Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Perry Shooting From The Hip

The media is still all atwitter over Governor Perry’s critical remarks about the President and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve.  Questioning the President’s patriotism and accusing the Fed. Chair of treason does tend to get a reaction.  Several key members of Perry’s own party, including Karl Rove, took Perry to task.  The President, to his credit, gave Perry as pass.  No sense talking down to a guy who isn’t even his party’s nominee.
Perry’s comments, while inflammatory and grist for those of us who dwell in the blogosphere are not as alarming as the underreported statements he made several days earlier.
Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus reports that on August 13 Perry said the following: “We’re dismayed at the injustice that nearly half of all Americans don’t even pay any income tax.” Perry would have us believe that the reason behind this injustice is because we are a nation of loafers and slackers who would rather live on the government dole than do an honest day’s works.  Perry vows that if elected President he will eliminate that injustice just as he did in Texas.     
Perry is correct…in part. 
According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center 46.4 % of households will owe no federal income tax in 2011.  But that is not because people choose to sit on their ass as Perry would have us believe.  It is because they are working but don’t earn enough money to owe income taxes. 
Marcus quotes the Tax Policy Center’s Roberton Williams who states: “a couple with two children earning less than $26,400 will pay no federal income tax this year because their $11,600 standard deduction and four exemptions of $3,700 each reduce their taxable income to zero.  The basic structure of the income tax simply exempts subsistence levels of income from tax.” 
And while these people pay no federal income tax they are still obligated to pay state and local sales, income and property taxes as well as federal gasoline tax, excise taxes, and payroll taxes.
So with all that is wrong with our economy and the tax code Perry would have us focus on “correcting” the sections that give relief to those who are struggling at or near poverty levels while leaving in place tax breaks for the rich.
This is just more of Perry playing fast and loose with the facts.  He is good at that. 
He talks about all of the job growth that he developed in Texas during his term as governor.  He fails to tell you that most of those jobs were low paying minimum wage jobs.  In fact his fair state of Texas leads the country in the number of minimum wage jobs.  The people that hold these low paying jobs work hard; and because they make so little they do not pay federal income taxes.  These people who work the jobs that Perry proudly claims credit for bringing to Texas are the very people he criticizes for not paying taxes.
But that’s just Perry shooting from the hip.        

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