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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Those damned taxes

What's Mallard raving about today?

President Obama, Taxes.

The burns.

This Straw Man is predicated on attaching some relevance to whether someone pays additional taxes when filing their tax return.

Not paying additional taxes in April is simply not equivalent to "not paying any taxes." Or did you not notice the taxes deducted from your paycheck every week?

This is not something I would expect to have to explain to a living creature more intelligent than a paramecium, since it only requires a passing familiarity with "addition" and "subtraction."

Since Mallard mostly occupies himself with the daily struggle to keep himself spittle-free, I guess it might be a hard concept for him to grasp. As such, I would be better of trying to explain it to the paramecium.

As someone once's like they take pride in being ignorant.


Anonymous said...

Conservatives, especially the Bushes and Reagan, gave money to guys who never paid income tax: Rich, powerful assholes, like Tinsley, who never do any work.

Tinsley of course, means that Obama gives money to the poor. Tinsley believes that the level of taxation should be indirectly proportional to income, until, when the income exceeds $500,000 a year, it hits zero.

Tinsley manages to contradict his own messsage because rich men and corporations do not pay income tax! I just hate this comic more every time I think about it!

Andrew Johnston said...

Notice that the Obama caricature continues to degrade. This time it's his eyes, which have been shrinking since the Mallard's visit comics. In today's comic, it doesn't even look like he has eyes - more like a big mole, or some sort of piercing.

Chances are that laziness is the culprit and not malice, but seriously Tins - you've only been drawing him on a regular basis for a few months now. At this rate, by 2012 Tinsley will be drawing Obama as a lumpy brown potato (w/ penis chin). If he gets re-elected, it'll probably get to the point where Tinsley is copying other caricatures, getting the colorist to tint them brown and labeling them "Barack Obama."

Anonymous said...

Fuck tax cuts. In the context of the economic stimulus package, ANY tax cuts are a concession to Republicans. Most economists agree, stimulating the economy requires massive government spending on big infrastructure projects. Tax cuts will have very little impact. The only reason they are in there is because tax cuts are the Republicans' answer to every question.

Of course, at this point, the Republicans want Obama to fail, and will do whatever they can to see that that happens.

Anonymous said...

There actually is a valid point to this cartoon, although MF doesn't explain it. Most of the Obama "tax cuts" were actually going to increase tax credits given to those who do not pay any net taxes in any event. Many people are unaware of the fact that those below a certain level of income not only do not pay taxes, but receive back more than anything withheld. See for a clear explanation.

Scanman said...

The Right continues to put out the lie that people who are on the lower ranks of income don't pay income taxes. Until this year I never made more than 25G and I have always paid income taxes even when I got Earned Income Credits.

If they want us to pay MORE taxes, I say give us a good raise.

Scanman said...

The same right wing says the rich pay about 90% of their income in taxes. They get this number by adding all the percentage points of all the taxes they pay.

23% income tax
9% sales tax
4% state income tax
4% phone bill tax
5% utilities tax
12% capital gains tax
3% city income taxes
20% car park tax
10% luxury tax
and there you are paying 90% on taxes!

(The numbers are fiction but the taxes are not)

Of course these taxes only count if you're rich.

rewinn said...

Scanman - let us not forget their other lie, or perhaps technically it's only misleading: that when you talk about the poor, "income taxes" are the only taxes worth considering.

The poor in America pay a huge fraction of their income in taxes, it's just that the taxes are in the form of sales tax and the like.

As for today's strip, it's just tired. The punchline is funny only if you're ignorant about economics, and that's a shrinking demographic.

First, there's an important analytical difference between a stimulus package (see in the cartoon where Tinkley writes "stimulus" ... in case his readers can't figure it out?) and income tax policy. If your purpose is to stimulate the economy and your tool is messing around with the tax system, it completely does not matter that someone previous paid zero taxes; you're just using the tax system in lieu of mailing checks. Tinkley's "punchline" has no meaning.

The other bit of ignorance that is REALLY important to understanding today's strip is that Obama consistently campaigned on the proposal that he's putting forth; it therefore makes no sense to quack that middle class tax cuts are a concession to the same GOP that fought against Obama.

Anonymous said...

86% of all federal income taxes are paid by the top 25% of income earners.

The top 1% pay 39% of all federal income taxes. Data released by the IRS.

David in NYC said...

OK, Anonymous Tinsley: Perhaps you would like to also tell us what percentage of INCOME goes to each group? Just sayin'...

Also, it is an Economics 101 exercise to demonstrate that a progressive tax is both fairer and more efficient. Anyone who attempts to argue that the rich are more "burdened" by taxes than the poor doesn't know his ass from his elbow.

Rewinn/Scanman: Don't forget explicitly regressive taxes, like FICA deductions and sales taxes, and implicitly regressive taxes, like state lotteries. I know we don't call state lotteries "taxes", but that's really what they are. Same thing with so-called "fees", etc.

