Steele connects with the middle class.

RNC Chairman Michael Steele in a debate with Harold Ford Jr., on the topic of taxation of the wealthiest Americans:

Trust me, after taxes, a million dollars is not a lot of money.

That should be the Republican Party’s slogan.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

13 replies on “Steele connects with the middle class.”

  1. As a salaried professional in his early 30’s, I make around $55k a year. I like to think that’s about average across the spectrum of people who have bachelor degrees in the myriad of fields that exist. Some make more, some make less. None make a a million dollars a year doing an honest day’s work. I’ll say this, I’ll bet my paycheck that a million dollars after taxes is worth more than my annual salary over the next 7 years.

    How Republicans convinced poor and middle class people that those who make above $300K a year are “just like you” constantly blows my mind. I guess it’s the American dream – someday you too can be one of the rich. Somebody needs to teach the masses a little bit about statistics.

  2. As a salaried professional in his early 40s, I make around $95k a year. I like to think that’s about average across the spectrum of people who have advanced degrees and have worked hard through their career. Some make more, some make less. Some make a million dollars a year doing a very hard and very honest day’s work. Some of the fruits of their labors is providing employment to other hard-working people (who might earn, say, $55k or $95k a year.)

    Ten years ago, I was a salaried professional in his early 30s making less than a third what I make now. I love the American Dream. I believe that if I work hard and make good choices — and with a little or a lot of luck thrown in — I might earn a million dollars a year someday.

    I’ll choose that dream over wringing my hands about my lot in life, and wanting the government to take from other people and give it to me.

  3. I have no problems what you wrote until that last sentence:

    I’ll choose that dream over wringing my hands about my lot in life, and wanting the government to take from other people and give it to me.

    Because I bet you like schools, libraries, public universities, fire departments, police, postal service, sewer systems, paved roads, etc.

    That’s beside the point. Trust me, after taxes, a million dollars is a lot of money. There’s an inherent flaw in the argument that Person A with a million dollar annual salary and Person B with a $25K annual salary utilize the same civil services or abide by the same tax laws. I don’t have an off shore account, do you?

    And as far as the American Dream goes, using the silly benchmark of a million dollars, 0.3% of U.S. taxpayers make over a million dollars a year. I hope you do make a million dollars annually some day. Statistically speaking, play the lotto.

    If a million dollars isn’t much money after taxes, why do so few people earn it? Steele’s statement is ridiculous.

  4. Esp. considering that after taxes someone who makes a million dollars will still walk away with more than five times what I. Publius makes BEFORE taxes….

  5. So this has got to upset some Republicans running for office this fall. This just cements the image of the Republican Party as the party of the rich. As much as the Republicans might like to have a bit more melanin at their party gatherings I think this guy’s days are numbered. But then again, hope springs eternal, maybe they’ll keep him on to provide the Dems with more gems like this one.

  6. True words, Jack. But I didn’t want government handouts when I made <$30k a few short years ago, either. But maybe that's just me.

  7. I.Publius, do you not support a progressive system of taxation based on the principle of ability to pay? And if not, what taxation system would you like to see?

    In most cases, progressive federal income taxes just even out normally regressive systems of taxation in the states (well that and federal excise taxes and payroll taxes). So, you would like to see that progressivity go away so that all that is left is the regressive systems of excise, sales & use, property, and payroll taxes?

  8. But I didn’t want government handouts when I made <$30k a few short years ago, either. But maybe that's just me.

    Yeah. I hate handouts too. Handouts like police, firefighters, people to inspect our food, libraries, etc.

  9. tx2vadem — I neither said not implied anything of the sort. Does progressive taxation = government handouts in your world? The two are not synonymous in mine, because they are very different things. When I made less than $30k a year, I paid ZERO federal income taxes. That’s progressive taxation at work, and I agree wholeheartedly with it. People who make more money have more disposable income, and can afford to pay a greater percentage in taxes. And that’s ok.

    At the same time, making <$30k, I filed my income taxes without the Earned Income Credit, which is just a great big government handout. The EIC is nothing more than a polite way of saying "Welfare Credit." I knew (and know) people who purposely keep their income below a certain level to maximize their EIC. Great policy, eh?

    grs, you win the prize for dumbass comment of the month. Congrats. If you equate government handouts with government-based services, then you are a complete imbecile.

  10. So, you are okay that we take more money from millionaires as long as we don’t use it for government “handouts”? Sorry I was missing your point then. I thought you were supporting Steele’s comment. But your problem is only with specific types of government spending and not on the system of taxation that Steele was critiquing.

    I’m interested in how broad or narrow your definition of a handout is. You point to EIC. What about MACRS depreciation? There are also lots of cases where taxpayers both individual and corporate adopt strategies to maximize the benefit of certain credits and deductions. Is this just limited to programs like TANF (aka welfare), SNAP (aka food stamps), Section 8 Housing Vouchers, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and other direct payments to low income individuals? Or does it include services like Medicaid and SCHIP? Is it only low income folks? What about the mortgage interest deduction or Unemployment Insurance? And is it applicable to only individuals or to businesses as well?

  11. Yeah well, this is proof that Steele is as clueless as he appears – he doesn’t have the sense to hire himself a skilled tax attorney to find him the shelter of Corporate person-hood and the “right” to a lower tax rate. Well then, he don’t deserve to be rich.

    If Steele had this figured out he could be waddling out to the mail box to pick up his check without having to do any meaningful work. Instead he whines about his lot in life, and continues to step and fetch for the Boss:

    Congress must also enact pro-growth policies that encourage the economy to expand: like making tax relief permanent and repealing the death tax.

    Death Tax? Isn’t he sweet? Good work Mike, take a day off.

  12. Ah, Publius, riiiiight. Get pissed. Get pissed because you got called out on what you think are “bad” taxes. Or the the improper appropriation of taxes for some subjective term in your mind that you label “handouts”.

    The problem with taxes is that you don’t get to chose how the money that comes out of your paycheck is spent. You just pay taxes. Whether you think it’s a “handout” or not doesn’t matter. Higher tax brackets pay more in taxes for a reason and it’s not just to give poor people money. Our country spends exponentially more on corporate welfare (even before the bank bailouts) then it does on social welfare.

    When you pay taxes, you don’t get to pick and choose how that money is spent my friend. And neither do the millionaires. So their money is just as likely to be funding the Pentagon with their $500 billion budget as they are some “handout”. And the same goes for people at the lower tax brackets that pay into the fed pool.

    So what’s your point dude? That your comment doesn’t have a thing to do with Steele’s comment? That you just want to b*tch about gov’t handouts?

    Keep playing the lotto dude.

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