Income Tax Stupidity: The NY Times Edition

Who knew Warren Buffett had his own special tax bracket? With reporting like this, who needs Republicans? From a NY Times story about limiting the tax break for charitable donations by the rich (italics mine):

“If you’re a teacher making $50,000 a year and decide to donate $1,000 to the Red Cross or United Way, you enjoy a tax break of $150,” Mr. Orszag wrote. “If you are Warren Buffett or Bill Gates and you make that same donation, you get a $350 deduction, more than twice the teacher.”
(Actually, Mr. Buffett’s overall tax rate was somewhere around 17 percent, according to his testimony before Congress, and thus his deduction would be less than the teacher’s. Mr. Gates has not disclosed his tax rate.)

For fuck’s sake, get it right. Buffett was making the point that his overall federal tax burden as a percentage of his income was lower than that of many middle-class people. There is no special Warren Buffett tax bracket. Any non-dividend income after deductions he has (assuming it falls into the top bracket) is taxed at 35%.
Stupid. This really isn’t that hard.
How am I supposed to eat my lunch while reading the newspaper? Everything I ate will come right back up again….

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2 Responses to Income Tax Stupidity: The NY Times Edition

  1. Troublesome Frog says:

    Wow. People really do a terrible job of distinguishing between marginal and average tax rates, but this is just pathetic. Actually, the worst part is that Stephanie Strom is apparently a financial reporter. My heart is sad.

  2. A says:

    This paragraph in Stephanie Strom’s NYT article is another example of the convention in American journalism, that any fact mentioned which shows some advantage to the upper classes must immediately be followed by an excuse or justification (Normally: ‘the rich get richer’ is followed by ‘only by giving them more can they create more jobs’).

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