WV: tatori. IIRC, that's one of the more famous restaurants here in NYC.

Anonymous said...

I simply stated facts. If you or "fuckreagan" or "scanman" are losers, who do not have or will never have the skills or education to attain a job which pays a large salary, whom should we blame for that?

It is your life to do your best for yourself. Do not expect me to take care of you. But that is exactly why Obama is your president.

Anonymous said...

So where was all this stimulus-bashing back when Bush introduced his plan? Mallard didn't seem to think that was socialist.

Anonymous said...

I have never known someone to change their political opinion based on someone's posted links and articles. NEVER. I know libertarians and conservatives and liberals and socialists who quote and sometimes write their own original persuasive work, and never have I once seen anyone comment or say in real life "That was a real good article. I've changed parties."

Therefore I am forced to conclude that the anonymous posters here who use liberal as a dirty word are suffering from low self-esteem. They know they can't convince, and by dodging questions or falling back on someone's opinions they show that they aren't interested in engaging in real debate, so it really must just be a chance to raise blood pressure and "Stick it to the liberals" and feel better.

Almost like counting coup. Might I suggest ""? (Hint: many of the "conservative" posters are die-hard liberals.)

Anonymous said...

Poor Anonymous. Not only did he imply that "education" is a good thing instead of extolling the virtue of ignorance, he also accidentally called Obama "President" instead of insisting that since Obama said the oath wrong, Bush is still President.

I guess seeing a "halfrican" in the White House broke Anon's brain so badly that he can't even parrot the Republican party line anymore.

Unknown said...

ex: funny your should mention I used to suspect that Bruce Tinsley was actually a progressive cartoonist bent on lampooning conservative dumbassery by inflating GOP views to caricature levels.
The existence of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity, however, make me feel that Mallard is the profoundly depressing genuine article.

Anonymous said...

Awwwwwwww. Isn't it cute, our erstwhile troll is attempting to use numbers. Be careful, little troll, you're liable to hurt yourself.

Did you know that in 2002, the top 10% of all households in the United States earned 36.2% of total income, and the top 1% of all households earned 13.2% of total income? CBO data. That's not the question, though. The question is, does it matter?

If I've got a $1,000 and you have $3, and a can of Natty Bo costs $2, who's it going to hurt more to enjoy a brewskie from the Land of Pleasant Living? You, of course. The price is a negligible portion of my income and reduces my purchasing power not at all.

And so it goes with taxes. Who gives a fuck if the top 25% of income earners pays 86% of all taxes? I fall in that top 25% and I certainly don't. So I pay an effective 32% tax rate. So what? If have plenty of money at the end of each pay period AFTER setting aside retirement and college money AND buying both luxuries and necessities, an increase in my marginal tax rate won't effect my spending habits one bit.

So, perhaps you can tell me why liberals should be appalled by the figures you cite?

WV: perbl - the gentle cooing our erstwhile troll makes after inserting a gerbil in his rectum

David in NYC said...

Anonymous Tinsley: Thank you so much for totally ignoring my case while simultaneously exposing your bias and ignorance. Let's take a look:

"I simply stated facts."
Yes, indeed -- cherry-picked facts that only show one side of the story. I asked you for the other side, you totally ignored me.

"If you or "fuckreagan" or "scanman" are losers, who do not have or will never have the skills or education to attain a job which pays a large salary, whom should we blame for that?"

This is so typically ignorant on so many levels:

-- ad hominem arguments are not facts, nor do they improve your case.
-- you have absolutely no clue as to the skills, education, job, or salary of myself or any other commenter here. I won't speak for the others you name (that's your job, I guess), but my skills include over 40 years of working experience, the last 29 in my current field; my education includes an M.A. in Economics from NYU, my job is at an extremely presitigious law firm (hint: Eric Holder works here), and my salary is in 6 figures. Just a wild guess, but I will bet dollars to donuts that my skills, experience, job, and salary are all greater than yours.

"It is your life to do your best for yourself."
Thank you for the empty platitude, O wise man.

"Do not expect me to take care of you."
I never have and never will, since it appears you can barely take care of yourself, if the intelligence behind your comment is any indicator.

"But that is exactly why Obama is your president."
No, actually, Obama is my president (and guess what -- if you live in the USofA, he's yours, too) because he was elected by a margin of several million votes and over 200 electoral votes -- a vote that was primarily a rejection of you and your ilk and your discredited and disgraced "philosophy".

OK, I am done feeding the troll.

Kyle said...

It baffles me when a person like Anonymous, who'll almost assuredly benefit from the Obama tax plan, lambastes such economic principles on the hypothetical and unlikely chance he reaches the top tax bracket. Hell, even those at the top were better off in the Clinton years.

