September 20th, 2011
The Huffington Post
By: Stephen Ohlemacher
President Barack Obama makes it sound as if there are millionaires all over America paying taxes at lower rates than their secretaries.
“Middle-class families shouldn’t pay higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires,” Obama said Monday. “That’s pretty straightforward. It’s hard to argue against that.”
The data tell a different story. On average, the wealthiest people in America pay a lot more taxes than the middle class or the poor, according to private and government data. They pay at a higher rate, and as a group, they contribute a much larger share of the overall taxes collected by the federal government.
There may be individual millionaires who pay taxes at rates lower than middle-income workers. In 2009, 1,470 households filed tax returns with incomes above $1 million yet paid no federal income tax, according to the Internal Revenue Service. That, however, was less than 1 percent of the nearly 237,000 returns with incomes above $1 million.
In his White House address Monday, Obama called on Congress to increase taxes by $1.5 trillion as part of a 10-year deficit reduction package totaling more than $3 trillion. He proposed that Congress overhaul the tax code and impose what he called the “Buffett rule,” named for billionaire investor Warren Buffett.
The rule says, “People making more than $1 million a year should not pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than middle-class families pay.”
“Warren Buffett’s secretary shouldn’t pay a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett. There is no justification for it,” Obama said. “It is wrong that in the United States of America, a teacher or a nurse or a construction worker who earns $50,000 should pay higher tax rates than somebody pulling in $50 million.”
Buffett wrote in a recent piece for The New York Times that the tax rate he paid last year was lower than that paid by any of the other 20 people in his office.
This year, households making more than $1 million will pay an average of 29.1 percent of their income in federal taxes, including income taxes and payroll taxes, according to the Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank.
Households making between $50,000 and $75,000 will pay 15 percent of their income in federal taxes.
Lower-income households will pay less. For example, households making between $40,000 and $50,000 will pay an average of 12.5 percent of their income in federal taxes. Households making between $20,000 and $30,000 will pay 5.7 percent.
The latest IRS figures are a few years older – and limited to federal income taxes – but show much the same thing. In 2009, taxpayers who made $1 million or more paid on average 24.4 percent of their income in federal income taxes, according to the IRS.
Those making $100,000 to $125,000 paid on average 9.9 percent in federal income taxes. Those making $50,000 to $60,000 paid an average of 6.3 percent.
Obama’s claim hinges on the fact that, for high-income families and individuals, investment income is often taxed at a lower rate than wages. The top tax rate for dividends and capital gains is 15 percent. The top marginal tax rate for wages is 35 percent, though that is reserved for taxable income above $379,150.
With tax rates that high, why do so many people pay at lower rates? Because the tax code is riddled with more than $1 trillion in deductions, exemptions and credits, and they benefit people at every income level, according to data from the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress’ official scorekeeper on revenue issues.
The Tax Policy Center estimates that 46 percent of households, mostly low- and medium-income households, will pay no federal income taxes this year. Most, however, will pay other taxes, including Social Security payroll taxes.
“People who are doing quite well and worry about low-income people not paying any taxes bemoan the fact that they get so many tax breaks that they are zeroed out,” said Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center. “People at the bottom of the distribution say, but all of those rich guys are getting bigger tax breaks than we’re getting, which is also the case.”
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was pressed at a White House briefing on the number of millionaires who pay taxes at a lower rate than middle-income families. He demurred, saying that people who make most of their money in wages pay taxes at a higher rate, while those who get most of their income from investments pay at lower rates.
“So it really depends on what is your profession, where’s the source of your income, what’s the specific circumstances you face, and the averages won’t really capture that,” Geithner said.
April 20th, 2011
By: Harry Bradford
No longer dominated by Americans and Europeans, the members of the world’s billionaire club increasingly hail from around the globe, first and third world countries alike. And while some of the mega-rich might may spend more time on yachts than in their home countries, even billionaires have a place they call home. It’s just becoming increasingly difficult to predict where that home is.
According to this year’s annual Wealth Report, published by Knight Frank and Citi Private Bank — Scorpio Partnership, a wealth management consultancy firm, also contributed — new billionaires are increasingly likely to come from emerging economies like India and Russia, the latter of which increased its billionaire count by 30 percent last year, according to Forbes. The world’s total number of millionaires has skyrocketed, too, increasing by 22 percent from one year prior, when the global economy witnessed a drastic drop in millionaires.
