Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
  @GlennKesslerWP |  Contact: factchecker@washpost.com  |  RSS Feeds RSS
Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 02/11/2011

Michele Bachmann's fuzzy tax math at CPAC

By Glenn Kessler

Rep. Michele Bachmann at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Feb. 10Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

"So let me explain what that level of debt could mean to you personally. According to the National Center of Policy Analysis, in 2009, they said that college-aged students today ... in your peak earning years, you will be looking at paying 37 percent of everything you make to the government just to satisfy Social Security and Medicare, 37 percent. That's more than a third of your income just to pay for that.

"But now, wait. Just realize, that doesn't include what you will owe to the federal government for your federal income tax portion, and that could easily be another 25 percent of your income. And if you can do the math, pull out your calculator, that's 62 percent of your income, just your federal income tax and your Medicare and your Social Security portion of what you make.

"But now, that doesn't include your state income taxes, and that could be another 8 percent for a lot of you. But that doesn't include what you pay in sales taxes. That won't include what you pay in gas taxes or local property taxes or telephone taxes or cell phone taxes. Do you want me to go on? This goes on and on and on all the way to death taxes. They get you coming, they get you going. And if you add all of this up, you college students that are here today, you are looking at 70 to 75 percent of your income taken away by the government in taxes in your peak earning years."
--Rep. Michele Bachmann, Feb. 10, 2011

When Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), a potential presidential candidate, addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, she spoke with enthusiasm, and with both humor and conviction. The Fact Checker was pleased to see she had amended her story about how much the national debt has been run up in recent years, making it much more accurate -- at least in terms of the math -- than the statement that helped her earn four Pinocchios a few weeks ago. Maybe it is a coincidence, but we hope we had an impact.

But we were also struck by her scary tale of how the government was going to start demanding payroll and income taxes totaling 75 percent by the middle of the century. Bachmann is a trained tax lawyer who used to represent the Internal Revenue Service in court cases, so she should know what she is talking about.

The Facts

The study that Bachmann cited was written by Pamela Villarreal, a senior policy analyst for the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas. The organization is upfront about its conservative political leanings, describing itself as "a public policy research organization that develops and promotes private alternatives to government regulation and control."

Villarreal's study, written in June 2009, is based on data from Social Security and Medicare trustee reports. It attempts to calculate the payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare in 2054, when "today's college students reach retirement" -- not, as Bachmann put it, when they are in their "peak earning years."

But the first thing that seemed strange about Bachmann's citation is that this is a 2009 report. The trustees, after all, issued new reports in 2010, showing that the long-term financial condition of Medicare programs had greatly improved with the passage of President Obama's health-care law.

Villarreal, in a telephone interview, is open about why she did not update her report: The NCPA did not believe what the Social Security and Medicare trustees wrote about the impact of what she calls "Obamacare." Instead, the group issued a report about the problems with the trustees' assumptions, such as believing that Medicare cuts in the law will actually materialize.

Still, having accepted the trustees' assumptions in 2009, it appears odd to dismiss their work a year later simply because one is ideologically opposed to the health-care law. The trustees' report, after all, is almost entirely based on assumptions -- long-term guesses about what the U.S. economy will be 50 or 75 years from now.

In her report, Villarreal also assumed that Medicare Part B and Part D are funded through payroll taxes, even though they are currently funded through a combination of premiums and government spending. Villarreal said those calculations were done by another NCPA analyst, Andrew J. Rettenmaier. He said it was a "theoretical exercise," which he computed by recalculating data on the programs' estimated share of the gross domestic product at mid-century. He conceded there was little chance the government would begin to fund these programs through payroll tax hikes.

The change from the 2009 reports to the 2010 reports are pretty dramatic. Using NCPA's math, we calculate the "payroll tax burden" would be 29 percent, not 37 percent -- a 22 percent improvement because of the health-care law. If you take away the Part B and Part D numbers, since they are not paid through payroll taxes, the tax burden drops to 21 percent.

There are other problems. Bachmann acts as if this burden is borne entirely by the taxpayer, but it is actually shared equally by employees and employers. That's why the 15.3 percent of current payroll taxes only shows up at 7.65 percent in your paycheck. Economists might argue that employers reduce wages by an amount equal to the payroll tax, but it is is misleading for Bachmann not to acknowledge that. Suddenly, that 21 percent becomes 10.5 percent out of your paycheck.

Bachmann makes another mistake when she says, "That doesn't include what you will owe to the federal government for your federal income tax portion, and that could easily be another 25 percent of your income." There are marginal tax rates as high as 33 percent, but virtually no one pays an average of 25 percent of their income in federal income taxes.

