Last Updated:July 23 @ 06:31 pm

Elder: Rich Lefties and Their Taxes

By Larry Elder

Ah, the hypocrisy of tax-hikers who do everything they can to avoid the taxes they wish to impose on others.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.: He tried to avoid $500K in his home state's sales and excise taxes by docking his newly purchased $7 million 76-foot yacht in Rhode Island.

Massachusetts lowered its state income tax in 2001. Given the presumably large number of rich people who pine to pay more taxes, the state allowed tax filers to check a box and voluntarily pay the old, higher rate. In a liberal state of over 3 million tax filers, how many volunteered to pay the higher rate in 2004? A tiny fraction of 1 percent -- 930 taxpayers.

Among those who refused to pay the higher rate? Sen. Kerry and Rep. Barney Frank. In Frank's case, he refused to pay the higher rate because, he says, "I don't trust the legislative leadership and Gov. (Mitt) Romney to make the right decisions." Instead, Frank said, "I'll donate the money myself."

John Edwards, former senator and Democratic presidential candidate: His wife, Elizabeth, once called him a person of "character" because Edwards voted against his own economic "interests" by voting for higher taxes. Well, OK, but like billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who urges higher taxes, Edwards is less than keen on paying them. As a lawyer winning major jury awards, John set up a subchapter S corporation to pay himself through dividends -- and thus avoid $600K in Medicare payroll taxes.

Kennedy patriarch Joe Kennedy: The late Ted Kennedy and his family shield their money through a series of complicated family trusts first begun by father Joe Kennedy. The trusts transfer wealth from generation to generation while avoiding estate taxes.

The late Ohio Democratic Sen. Howard Metzenbaum: A liberal's liberal, Metzenbaum enjoyed a lifetime rating from Americans for Democratic Action of 95 (100 being perfect) and a zero from the American Conservative Union. He never met a tax hike he did not like. He moved to Florida when he retired from the Senate. Why Florida? No state estate or personal income taxes.

"Civil rights" leader and MSNB-Hee Haw host Al Sharpton: Though he supports increasing taxes on the rich, Sharpton, it seems, fails to do his part as a member of the 1 percent. As of last year, according to the New York Post, Sharpton owed $3.5 million in state and federal income taxes. His nonprofit, the National Action Network, as of 2011 owes nearly $900K in unpaid federal payroll taxes.

What do these individual instances of hypocrisy say about whether taxes should be increased on the so-called rich?

First, contrary to Buffett's assertion, people absolutely make decisions and change behavior in response to taxes. Compare the economies of Texas and California, two border states with similar immigrant populations. Texas is a no-income-tax, right-to-work, business-friendly state with substantially less regulation than the Obama-like high-tax (especially on the "the rich" and on business), forced unionism, heavily regulated state of California. Texas also has one of the lowest per-capita spending rates, while California has one of the highest.

The result? According to Investor's Business Daily, state gross domestic product growth in Texas was 3.3 percent in 2011 and 5.2 percent in 2010, while California was 2 percent in 2011 and 1.7 percent in 2010. Texas has created more than twice as many new jobs as California and has a below-the-national-average jobless rate of 6.8 percent. California's unemployment rate is 10.2 percent.

From 2008 to 2011, Texans' median hourly wages rose 8 percent, while Californians' rose 5.7 percent. And per-capita personal income during those years rose 1.3 percent in Texas, while  falling  almost 1 percent in California. California's poverty rate is 23.5 percent, to Texas' 16.5 percent, and Texas spends less on education, while its students outperform their California counterparts.

Second, because people change behavior in response to taxes, raising them can result in getting  less  revenue. John Kennedy said, "It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low -- and the soundest way to raise revenues in the long run is to cut rates now."

The Congressional Budget Office just issued a report on what would happen to the economy if Congress fails to retain the Bush-era tax rates. Keeping the Bush-era rates for all but the rich, the CBO says, adds 1.25 percentage points to GDP. Retaining tax rates for all, including the rich, however, adds 1.5 percent to the economy. In other words, raising taxes on the rich lowers economic output. Does a quarter of a percentage matter? The CBO says it will "only" reduce job growth by about 200,000 jobs -- although other reputable studies put the number at 700,000 jobs.

Taxes matter.

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Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com.

COPYRIGHT 2012 LAURENCE A. ELDER

DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

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34 Comments

  1. goodforallComment by goodforall
    December 6, 2012 @ 9:51 am

    For the lefties, it is always “Do as I say, not as I do”. Their hypocricy knows no bounds! Great article!

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    • mrwilsonComment by mrwilson
      December 6, 2012 @ 6:30 pm

      Of interest to those who consider this is a very serious matter.
      Today, or recently the term has been, “the 1 percent.”