No country’s elite, however, have benefited more from last year’s rebounding economy than China’s, with the country’s tremendous economic growth raising the billionaire count by 140 percent. At this rate, many economists expect China — ranked 35th in Forbes’ billionaires list as recently as 2005 — to soon claim the title of most billionaires in the world.
“That growth [in China] may be strengthened,” Scorpio Partnership director Stephen Wall wrote in the rport, “by the range of wealth sources driving economic growth.”
Of all their thriving industries, the Internet technology sector has perhaps treated China’s elites the best. And no one better represents that industry than China’s richest man and Baidu search engine founder Robin Li. Still, Chinese billionaires will continue to face stiff competition from the U.S. in the future, as Facebook alone represents six of America’s billionaires, including the youngest billionaire in the world: 26-year-old co-founder Dustin Moskovitz.
Number of billionaires: 22
Total Population: 33,739,900
Notable Billionaires Include: David Thompson (Chairman of Thompson Reuters), Jeffrey Skoll (ex-eBay President) and Guy Laliberté (CEO of Cirque du Soleil).
Number of billionaires: 23
Total Population: 127,560,000
Notable Billionaires Include: Masayoshi Son (CEO of venture capital Softbank Capital), Hiroshi Yamauchi (President and Chairman of Nintendo) and Tadashi Yanai (Founder and President of retail holding company Fast Retailing).
Number of billionaires: 27
Total Population: 7,731,167
Notable Billionaires Include: Ernesto Bertarelli (biotech entrepreneur known for Merck-Serono) and Esther Grether (art collector and Swatch shareholder).
7. Hong Kong
Number of billionaires: 29
Total Population: 7,003,700
Notable Billionaires Include: Li Ka-shing (businessman and Chairman of Hutchison Whampoa Limited) and Thomas and Raymond Kwok (inherited Real Estate developer Sun Hung Kai Properties.)
When I first heard about the KT Radio Network, it was because someone on the internet was complaining about it being biased against gays. Well, I had to hear for myself being a gay male. I listened to that episode and others and found that to be untrue. What I found is that KT actually will bring up sensitive topics that hit well beyond the comfort zone of most people. As more and more topics are discussed, my comfort zone is pushed further and further out so that I evolve into a person that is more willing to discuss the more difficult issues that are pushed under the radar by mass media, as well as, by the average Joe. For that I am grateful.
KT takes a position that is forthright and “forbidden” to be discussed by other outlets. Most of the stances, I agree with. The question to myself is, ‘why is it that I agree so much with KT and hardly at all with mass media and the government?’ My answer is, for years, not only is the mass media purposefully out of touch with my true sentiments, the politicians do not care what I, as a Citizen of the United States of America, desire for my country. In essence, KT Radio Network informs on the ‘smoke and mirror’ aspect of our society, which most people are not aware or willing to deal with.
KT is not only an example of a sovereign male, but the show brings on other examples of strong sovereign men and women to boot! They are stellar people that can be looked up to, instead of those that other media outlets put forth as great men and women. This sets the tone for a more “kind to myself” person and a society-friendly me in the future. The feeling I get from KT and his guests is that their state of being is attainable! I actually see myself now as wealthy, sovereign, free and in vibrant health, like KT and his guests.
KT Radio Network is superseding years of the brainwashing by mass media! Can I get a Halleluiah?! As I work inside and in a building that blocks the radio waves, I love that I can go to the website, click and listen to the broadcast. If I choose, I can even look at the show! It adds so much to the experience to see it taking place! The KT Radio Network website is full of up-to-date content that is relevant for the important current events. On top of reporting them, they offer solutions to any of those challenges that everyone can attain. I get no sense of hopelessness and fear like I feel from other media.
What I like most of all about KT Radio Network, is that it conveys that we, the people, have the power to be, do, or have anything we want; reach out and grasp it. I was very much in the habit of blaming the politicians and others for my circumstances. With KT, I have grown in that I now look at “the man in the mirror,” like Michael Jackson sings about. KT Radio Network articulates very clearly and concisely what I may do to participate in bringing about change in my own life, as well as, on a larger scale. KT Radio Network has impact on my life, as well as, others. Can other radio shows claim and demonstrate that? Unlikely!
Hats off to KT Radio Network, crew and guests!
Wishing you the very best!
Martin L. Funches III
Sherman Oaks, CA