The average tax rate is 12.24 percent, according to the Tax Foundation, which says it seeks to educate people about the tax burden. (The Tax Foundation is known for declaring "Tax Freedom Day.") The bottom 50 percent of taxpayers pay only an average of 2.59 percent. Even the top 1 percent -- people with an annual adjusted gross income of $1.7 million -- pay an average of less than 25 percent.

The same analysis would hold true for state taxes, which Bachmann inflates to 8 percent. The Tax Foundation found that combined state and local tax rates average from 1 percent to 9.44 percent, with most at about 5 to 6 percent -- but no one pays all of their income at that rate. Depending on the state, the average is likely to be a third or one-half of the marginal rate.

The bottom line, when you "get out your calculator" and add all this up: total taxes of about 25 percent, rather than the 75 percent in Bachmann's telling.

We presented this math to Bachmann's spokesman and are still waiting for a response.


The Pinocchio Test

The current and future financial strain on Social Security and Medicare is certainly a serious issue. As the baby boom generation begins to retire, leaving fewer workers to sustain the pay-as-you-go system, the crunch will get even worse.

Once current revenues run dry, the programs hold hundreds of billions of dollars of Treasury securities that must be honored by the Treasury -- and which must be paid for by raising taxes, cutting benefits or issuing more debt.

The gravity of the issue means that politicians should talk responsibly about it, not tell scare stories that have little basis in reality. Someone with a law degree who once specialized in tax law should know better.

Three Pinocchios

(About our rating scale).

Follow The Fact Checker on Twitter @GlennKesslerWP

By Glenn Kessler  | February 11, 2011; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  3 Pinocchios, Michele Bachmann, Taxes  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Follow the Egyptian money
Next: Playing games with CBO testimony on jobs and the health-care law

Comments

Bachmann and the rest of the tea party crew are all serial liars. Their assertions have no basis in reality....they obviously think that if they say it, then it is true. These people are advocating the tranformation of America into a third world oligarchy, with themselves at the top of the heap. The new American Fascists!

Posted by: Chagasman | February 11, 2011 8:34 AM | Report abuse

When Howard Stern hit the airwaves, he was described as a Shock Jock. He pull numerous stunts that shocked people and drew a crowd. Today, we have politicians which view the world through that prism. As long as it gets you an audience, shock em. In the end, these individuals sell books and get paid speaking engagements. Their egos are inflated as the pronouncements become more inflated. We live in an era of pick and choose information so if you want to believe the revisionist histories, there are probably 20000 sources that will support your opinion. Facts just get in the way. If you have to learn the facts, it might muddle your response or worse yet, not shock your audience. Far better to craft a message that increases your sales and panders to those that cannot be bothered to check out the facts. This type of mentality brings similar-minded people to the polls because it relies upon fear. It chases away people who are discouraged by a system that prides itself on disinformation or overt lies. It is a winning combination in the short term. It costs us credibility and possibly any future. But remember, the purpose of shock jocks was not public discourse, it was personal enrichment. Michele should be proud of her work. The people that encourage it by buying her books or paying for her time or even her supporters should not be.

Posted by: RespectingOthers | February 11, 2011 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I listen to Michele Bachmann's speeches so that I can have a rebuttal to the tales she is spinning. What I have noticed is that she is the queen of the half truth. She then draws an extreme conclusion which satisfies her base of supporters but is wrong. Medicare (CMS) actuaries put out three estimates per year regarding Medicare and Social Security costs. They are the worse case, average, and best case scenarios. Be careful of using something scientifically calculated in the context of angry rhetoric.

Posted by: Moderation | February 11, 2011 10:12 AM | Report abuse

In her report, Villarreal also assumed that Medicare Part B and Part D are funded through payroll taxes, even though they are currently funded through a combination of premiums and government spending. Villarreal said those calculations were done by another NCPA analyst, Andrew J. Rettenmaier. He said it was a "theoretical exercise," which he computed by recalculating data on the programs' estimated share of the gross domestic product at mid-century. He conceded there was little chance the government would begin to fund these programs through payroll tax hikes.

The change from the 2009 reports to the 2010 reports are pretty dramatic. Using NCPA's math, we calculate the "payroll tax burden" would be 29 percent, not 37 percent -- a 22 percent improvement because of the health-care law. If you take away the Part B and Part D numbers, since they are not paid through payroll taxes, the tax burden drops to 21 percent.

There are other problems. Bachmann acts as if this burden is borne entirely by the taxpayer, but it is actually shared equally by employees and employers. That's why the 15.3 percent of current payroll taxes only shows up at 7.65 percent in your paycheck. Economists might argue that employers reduce wages by an amount equal to the payroll tax, but it is is misleading for Bachmann not to acknowledge that. Suddenly, that 21 percent becomes 10.5 percent out of your paycheck.

