Tax Day

By: Mark Hyman

Tax Day is over.

Now, let’s discuss our dysfunctional tax system. Our federal tax code is more than 70,000 pages long. If stacked, it reaches more than 25 feet high.   [20,000 pages of ObamaCare regulations when stacked reach more than 7 feet and 2.5 inches high.]

One of every two Americans has no federal income tax liability. Half of us are paying for everyone else.

[The percentage of Americans polled who view their taxes as fair is at the lowest level since the Clinton era.]

President Barack Obama — with an estimated net worth of $12 million — campaigned on the Buffett Rule. Millionaires — which he defines as anyone making $250,000 or more — should pay at least 30% of their income in federal taxes.

But he doesn’t mean himself or his cronies.

According to his 2012 returns, Obama paid just 18% in federal income taxes.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and General Electric’s Jeffrey Immelt are among major campaign donors and supporters of Obama. Facebook had 1.1 billion dollars in profits last year, paid nothing in taxes and got a $429 million refund from the IRS. Two years ago, in spite 14.2 billion dollars in profit, GE didn’t pay one dime.

Speaking of reported income, Biden is the first-ever official who actually makes money from his Secret Service protection. This year, Biden is charging $66,000 in rent to the Secret Service for the agents who protect him while home in Delaware.

[On the flip side, Joe and Jill Biden are exceptionally stingy when it comes to the less fortunate.  They gave less than 2% of their income to charity.]

I’m in favor of making a buck. But try charging admission to the fire department when they’re called out to your come.

[Read more below:]

The Hypocrisy of Warren Buffett and the ‘Buffett Rule’

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett wrote in the New York Times in 2011 that the wealthy should pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than do the middle class.

The wealthy do pay a higher rate on personal income. But everyone in America is taxed at a lower rate for dividend and capital gains income.

For several decades Buffett advocated tax avoidance strategies at his firm.

President Barack Obama has called this the Buffett Rule in his campaign for higher taxes.

Critics have called Buffett a hypocrite. And for good reason.

When he wrote his New York Times op-ed his company Berkshire-Hathaway (the 8th largest company in the world) owed taxes of more than one billion dollars going back 10 years.  In 2005, his company settled with the IRS a separate tax battle it waged for 14-years.

Berkshire-Hathaway’s $1.2 billion stock buy-back in December 2012 may have been timed in order to avoid an expected increase in tax rates in 2013.

About The Author Mark Hyman:
Mark Hyman hosts "Behind the Headlines," a commentary program for Sinclair Broadcast Group.

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