Facts and Factoids


Politifact pretended to do some fact checking in the article Rand Paul’s claim about taxes went over poorly on The View, but it was pretty accurate.

“We’ve taken the poor off of the rolls. They don’t pay income tax any more. Most people below $50,000 don’t pay any income tax,” Paul said during the Oct. 11 episode. “The top 1 percent in our country pay 40%.”

This is what I call a factoid. It is a fact out of context that is supposed to engender a certain feeling in you. If you put it in the context of the percentage of income and wealth that the top 1% has, then it would not seem like the rich are overburdened. The panel on the TV show The View are just not qualified to present useful information to the public about the subject. What is the morality of pretending that they are qualified? How many people know that The View is a case of the uninformed trying to inform others who are uninformed?

Here is a piece of context that Politifact added.

The picture shifts once you include other types of federal taxation. Those below $50,000 still pay a small share of the full federal tax burden, but the share paid by the top 1% falls to about 30%

Here is something from 2007 data in a 2012 article from The Dreaded New York TImes, Measuring the Top 1% by Wealth, Not Income.

But an analysis of the Fed data is still revealing in that it shows the wealth gap, as measured by net worth, is much more extreme than the chasm as measured by income.

This is another excerpt from the 2007 data. Remember that inequality has grown significantly since 2007 before the economic crash.

The wealthiest 1 percent took in about 16 percent of overall income — 8 percent of the money earned from salaries and wages, but 36 percent of the income earned from self-employment.

I still have not found the figure that gives the percentage of wealth owned by the top 1%. Remember that the wealth grows as stock prices rise, but until the stock is sold, the paper gain is not considered income. It is “unrealized” capital gains that do not get taxed.

Here is some info from the WikiPedia article Wealth inequality in the United States.

Just prior to President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union Address, media[7] reported that the top wealthiest 1% possess 40% of the nation’s wealth; the bottom 80% own 7%; similarly, but later, the media reported, the “richest 1 percent in the United States now own more additional income than the bottom 90 percent”.[8] The gap between the top 10% and the middle class is over 1,000%; that increases another 1,000% for the top 1%.

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