatever the reason is, it certainly isn’t spending. In education, as in health, the United States spends more per capita than any other country. The Economist, a conservative British news magazine, offered this illuminating explanation, from Oxford University: ‘Despite rising attainment levels,’ [the Oxford study] concludes, ‘there has been little narrowing of longstanding and sizeable attainment gaps. Those from disadvantaged backgrounds remain at higher risks of poor outcomes.’ American studies confirm the point; Dan Goldhaber of the University of Washington claims that ‘non-school factors,’ such as family income, account for as much as 60% of a child’s performance in school. So because America has the fifth most unequal distribution of wealth in the entire world, America also has some of the worst math scores in the entire world. It’s as simple as 2+2=4. No wonder the 99% is angry; it’s getting to the point where a lot of us don’t even know what ‘99%’ means. Why should we be surprised that the poor can’t count? In Mitt Romney’s America, they don’t count. Honestly, we can’t go on like this. Courage, Alan Grayson P.S. The highest math scores in the world were in China. Communist China.