Additionally, the "elitist" tag that was so readily slapped on Obama and by default Democrats in general seems ironic when one of the GOP talking points is that anyone who votes Democratic must be an unmotivated, uneducated parasite incapable or (more likely) unwilling to pull his/herself UP BY THE BOOTSTRAPS!

You do have to tip your cap to Tinsley, though. He's managed to repeat the same four "jokes" (media is liberal, taxes are bad, education is evil, BIG GOVERNMENT) in increasingly uninteresting ways for two decades and still hasn't been fired. Getting paid for laziness: now that's pulling yourself up by the bootstraps!

Jazzbumpa said...

I'd just like to point out that most discussion on taxation focuses on income tax, and fails to take note of the payroll tax. This is a flat percentage (regressive)of earnings, and cuts off at a ceiling (regressive on steroids.) Percentage is 6.2 SS + 2.9 medicare. Double this because the employer pays a like amount. Employer also pays 6.2% federal unemployment tax. The employer portion is a hidden tax on the employee. Total taxation up to the ceiling is over 20%, before the income tax even starts. For '08 the ceiling is $102K.

Note payroll taxes do not apply to interest or dividend income. This is how we soak the working poor.

rewinn said...

Kyle - You're being reasonable again, which is why you don't understand Anonymous Coward.

It is, unfortunately, not true that people vote or even argue in their own self-interest, economic or otherwise. As well described in Lakoff's "The Conservatives Mind" conservatives make an emotional commitment to a 'strong, punitive daddy' version of Reality, then invent or borrow intellectual justifications for whatever policy positions flow from that. That the justifications are often contradictory or nonsensical does not matter, any more than your preference for beer or chocolate doesn't matter.

Today's "comic", for example, is about a "stimulus" packet. Now, an effective stimulus package cants heavily toward the lower wage brackets, since they tend to spend locally and immediately ( rather than saving and investing abroad. ) If you wanted an effective stimulus, you'd do things like increase the minimum wage, promote unionization so workers can bargain for hire wages, impose a tariff to equalize labor costs of foreign vs. domestic goods; and if you're going to use the tax system as part of a stimulus, then rebate or something aiming at the lowest rungs.

But this violates the Punitive Daddy Principle; poor people must be poor because they are bad or foolish or stupid, and they should not get any pudding because they didn't eat their meat. Thus an effectual stimulus package, as described above, is BAD, regardless of its effectiveness, because it gives something to BAD people (the poor).

Likewise (...finally addressing your point directly ...) Anonymous Coward and his ilk argue against programs that benefit them personally because they have a self-image to maintain: Ayn Randian ubermenschen completely self-created out of the dust. That, of course, does not prevent such peeps from reaping the socially-maintained benefits such as police, fire, and the internet.

None of this is lost on the most successful politcos, which is why the WSJ editorial page is such amusing reading. Utterly illogical, but amusingly predictable.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to disappoint you little man but as far as your salary vs. mine, you are wrong again.

I suppose you have impressed some of your Mallard follower friends.

Anonymous said...

So are you actually going to say WHY wavydavy's wrong, or are you just going to continue this pathetic display of self-worship?

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah? Well, I make infinity-plus-one times what you make, Anonycoward! No, really! Neener neener doo doo!

Man, it's fun to watch the right-wing dead-enders implode.

GeoX, who is here to stay, like it or not. said...

Yeah, this place is a real clown show lately. I don't get it. They're certainly not impressing US, so...what? Is it some sort of masochistic onanism? Not pretty to think about.

rewinn said...

"...Is it some sort of masochistic onanism?...


That's what trolling is all about: verbally farting in an elevator and hoping someone will hit you.

Kinda like drawing a reichwing "comic" that doesn't do comedy.

"...Not pretty to think about.

Double Yep.

Anonymous said...

Oh look, isn't it cute! Our adorable little troll is making unspecific, unverifiable claims about his income. Next he's going to tell us that his Daddy can beat up our Daddy.

Scanman said...

The top 1% has 80%+ of the wealth, if they only pay 39% of the taxes, they are paying less than half of their share.

Scanman said...

We take care of you, Any, with our hard work and lower pay since Reagan. And the bigger burden of taxes is on us when you factor in our increased tax burden since Reagan. If you live in a red state us blue staters are paying for everything your state gets form the US.

Hope your daddy's trust fund holds out.

Scanman said...

You obviously don't work hard for your "vast" wealth to waste your time here. Is there a neglected child pulling your pant leg hoping for some attention from angry rich daddy?

brashieel said...


While I'm certainly not going to defend Anon-troll or his intellectually bankrupt posturing, I do feel the need to point out that there are several red states that are net donors when it comes to federal taxes/benefits. Texas, for one example.

Anonymous said...


Exactly what salary is required to have a qualified opinion on taxes?

I'm going to guess $268,957.45. Not a penny more or less.