Bachmann makes another mistake when she says, "That doesn't include what you will owe to the federal government for your federal income tax portion, and that could easily be another 25 percent of your income." There are marginal tax rates as high as 33 percent, but virtually no one pays an average of 25 percent of their income in federal income taxes. IT is more misleading not to acknowledge this fact.
This pushes the rates back to

----------------------------------------
Too many Pinocchios.

The real burden of social security on taxpayers is 15% (the amount paid by self-employed workers), not the 1/2 burden "shared" between employers and employees"(put in the make it appear that an employees taxes are 1/2 of actuality).

This pushes social security rates up to 21%.

Let's add ObamaCare. Based on France and Germany, let's add an additional 15% gross tax to take care of the new expenditures of people who have preexisting conditions or who cannot afford to pay the full premium rates. Pushes it 36%.

You reduced the load of social security taxes because of the partial payment with federal taxes, but you forgot to put back the same amount in the federal tax burden. All payments come from the Treasury, there is no special bank called "Social Security Trust Fund". Let's put back the 8% to reflect that while the money is not coming from Social Security, the same money is coming from federal tax payments.

Looks like we are now at 44%, not counting the needed additional taxes for Obamacare (conservative estimate--15% gross, example France

Posted by: PALADIN7E | February 11, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Looks like we are now at 44%, not counting the needed additional taxes for Obamacare (conservative estimate--15% gross, example France

Posted by: PALADIN7E | February 11, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Ummm well you already added 15% for Obamacare in the 44%. You can not add it in twice.

And I will argue that if you wish to include self employment rational for Social Secruity that you weigh in the cost of private heathcare insurance prior to and after Obamacare as well. Some how that expense before hand just magically disappears during talking points because of how you wish to frame it as either an expense or a tax.

Posted by: dcinmd1 | February 11, 2011 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Oh my, Bachmann is at it again! Not only does she consistently run up "pinocchios" on this site, she also has a multitude of problems over on Politifact. More than anyone else, even Rush Limbaugh, she has run up a list of "False ratings" and even worse, the extreme "Pants on Fire" ratings. Most of the pronouncements she has made are in those categories; I'm not sure I have seen even one "mostly true" or "true" rating. The thing that bothers me about Bachmann is that not only does she try to pass herself off as a champion of an oppressed lower-class, which she is not, but that she wants to also be known as a conservative Christian with Christian ideals. I'm not sure if all of her political posturing would qualify as bearing false witness, but surely it is lying on a grand scale, and I'm not sure any church supports that. She wants to get government out of lives. I wish someone at one of her speeches would have the guts to ask her about her family farm, which according to reports that I've seen received about $250,000 in federal subsidies between 1996 and 2006. If those reports are true, she certainly didn't mind a little "governmental influence" then.

Posted by: rtinindiana | February 11, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

How about a caption contest for this picture of hte HOT, HOT, HOTTIE? Maybe something to do with how long something was, and the wide open mouth?

Posted by: daweeni | February 11, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Bachmann is a pathological liar. She is incapable of stating any information without altering facts to suit her purpose. You can fact check her until the cows come home and she will never pass the truth test. Evidently the people in White Cloud that keep electing her don't really mind that their representative is a mindless purveyor of made up information and outright lies. She belongs in a psyche ward which in retrospect is pretty much the definition for the teabag caucus in DC.

Posted by: arkadie7 | February 11, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Bachmann essentially shouted "Fire!" in a hall full of people and got away without being charged!

Posted by: kishorgala | February 11, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

“If there was ever a time to make a change,” declared Bachmann, “this was it, and you did it!” She traced the outline of the monstrous national debt towering over America, pointing out that it took us 230 years to reach an $8 trillion debt… but only four years for the Congress of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to jack it up by 75%, and hit the $14 trillion debt ceiling.

Bachmann described the grim consequences of unrestrained government spending on the next generation, speaking with special passion to the many college students in the audience. Student loans, Social Security, Medicare Federal, State and local taxes eating up “up to 75% of college kids’ income could be taken in taxes” and how would they be able to afford homes, cars, food, families, or even i-tune downloads, if they get to keep only 25% of their income.

But at the current rate of spending we could reach $21 trillion in debt by the end of an Obama second term.

Bachmann used 75% twice in her speech. One to illustrate the increase in debt since Reid and Pelosi headed Congress and the other time to illustrate that if we don't change course college kid's could see up to 75% of their income go to pay back loans, taxes, and entitlements.

Her recommendations for action included bringing a halt to economy-killing regulations like cap-and-trade, support for a balanced budget amendment, an energy policy that “actually increases America’s energy production,” and rolling back our federal regulatory nightmare. Above all, she emphasized the importance of repealing ObamaCare, and allowing “the free market to work” in reducing health care costs.