      Back in the 50′s and 60′s the term was “the 2 percent.”

      Get it, my fellow Americans? In such a short period of time.

      Now, as far as this Kerry man goes, do you have any idea how much land he ownes? It is a wonder to me that he can pay the annual property taxes on it.
      Many years back I was sailing my little boat up north. A strong wind and the wheel broke forcing me to land. No sooner had I hit the beach than three men, well armed, and three dogs, with massive fangs were on me. Get the h— off and move down the beach 20 miles, this is Kerry property and no one… 20 miles,,,

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  2. MattZatComment by mattgzat
    December 6, 2012 @ 9:53 am

    Great article but not really news… I believe that there are records which reveal the significant number of taxes owed by individuals within the Obama administration and those in the Senate and House. It would appear that the economy would be in better shape if their taxes were collected, their paychecks cut by 20% each pay period and that money returned to the Treasury. Plus, their names be published on a list that shows outstanding taxes and one year after being on the list their position is up for re-election. Transparency for the tax payers and transparecy for those refusing to pay what they owe We The People. Pay Up or Be Moved Out of Office.

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    • Grouchy OneComment by Grouchy One
      December 6, 2012 @ 12:20 pm

      Our area publishes a list of people in the newspaper who are delinquent on property taxes. I think it would be awesome to post a list of congressmen, senators and other assorted washington people who couldn’t be bothered to pay their income tax. Aren’t there some who don’t even file?
      Oh and by the way, why 20%? Workers get more than 20% with held for taxes unless they claim umpteen dependents or don’t make enough to live on to begin with.

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    • rattlerjakeComment by rattlerjake
      December 6, 2012 @ 6:58 pm

      They stay delinquent on their taxes because when they do have to pay, there are plans set up for them to pay pennies on the dollar owed, this way their tax liability ends up being near nothing. Besides that, most of these wealthy, fatcat, liberals don’t receive their money as income (which is taxed), they receive it as dividends, election donations, etc. which are taxed much lower or not at all, the reason they have no problem raising taxes.

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  3. Grouchy OneComment by Grouchy One
    December 6, 2012 @ 9:57 am

    I’m not surprised by this any more than I’m surprised that Romney took every tax deduction he was legally allowed. All people do that. The federal gov’t raised the bar so that the average joe, paying for a 50,000 house doesn’t pay enough in mortgage interest to make it worth their while to take anything other than the standard deduction. The fact that they get to pay some accountant $400 bucks to tell them that is the part that I find astounding!

    And the reason that happens is because the tax forms are so scrambled up with “ifs, ands, and buts” that most people are scared to file their own taxes. Supposedly people on Social Security don’t have to file federal income tax — UNLESS they have other income. Remember when you used to go to H&R Block for $20 to do your taxes? Well, those days are gone the day that there is anything at all non-standard about your income.

    Even though I think that the tax system is unfair, convoluted by design, and confusing I don’t feel that it is because the rich are doing anything illegal. I think it is because the federal government is run by people too afraid to tear down a bad system and rebuild it with something that makes sense.

    In my area, boat owners dock their yachts in a nearby town one day a year to avoid property taxes — even people who actually live on their boats! Those often mentioned loopholes give them the legal right to do that.
    Property owners on the NC coast are staring down the barrel of a 17% insurance increase, whether we live anywhere near the water or not, to cover the possible destruction of multi-million dollar homes that sit vacant most of the year because ecological rules bent and broken allowed “developers” to build homes atop the primary sand dunes. Those of us who don’t own those homes we are helping to insure can’t even add the insurance premiums to our income tax deductions because, guess what, we don’t quailfy.
    So, yes, there is disparity and yes a more equitable form of taxation should be enacted. The only way I see to fix this problem is through Fair Tax but I’d rather see each state control their tax dollars and the federal gov’t cut back to a whole lot less power to dictate what the entire nation will do, such as in the case of obamacare.

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  4. bizzybuzzerComment by bizzybuzzer
    December 6, 2012 @ 10:24 am

    Are you saying that there is something wrong with not paying taxes ? Are we not supposed to follow our leaders ? Can’t even hide our money in a freezer ? I suppose that we can’t do like the illegal aliens and declare all those deductions either. This means I must become a Democrat then.

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    • Grouchy OneComment by Grouchy One
      December 6, 2012 @ 12:23 pm

      LOL bizzybuzzer. Sometimes I think we would be better off if we just buried whatever money we have in coffee cans out in the back yard or hid it in the freezer. It would certainly prohibit bankers and the gov’t from dipping into our finances regularly.

