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Transparency

  • Per capita GDP in the United States is roughly $47,000.
  • Per capita personal income is about $39,880.

Let’s think about the kind of tax system we have in the U.S.

What kind of effective marginal tax rates do you think a family faces that has per capita income below half of per capita GDP in the country or per capita income that is only 56% of the per capita personal income rates?

10%? No. Try again.

15%? No. Try again.

20%? No. Try again.

30%? No. Try again.

40%? No. Try again.

How about 42.38%? Bingo!

I was just awarded $10,000 more per year in salary for teaching additional classes and taking on additional responsibilities at school. I only get to keep $5,762 of it. Each semester is 14 weeks, so that is like me teaching classes for pay the first 8 weeks of the semester, and then working for free for the remaining 6 weeks. I love teaching, so I guess that is a measure of how much. But working for 43% of the time for free? Wasn’t that slavery? Who is doing the exploitation in the world? The employers that are paying me the $10,000, or the looters that are taking the $4,238 from me?

That 42.38% might be a slight overstatement – I try to get my witholdings right so that I don’t let Uncle Sam get any more of my money than he already intends to steal – so maybe the right number is 40% or so. Think about that, our family has a per capita income well below the average in America, and the next dollar of our income is taxed at 42.38%. That does not include the 8.25% in sales taxes that I’ll have to pay when I purchase something with it and that does not include the taxes I would have to pay on it if I invested it an saved it.

I might be less appalled if the taxes were used to fund anything that I approved of – but that is not the case. Even so, here is a little perspective for you. We have two kids, and we send them each to Catholic school. They are tiny, so they are only in pre-school. When they are of regular school age, their combined tuition will exceed $8,000 per year. The extra income I get from working extra hours here at U of R would have been enough to send each of them to school for a year. Of course, the taxes are enough to send one of my kids to school for a year.

Without the extra income, it would be a real stretch for our family to send our kids to the school of our choice. I still pay nearly $6,500 in property taxes to largely fund the schools that I do not wish to send my children to. These are excellent schools, no doubt – but I do not wish to send my children to school on the dimes of someone else, nor do I wish to have them further indoctrinated in the religion of the state by an unaccountable teachers’ union.  Is it any wonder Catholic schools are closing down faster than Obama’s job approval numbers?

So, there’s a little transparency for you. I’ll share my 2009 tax return with you in a few weeks.

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