She described Obamacare as “the never ending gift that keeps on giving to liberalism” – a 2,000 page bill that has already generated 6,000 pages of new rules. Since President Obama could support all of these initiatives, but supports none of them, Bachmann advised against taking his “hard pivots” to job creation and economic growth seriously.

Posted by: nancy_reid | February 11, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Someone should ask her why she hasn't addressed the fact that she is being investigated for the tune of 6 million.
Where did she get the money? What happened to the stimulas money for her district?
How much did she spend to start her Caucus or PAC? How much did she pay to Judge Scalia to appear at an event?. She needs to answer these questions. Future Canidates for office need to have some morals and be more honest. What we have in Washington are cheats, liars and totally dishonest people.

Posted by: sumo1 | February 11, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Michele Bachmann: "According to the National Center for Policy Analysis, in 2009, they said that college-aged students today...in your peak earning years, you will be looking at paying 37 percent of everything you make to the government just to satisfy Social Security and Medicare. 37 percent. That's more than a third of your income just to pay for that.”

Washington Post: "Using NCPA's math, we calculate the 'payroll tax burden' would be 29 percent, not 37 percent — a 22 percent improvement because of the health-care law."

This would be true if the health reform law was really going to hold down Medicare spending, but no one — not the Congressional Budget Office nor the Medicare Chief Actuary — thinks that’s going to happen. There is no cost control in the bill other than pushing down fees for doctors. In 2050, when Medicare fees are 50% of private fees, the payroll tax will be lower, but retirees will have extreme difficulty getting health care.

More:
http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Columns/2011/January/012511goodman.aspx

Posted by: DevonHerrick | February 11, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse


Republican (Tea Party) Rhetoric:

'Just reduce corporate, small business and individual taxes and watch our economy take off!'

then...

'Just strip the regulations (EPA, banking and the stock market) away that put a stranglehold on corporations and watch our economy take off!'

then...

'Just overturn "Obamacare" and watch our economy take off!' To hell with common Americans who need to ‘sell the ranch’ and file for bankruptcy if a debilitating illness hits a family. To hell with families who can’t afford insurance coverage, that deprives millions of Americans from the availability to cheaper, preventive medicine

Well, doesn't that just return us back to the "Voodoo Economics" of the Reagan/Bush/Bush II administrations that ran up this incredible debt; increased our dependence on depleted fossil fuels that only pad the pockets of OPEC and the majority, controlling oil company investors?

Weren't these the policies from the Bush administration that allowed the pillaging of most of the common people's small investments they were pretty much promised would be safe for retirement by the administration would be safe?

Aren't these the policies that increased the wealth of the upper 2% income earners, all from the pockets of the remaining 98% who actually lost wealth? Talk about a transfer of wealth the Republicans mention!

And for those disbelievers, it’s a fact that the upper 2% income rose and the remaining wage earners dropped. And that our economy really didn’t grow during the Bush administration, and whatever growth there was, was based on consumer debt. And guess who profited from that consumer debt?

Is it the Republican's (Tea Party) intention that it will be the responsibility of our military to insure the United States, for decades to come, gets its’ share of depleting fossil fuels? Do we really want a never ending military occupation that we're currently witnessing, of the oil producing countries?

And now what the Republicans (Tea Party) want is to gut, any and all social programs that allow millions of Americans to keep their families standard of living to even a level of existence; to strip away the availability of Social Security and Medicare benefits that Americans paid into for the better part of 45 years, with the promise that their retirement years will be subsidized.

If these Bush Policies were so productive for the American economy, where was this production during "W's" eight years in office, and why did the house of cards crumble?

I can only hope the American people are smarter than this! I sure hope the American people realize the interests of the Republican Party (Tea Party) aren’t the same as the interests for a majority of the people.

But why am I so skeptical?

Posted by: helloisanyoneoutthere | February 11, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

CPAC should be viewed as a long-running comedy festival. In that light it never fails to entertain.

Michele is cute, isn't she?

Posted by: turningfool | February 11, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

This tax fuss is kinda silly. As a nation, we don't pay much tax. The ones who whine the loudest are those to whom taxes matter least, quantitatively. The psychology at work here is that no one likes a forced contribution to someone else's social investment -- and yet we all use the commons. The commons includes the nation's infrastructure, education, innovation, and relief from severe poverty. So many of us think of ourselves as disconnected from people and forces that actually have profound impact on our lives, long and short term.

Posted by: frodot | February 11, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

While I have to admit I sure don't hang on this column and the ComPost in general, I have noticed you mainly check the "facts" of conservatives and ignore liberals. On top of that you use "your facts" and not any accepted actual fact. Might want to rename this column to opinion checker.

Posted by: theduck6 | February 11, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Are there any reality-based Republicans out there? If so, they apparently are not in Congress. These people lied us into a war and a recession, and continue to lie. I guess they're just on a roll.