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  5. MongooseST3Comment by MongooseST3
    December 6, 2012 @ 11:06 am

    ” Civil rights” leader and MSNB-Hee Haw host Al Sharpton: Though he supports increasing taxes on the rich, Sharpton, it seems, fails to do his part as a member of the 1 percent. As of last year, according to the New York Post, Sharpton owed $3.5 million in state and federal income taxes. His nonprofit, the National Action Network, as of 2011 owes nearly $900K in unpaid federal payroll taxes”……………………………………………………….Thats because Sharpton and a lot of other BLACKS don’t believe in paying taxes, its whiteys system and F__K whitey……That’s why he is a REVEREND….a TAX FREE REVEREND……Romney paid his taxes in spite of him being very wealthy. If he didn’t you would have heard from the IRS, MSNBC and other liberal BS media outlets that he didn’t . But he did.

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    • Grouchy OneComment by Grouchy One
      December 6, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

      Exactly. Then they complained about how much Romney paid — like he was supposed to fork over more even though he paid more in taxes in one year than most people make in a lifetime. And he did wrong how??

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    • canada3dayerComment by canada3dayer
      December 6, 2012 @ 7:28 pm

      yeah, and they were also all over him for not releasing more than 2 years’ worth of tax returns, but how many tax returns did hypocrite Harry Reid release? NOT EVEN ONE!

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  6. JDZComment by JDZ
    December 6, 2012 @ 11:09 am

    Hypocrisy is rampart within our elected political community who, regardless of party, like the life they have as a member of Congress at taxpayer expense. They vote themselves regular salary increases and lavish medical and pension benefits. Their expense accounts are generous as well, and when you add up all of their benefits, it is obvious why these politicians will say or do whatever is necessary to get elected and stay in Congress. So, playing around with our tax laws is typical and common and is just one angle they leverage to increase their overall income.

    By the way, before I forget it, Jim Carville, popular political consultant and pundit who works for the Democratic party (worked for Clinton), said today that 80% of registered Democrats are politically clueless and easily manipulated. We all knew that, but it is the first time anyone of notoriety has actually admitted it.

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    • wilantComment by wilant
      December 6, 2012 @ 4:25 pm

      Where did Jim Carville say that? on TV?

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    • JambleComment by Jamble
      December 6, 2012 @ 5:30 pm

      I’ve been trying to track down that comment from Carville and, so far, can’t find a reliable source.

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    • wilantComment by wilant
      December 6, 2012 @ 5:33 pm

      Don’t bother checking on FoxNews.com.
      We need a reliable source….

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    • DennoComment by Denno
      December 7, 2012 @ 10:36 pm

      http://thinkexist.com/quotes/James_Carville/

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  7. JambleComment by Jamble
    December 6, 2012 @ 11:39 am

    I believe that the Democrats are in favor of higher tax rates rather then closing loopholes and limited deductions is that the truly rich (like Obama’s Hollywood pals) have clever tax attorneys who can use the loopholes and deductions to allow them to pay fewer taxes no matter what the rate.

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    • Grouchy OneComment by Grouchy One
      December 6, 2012 @ 12:28 pm

      That is why they need to enact a less “holey” tax system.

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  8. DennoComment by Denno
    December 6, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

    Let’s face it. Over 50% of all federal employees owe back income taxes and don’t even file. The tipping point of the parasites feeding off their working hosts has surpassed 50% and the degenerate left wing liberals have succeeded in dragging the American Culture into the gutter. We can’t and never will be able to live peacably with these slugs and other than a street civil war, secession may be the only way to go. They may have been tolerable to deal with when they were a small minority….now that they’re cabable of inflicting terminal damage to the country, they are showing their true evil natures.

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    • canada3dayerComment by canada3dayer
      December 6, 2012 @ 7:36 pm

      where on earth did you get a figure of “over 50% of Federal employees” owing back income taxes? I think you’re way too high; the vast majority of federal workers are just average working Joes and Janes trying to make ends meet just like the rest of us in the face of increasing costs and decreasing paychecks. sure, there are plenty of tax shirkers, but remember that federal workers includes the military and the folks that keep the military going by keeping planes in the air, ships at sea and tanks on the ground. the biggest lot of tax avoiders is in Congress.

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  9. wallybluComment by wallyblu
    December 6, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

    Try inacting a real wealth tax, tax net worth, and see how fast and how loud these rich willing to pay more taxes advocates scream.

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    • juicyfruit56Comment by juicyfruit56
      December 6, 2012 @ 6:41 pm

      You are right on the money!

