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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 15, 2011 / 11 Nissan, 5771

Spare Us the Hypocrisy, Mr. President

By Linda Chavez



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | President Obama offered few concrete suggestions for spending cuts this week in his much-anticipated speech on reducing the federal debt, but he had lots to say about raising taxes.

 

"As a country that values fairness, wealthier individuals have traditionally borne a greater share of this burden than the middle class or those less fortunate. Everybody pays, but the wealthier have borne a little more," the president said. So he wants to raise the top marginal tax rate to 39.6 percent and eliminate itemized deductions for the top 2 percent of earners.

 

What the president didn't say is that he has taken full advantage of each and every tax deduction available to him in order to lower his taxes on his more than $5 million per year income. No one forces Obama to take these deductions, which he objects to so strenuously for everyone else in his income bracket. So let's take a look at the deductions he took last year (the president's 2009 return and that of Vice President Joe Biden are available online):

 

In 2009, Obama took itemized deductions of $514,819, a foreign tax credit of $59,372, and a deduction for interest on his home of $52,195. He was also able to take a deduction for $49,000 he contributed to his self-employed retirement fund. If he had not taken these deductions, he would have paid taxes on an additional $675,386, which in his income bracket would have meant he owed somewhere in the neighborhood of $200,000 more in taxes at the top marginal tax rate of 35 percent.

 

Furthermore, he instructed the Nobel committee to donate his entire $1.4 million Nobel Prize directly to 10 charities, thereby avoiding the necessity of declaring the money as income on which he would have owed an additional $490,000 in taxes.

 

If the president is so appalled at the rich and their ability to hire accountants to take advantage of each and every deduction, why doesn't he simply take the standard deduction on his tax return, like most Americans? In 2009, he could have claimed an $11,400 standard deduction for married couples, as well as an additional $7,300 for his two daughters. Admittedly, that's a loss of more than $650,000 in deductions -- but at least he could avoid looking like a hypocrite by advocating one thing for everyone else and doing quite another himself.

 

Obama might even get a few of his liberal millionaire and billionaire friends to go along if he leads by example. Obama supporter Warren Buffett is famous for declaring his taxes are too low. Maybe Buffett would be willing to forego filing all those additional schedules on his tax return and simply take the standard deduction instead. Last year, Buffett claimed he paid an effective rate of 17.7 percent on the $46 million he earned, or roughly $8 million. But if he'd simply taken the standard deduction, he would have paid almost twice that in taxes. No one stopped him from doing so.

 

And then there's Obama's good friend Jeffrey Immelt, General Electric CEO and chairman of the White House Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Mr. Immelt's firm will pay no federal income taxes on the more than $5 billion it earned in the U.S. in 2010. It's all perfectly legal. The company can take net operating losses to offset its tax liabilities, including certain carryovers from previous years. What's more, Immelt has a fiduciary responsibility to shareholders to take advantage of all tax deductions the company is entitled to.

 

But there's nothing that stops Immelt from paying additional taxes on his personal income if he chooses to forego deductions. According to GE's annual filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, GE paid Immelt $7.3 million in cash and perquisites worth almost $400,000, in addition to stock currently worth $7.4 million, which vests over time.

 

Perhaps Obama should ask Immelt to skip his itemized deductions for the year and fork over $5 million to Uncle Sam. Somehow I don't see that happening. Like most limousine liberals -- who fly private jets to global warming conferences and live in 10,000 square-foot houses -- President Obama talks a great line but lives very differently.

 

When the president voluntarily gives up his deductions and asks his wealthy donors to do the same, he'll have some moral authority to argue, as he tried to in his speech, that he wants a tax code that "is fair and simple -- so that the amount of taxes you pay isn't determined by what kind of accountant you can afford." Until then, spare us the hypocrisy, Mr. President.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


JWR contributor Linda Chavez is President of the Center for Equal Opportunity. Her latest book is "Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)

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