Posted by: lddoyle2002 | February 11, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I honestly think that the topics of debate and logic should be taught in every school system, starting in middle school. Perhaps then we would move forward and think more critically when someone makes statements which purport to be fact.

Posted by: MichelleKinPA | February 11, 2011 3:12 PM | Report abuse

For the life of me I don't know why anybody in the media (aside from cluster fox) would give this wack-a-doodle any exposure for they could get more credibile information from anybody in a mental institute who spend their days lecturing to empty coke bottles.

Posted by: thomgr | February 11, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I am beginning to understand that to be conservative means being afraid of everything and lacking composure to think clearly, to engage in a constant rant and become one's own back ground noise, if no other reason than to avoid dealing with reality, which is way over their heads. The reason why no conservative stands out should be obvious. They are all the same. OK. We get the message. You don't want to pay any taxes. Well, once all the dust settles, rich people will be paying a lot more than they are paying now, which should be the real message. Everyone needs to pay their fair share. The solution is not destroying the fabric of our society.

Posted by: rryder1 | February 11, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

As anyone with half a brain knows, "She Lies."

Also I don't think she's every earned a dime from anyone other than the local, state or federal government right down to farm subsidies. She doesn't tell that part of her life story either.

Posted by: MNUSA | February 11, 2011 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Bachmann has truth issues, to be sure. More important is exactly what she and her band of merry idiots expect to leave in their wake IF they got their way.

Segue to Egypt where a kleptocracy reigned for 30 years. Take the story on India's poor in today's paper. Poor on the bottom, great wealth on the top. Minimal government assistance for the poor, the disadvantaged, rampant illiteracy and disease. You destroy a country that way.

Why not have the government rebuild us? Use it's credit to finance what the private sector cannot. Take defense spending and build bridges, railroads, solar and wind. Tax imports and the companies that make them in competition with domestic industry more heavily. Provide better education, housing and government financed jobs until we're on our feet! Bachmann and her buddies want exactly the reverse. Oh, and tell her to keep her phony version of christian values out of the equation. It was Jesus who believed in charity and helping one's neighbor. Clearly, that is not what she's about.

Oh, as a parting thought: in Denmark, the average salary is about $100k and half of that goes for taxes. Those taxes give them healthcare, education and good public transit and roads. They don't worry about half the stuff we do...and they live longer as well. What is wrong with us???

Posted by: BobfromLI | February 11, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

She triples the reality of what the tax burden will be and gets only 3 Pinocchios? You're being far too kind. That kind of exaggeration seems like a WHOPPER to me!

Posted by: luridone | February 11, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse

While I have to admit I sure don't hang on this column and the ComPost in general, I have noticed you mainly check the "facts" of conservatives and ignore liberals. On top of that you use "your facts" and not any accepted actual fact. Might want to rename this column to opinion checker.

Posted by: theduck6 | February 11, 2011 1:47 PM
_________________________________
And what facts that he used are not actual facts? Which of Bachmann's supposed facts jibe with reality?

Posted by: luridone | February 11, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Too many Pinocchios.

The real burden of social security on taxpayers is 15% (the amount paid by self-employed workers), not the 1/2 burden "shared" between employers and employees"(put in the make it appear that an employees taxes are 1/2 of actuality).

This pushes social security rates up to 21%.

Let's add ObamaCare. Based on France and Germany, let's add an additional 15% gross tax to take care of the new expenditures of people who have preexisting conditions or who cannot afford to pay the full premium rates. Pushes it 36%.

You reduced the load of social security taxes because of the partial payment with federal taxes, but you forgot to put back the same amount in the federal tax burden. All payments come from the Treasury, there is no special bank called "Social Security Trust Fund". Let's put back the 8% to reflect that while the money is not coming from Social Security, the same money is coming from federal tax payments.

Looks like we are now at 44%, not counting the needed additional taxes for Obamacare (conservative estimate--15% gross, example France

Posted by: PALADIN7E
----
Actually it is 15.3% however the law states that 7.65% for each of the employers and employees. For the self employed it is 15.3% reflecting the fact that the self employed are considered a business because they can hire people as well.

The Social Security is a trust fund because at one time it was separate from the federal budget. But thanks to the politicians who decided to make the budget picture look good by including it into federal budget to make the deficit look smaller (just like Bush did in 2003. The actual deficit that year was $750B however with the SS surplus it is $421B. He is not the only person who done it) This makes good politics to argue something when it is realistically dishonest by both sides.

What you also left out the tax loopholes that Congress put in to reduce the tax burden at the federal level. Another point is the symbiotic relationship between the taxes between the Federal-State-Local governments when you have a tax cut at one level, it reflect a increase in tax rate at another level just to maintain existing services (albeit that it gets wasted at times).
an extra Pinocchio for that.