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  10. twocoltsComment by twocolts
    December 6, 2012 @ 4:59 pm

    It is puzzling…I keep wondering why so many celebs and politicians that support huge tax-hikes, don’t just cut a fat check to the IRS, over-and-above their legal obligation. Wait, we know why..they are all spineless, double-standard-spewing fat-cats that speak with forked-tongue.

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  11. wilantComment by wilant
    December 6, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

    Forked tongue? What are you implying?

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  12. truckmanComment by truckman
    December 6, 2012 @ 5:43 pm

    How many dollars did Romney pay in taxes? Okay-that’s ONE MAN’s tax rate. Now,how many dollars did YOU pay in taxes? In other words,Romney,himself, probably paid as much as your whole neighborhood. But that’s NOT ENOUGH?
    Here’s an idea-why not cut spending,and reduce Government’s SIZE,so the Government CAN run on the taxes being paid? They never were meant to be the permanent sole means to fund the Government’s operation;The intent was that the Government would be kept small enough not to NEED huge infusions of the Citizens’ money to conduct their business. This worked fine,until greedy politicians decided that,rather than being a temporary job they would work at for a couple of years then go back to their regular jobs,they would make a CAREER of being a Politician,which naturally required much more money for payroll.

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    • powertothepeopleComment by powertothepeople
      December 6, 2012 @ 6:21 pm

      Simple….the politicians want to stay in office (power) and voting to cut spending and live with in your means is a no go for their personal interest. Plus, 75% of the electorate wants stuff!

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  13. bless2liveComment by bless2live
    December 6, 2012 @ 5:50 pm

    Mr Larry Elder, when you give out the names of some of these liberal lefties in read, well I got sick to my stomach!Now there is a fine liberal for you,john kerry d mass! mr. vietnam trust worthy himself! He got band aids scars all over he bodies! He loved so much money’s he hid he boat out to dodge the tax man! He want secretary state soon he can get! Yes sir, just a fine bunch of tax dodging left liberal democrats! We good, we good, yep all fine with these kind of folks in goverment and hanging out and around the White House! We good! We good!

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  14. powertothepeopleComment by powertothepeople
    December 6, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

    Now…now, these well meaning liberal fakes have great ideas for how to piss away our money! We aren’t seeing the big picture…right?

    Its past time for a Boston Tea Party again! This mess will not change until there is an uprising of the people. Voting is a scam and is useless.

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    • Cape ConservativeComment by Cape Conservative
      December 6, 2012 @ 9:36 pm

      St. Lucie County in Florida certainly proved your last sentence in the recent Allen West loss! Still trying to figure out how every precinct in the county had over 100% of registered voters casting ballots.

      Our election process needs to be revamped ASAP!

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  15. JBQComment by JBQ
    December 6, 2012 @ 6:47 pm

    It all depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is. This is all about socialism and the redistribution of wealth. The African-American Archbishop of Atlanta, Wilton Gregory (previously, Belleville, Il.) made comments today as the representative of the U.S. Conf of Catholic Bishops on allowing as many Hispanics as possible to stay in the U.S. As a Catholic, the U.S. bishops have bought “heart and soul” into Obama as a symbol of the crucified Christ. It is obvious that abortion and gay marriage statements are only “lip service”. Malachi Martin wrote after Vatican II that the devil had infiltrated the Catholic Church. As a Catholic Navy vet, it sure makes you pause and think.

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  16. altucciComment by altucci
    December 6, 2012 @ 7:57 pm

    Your discussion comparing California with Texas is in a nut shell the debate that the Republicans should have hammered during the election. President Obama kept referring to the Republicans’ “same old policies that never worked.” The Texas-California example shows that these policies do work. Why can’t we Republicans teach the American people basic economics and history during an election cycle? This, I believe, is one of the basic principals which separate the two parties.

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    • mach37Comment by mach37
      December 8, 2012 @ 4:16 am

      The people who voted for Obama don’t understand “policies,” or even the most fundamental economics; they only cared about getting their Obamacare, their handouts and freebies.

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  17. bizzybuzzerComment by bizzybuzzer
    December 6, 2012 @ 9:27 pm

    Obama called in all these people not about their taxes but to get the word out to their followers and the sheeples who voted for O to mess up their minds with lies about the cliff and the mean Republicans. Confirm that there really is an Osanta and a Repubgrinch.
    Why is Al Sharpton called a Reverend ?

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  18. Pingback: Politicians Say, “More Taxes Will Solve Everything.” | The Harald Son

  19. mach37Comment by mach37
    December 8, 2012 @ 4:13 am

    Barney Frank didn’t trust Mitt Romney to make the right decisions with his taxes in Mass.? Well, I never trusted Barney Frank to make the right decisions, either. Too bad my comment doesn’t get the newspaper play that Barney’s did.

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