Tag Archives: family

My personal federal income tax: a true, short story

Does everybody know how progressive federal income taxes work? Married couples filing jointly pay 10% on the first $17,000, and then 15% on the next $52,000, then 25% on the next $70,000, etc… Wherever you stop, that’s your “marginal tax rate,” or the tax rate that applies to the next dollar you could make. There’s a pretty easy to read set of tables here. By the way, if you and your spouse make the $69,000 it takes to get into that third bracket (the first $17,000 plus the next $52,000), then you’re doing better than over 2/3rds of the country, according to Wikipedia.

A couple like Amy and I who are in the third bracket, with a marginal tax rate of 25%, are supposed to pay the federal government 10% of the first $17,000 (=$1,700) plus 15% on the next $52,000 (=$7,800) plus 25% on the rest.

However our effective tax rate, which what we actually paid the U.S. government in 2010 divided by our total income, was less than 10%. Less than 10%, my friends, is not being taxed to death. Of course, this doesn’t include state and local and sales taxes.

How did we go from the formula I gave you above, which would have taxed just our first dollars at 10%, and the rest at higher rates? Exemptions, deductions… AKA, loopholes. Mortgage interest and property tax deductions, charitable deductions, student loan interest deductions, etc, etc, etc…

Next time you hear somebody complaining about being taxed at 35%, you should know that they are spinning the data. AKA, lying.



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The Hearty Boys: competing with a big ol’ phrasemonger

If I gave awards for competing with phrasemongers, the inaugural winners would be the Chicago caterers, one-time Food Network stars, and gay fathers Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh, professionally known as the Hearty Boys.

I’ll recap very quickly: Mike Huckabee gave an interview to The College of New Jersey’s student newspaper, The Perspective. In the interview, he compared homosexuality to drug use, incest, and polygamy. He also suggested that gays and lesbian couples should not be allowed to adopt, because, “Children are not puppies.” He clearly implies that giving rights to LGBTQ people, whether to serve openly in the military, to marry, or to adopt children is just social experimentation, not an issue of human rights.

So, this was published, and then Huckabee claimed his statements in the interview were grossly distorted, and asked the paper to release the tapes to prove it. So they did. No distortion is apparent.

So, here Mike Huckabee has become the phrasemonger of the week, with egg all over his face that he refuses to acknowledge. This is where the Hearty Boys step in. Basically, in an effort to repay an insult with a blessing, they’ve invited Huckabee to come to dinner at their home, and meet them and their son, to see for himself that they are a stable, loving family. Is there a better way to compete with phrasemongers? Inviting somebody to your home for what is sure to be a fantastic dinner sure beats the arguing I engage in, here!

Smith and McDonagh, I salute you for being ready to sit down with and serve and feed and share with somebody who wishes you could not enjoy the family you enjoy. That is the most Christian response I can imagine.

This story is getting some traction in the news. You can follow the story as it unfolds via their Facebook site, Twitter, and McDonagh’s new blog.

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