Posted by: beeker25 | February 11, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

The name for this legislation is the Affordable Health Care for America Act.
The term "Obamacare" is a code word used by racists when they can't use the word they want to use, which is "N***erCare". Anyone that refers to the Affordable Health Care for America Act as "Obamacare" has no credibility or standing among intelligent people in a decent society, and those that insist on calling The Affordable Health Care for America Act "Obamacare" should be shunned for the vile, disgusting and dishonest racist monsters that they are.

Posted by: FriendofKeyserSoze | February 11, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Please let republitards nominate her and/or palin. It will make president Obama's inevitable victory much easier, and make it far easier for down ticket races to emphasize the flat out lie based policy agenda of the reactionary right.

Posted by: John1263 | February 11, 2011 4:23 PM | Report abuse

It just occurred to me that fact checking Bachmann and her ilk (Limbaugh, Palin, Hannity, Beck, etc.) is like a bad skeet shooter. When shooting skeet you aim where the clay pigeon is going to be – not where it is. Fact checking these “pigeons” is like shooting where they are - not where they will be. By time the shot reaches the target the “pigeons” are unconcerned about the fact checking since they have moved on to a new location where they will tell more half truths and fabrications.

Posted by: thomgr | February 11, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

. . . and what it the consolidated CPAC position regarding Lindsay Lohan??

. . . CPAC seems to be attracted to good looking stupid women.

Posted by: palmtree2001 | February 11, 2011 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Too many Pinocchios.

The real burden of social security on taxpayers is 15% (the amount paid by self-employed workers), not the 1/2 burden "shared" between employers and employees"(put in the make it appear that an employees taxes are 1/2 of actuality).

This pushes social security rates up to 21%.

Let's add ObamaCare. Based on France and Germany, let's add an additional 15% gross tax to take care of the new expenditures of people who have preexisting conditions or who cannot afford to pay the full premium rates. Pushes it 36%.

You reduced the load of social security taxes because of the partial payment with federal taxes, but you forgot to put back the same amount in the federal tax burden. All payments come from the Treasury, there is no special bank called "Social Security Trust Fund". Let's put back the 8% to reflect that while the money is not coming from Social Security, the same money is coming from federal tax payments.

Looks like we are now at 44%, not counting the needed additional taxes for Obamacare (conservative estimate--15% gross, example France

Posted by: PALADIN7E | February 11, 2011 Actually it is 15.3% however the law states that 7.65% for each of the employers and employees. For the self employed it is 15.3% reflecting the fact that the self employed are considered a business because they can hire people as well.

The Social Security is a trust fund because at one time it was separate from the federal budget. But thanks to the politicians who decided to make the budget picture look good by including it into federal budget to make the deficit look smaller (just like Bush did in 2003. The actual deficit that year was $750B however with the SS surplus it is $421B. He is not the only person who done it) This makes good politics to argue something when it is realistically dishonest by both sides.

What you also left out the tax loopholes that Congress put in to reduce the tax burden at the federal level. Another point is the symbiotic relationship between the taxes between the Federal-State-Local governments when you have a tax cut at one level, it reflect a increase in tax rate at another level just to maintain existing services (albeit that it gets wasted at times).
an extra Pinocchio for that.

Posted by: beeker25 | February 11, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

The "employer" payment is a fiction. The net reduction of payment is to the employee's gross salary. Where would the money be spent if it was not taken out of an employee's pay. For social security collection purposes, there is no accounting difference between the two, all of it ends up in one social security tax payment going to the treasury.

Tax loopholes? An unadjusted Alternative Minimum Tax does not seem like a loophole to me. Who gets these loopholes? What are they? Actually, with an unadjusted Alternative Minimum tax, with a social security tax and medicare tax that must double to pay current beneficiaries....

not such a good dea

Posted by: PALADIN7E | February 11, 2011 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Let's get real here - although Michelle Bachman is an airhead and a serial liar, why focus just on her lies?

If every speaker at CPAC was required to only tell the truth, it would be an awfully quiet conference because nobody would be speaking.

Come to think of it that's true of the quadrennial Republican convention too!

Posted by: sambam | February 11, 2011 5:32 PM | Report abuse

to theduck6:

I play no favorites. This week I awarded Pinocchios to Obama and to Clinton, in addition to Bachmann and Rumsfeld. Last week I dinged Harry Reid and Bill Daley. There is lots of speechifying at CPAC so that is keeping me busy. I doubt over time you will be able to discern my ideology one way or the other.

Posted by: glennkessler | February 11, 2011 5:33 PM | Report abuse

The "employer" payment is a fiction. The net reduction of payment is to the employee's gross salary. Where would the money be spent if it was not taken out of an employee's pay. For social security collection purposes, there is no accounting difference between the two, all of it ends up in one social security tax payment going to the treasury.

Posted by: PALADIN7E | February 11, 2011 5:16 PM

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Has it not penetrated your brain that the employer would KEEP that 7.65%, or at least a greater part of it? There's NOTHING to suggest that the full amount, or even a significant percentage of it, would go to increasing employee wages.

Except, perhaps, in unionized companies. But I'll bet you despise unions.

Posted by: luridone | February 11, 2011 5:34 PM | Report abuse

If you had any doubt that Kessler was anything more than another liberal partisan hack, take a peek at the picture he chose of Bachmann.

The Post is a partisan joke.

Posted by: clydle | February 11, 2011 5:54 PM | Report abuse


How is this self-appointed partisan WaPo hack Kessler any more of a "fact checker" than fired leftist hack Dave Weigel? Hmm? This is Weigel redux, except that instead of masquerading as "the view from the right", leftist hack Kessler is pretending to be "the objective truth". Which is even more insidious than Weigel, not to mention arrogant.

Posted by: screwjob23 | February 11, 2011 6:13 PM | Report abuse

I sure wish Google would hurry up on their lie detector software for politicians. It would help people filter through all the garbage.

Posted by: ringlingj | February 11, 2011 6:16 PM | Report abuse

"Wrong, wrong, wrong. Has it not penetrated your brain that the employer would KEEP that 7.65%, or at least a greater part of it? There's NOTHING to suggest that the full amount, or even a significant percentage of it, would go to increasing employee wages."

Actually there is a very big SOMETHING to suggest that the employer would be willing to pay the entire amount to the employee; the entire amount is already part of the expenses the employer is willing to pay to have that employee work for that business.

Has it not penetrated your brain that all business owners are not the cruel, exploitative Simon Legrees that inhabit the lurid fantasies that populate the cartoon cutout school of leftist idealogues? Business men negotiate the marketplace of labor, capital, products and services to build their wealth, and are constrained by the hard-edged realities of those multi-layered transactions to pay what they have to earn what they want to.

Posted by: Ken16 | February 11, 2011 6:32 PM | Report abuse

take some time and fact check the liar in the whitehouse pinhead.

Posted by: 12thgenamerican | February 11, 2011 6:46 PM | Report abuse

I see from reading some of the posts here and, pay stub in hand, trying to decipher some of the math. I came to a conclusion.

Sarah Pallin and Michelle Bachman are not the only failures of our education system on exhibit here.

The bottom line, no matter how right-wingers try to rewrite history, conservatives have been driving this country since 1969 with few breaks for a glimpse of reality. The GOP fiscal policies and 19th century deregulation policies have failed. Again.

Expecting these people to fix it or be capable of fixing it is as practical as building a bridge to the moon. rest assured, though, they have no intention of even trying to fix it. There solution, again, is more of the same only higher, deeper, faster, longer and definitely more painfully.

Posted by: PoliticalPrisoner2012 | February 11, 2011 7:22 PM | Report abuse

What? A lying conservative? Who'd a-thought.

The problem is: those pesky libs just keep taking facts and truths into account.

No wonder the conservative like Bachmann want to cut education funding... it can be the only way they can build a base of brainless followers and ranters.

Posted by: josh13 | February 11, 2011 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Kent16: not so fast. it's just as logical to suggest that employers have determined how much they need to pay to get the employees they need. If an expense that doesn't go to the employees is eliminated, there is no reason they wouldn't keep it, any more than they wouldn't keep any savings from worker's comp and unemployment insurance premiums and the like. there is no reason they would pass it on to employees rather than shareholders.

Posted by: JoeT1 | February 11, 2011 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Conservatives are pathetic. Their entire "strategy" consists of lying in a very loud voice while spewing totally inaccurate "data".

Stick a fork in 'em. They're done.

Posted by: fluxgirl | February 11, 2011 9:21 PM | Report abuse

When thinking about the statement that "The average tax rate is 12.24 percent, according to the Tax Foundation, which says it seeks to educate people about the tax burden."
don't forget that something like half the people in this country don't pay taxes.
Michelle Bachman is a distraction. That her numbers don't add up should surprise no one.

Posted by: archturn | February 11, 2011 9:30 PM | Report abuse

When thinking about the statement that "The average tax rate is 12.24 percent, according to the Tax Foundation, which says it seeks to educate people about the tax burden."
don't forget that something like half the people in this country don't pay taxes.
Michelle Bachman is a distraction. That her numbers don't add up should surprise no one.

Posted by: archturn | February 11, 2011 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Bachmann was the woman who claimed that a Presidential trip cost $200 million per day. She's hardly going to be bothered by the nonsense she says at CPAC. The people at CPAC don't care either. For their purposes she says what the want to hear.

Posted by: James10 | February 11, 2011 9:34 PM | Report abuse

You can go to any 'payroll tax calculator' online such as

http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/tax-planning/401k-deduction-calculator-taxes.aspx
Or you can go to the IRS tax tables and compute it by hand in a few seconds.

Key in $1M annual salary and see that the federal tax alone is 32.7% and the higher the annual income, the closer to 35% it will become. Add to that FICA, Medicare, state and local taxes and you will approach 50%.

The fact checkers are full of bull-o-knee. Of course the average is low. Fifty percent of the country pays ZERO federal taxes.

.

Posted by: Hawaiian_Gecko | February 11, 2011 10:02 PM | Report abuse

One thing's clear: someone should have used standardized tests to determine whether this woman deserved to graduate. Her grasp of basic math is appalling.

Posted by: mdennis74 | February 11, 2011 10:10 PM | Report abuse

This woman is a serious career idiot. She makes the people of Minnesota look dumb as rocks. They were after all stupid enough to elect this fool. That doesn't say very much for their collective smarts to say the least.

Posted by: Nymous | February 11, 2011 10:30 PM | Report abuse

My annual before-taxes income is usually between $500K and $700K, and I pay 33% of my income in Federal Income Tax, not counting so-called payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare. This is usually a little over $200K which I pay. Other than my relatively high income, there is nothing particularly unusual about my situation. I have no debt and take the standard deduction in my tax returns. Therefore, the statement that "virtually no one pays more than 25% of their income in Federal income tax appears to be untrue. So much for "facts checking".

Posted by: DaveHarris | February 11, 2011 10:45 PM | Report abuse

How do you know Michele Bachmann is lying?

Her lips are moving.

The only thing her mouth might be good for is as a receptacle for a sausage that produces high protein fluids.

But she's probably horrible at even that.

But at least that would shut her up!

Posted by: tonyw44 | February 11, 2011 11:28 PM | Report abuse

She SHOULD know better. Of course, she's basically a Sarah Palin carbon copy, so...yeah, she either doesn't or pretends not to.

Posted by: ravensfan20008 | February 11, 2011 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Does the country have a minimum I.Q. requirement before you can run for any political office or is Minnesota an exception?

Posted by: skinfreak | February 11, 2011 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Tea Party extremists whose primary goal is to make the “socialist, non-American” Barack Obama a one-term President are actually doing the exact opposite. The more they rabble-rouse and trumpet their ignorance under the guise of patriotism, the more they will alienate middle-of-the road independents, the critical thinkers, who, in the final analysis, will be the voters who will determine the winner in the 2012 Presidential election. Indeed, the cleverest countermove that Obama supporters could make is to donate to the campaign funds of Tea Partier Michele Bachmann and others of her ilk. This would be a more effective and far less costly way to promote Obama than the usual prime-time TV ads. -- By the way, have any of those folks shown waving copies of the U.S. Constitution at the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference actually read the document through? And if some have, did they understand it?

Posted by: Carlossss | February 12, 2011 4:46 AM | Report abuse

Just rhetoric by the Republican bigwigs, to roil their voting fodder, so they can get themselves voted into Congress where pass laws that favor the rich. Why else would these common folk care about sadddling their grandchildren with debt -- after all, they don't mind saddling them with a world that is embroiled with war and havoc due to climate change (so what if they deny it -- the majority of real scientists say it's true). In other words, they are inconsistent boobs who just get their heads twisted this way and that by the Republican elite -- who are rich, and don't need government services to begin with.

Posted by: johnnormansp | February 12, 2011 9:26 AM | Report abuse

To DaveHarris:

I was speaking in terms of averages--as indicated by the Tax Foundation figures--but obviously there are exceptions. If you are single making $700,000 and take no mortgage interest or other deductions, you will pay about 31 percent. If you are making $500,000, it's about 30 percent. With this income, I assume you have some investment income so that would bring the percentages down because taxes on dividends are much lower. Still, perhaps "virtually no one" was a bit overstated. You are certainly an example of someone who does not fit the average.

Posted by: glennkessler | February 12, 2011 12:43 PM | Report abuse


I first worked with 123 mortgage refi more than a year and recently I refinanced my loan, again with 123. Both times I scoured the field for other options, and I found no-one better than 123. The process was very professional and straight forward; all estimates were in writing.

Posted by: kimtyler133 | February 13, 2011 3:16 AM | Report abuse

Wrong on the caption. Perhaps should be: "Bachmann describes the benefits of Ben Rothlesbergers size 15 shoe."

Posted by: Brianwithaneye | February 16, 2011 10:22 AM | Report abuse

She can say anything she wants knowing tht her base or 'the base' won't check what she says. She only has to imply what will happen. That's what gets sent through the ethers as the truth. As long as she riles the base 'against Obama', she's done her job.

Unfortunately.

Posted by: passap1 | February 17, 2011 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company