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O’Reilly: We Need To Tax The Poor More To Make Taxes Fair For Rich Folks

Reported by Ellen - September 9, 2011 -

Poor Bill O’Reilly! While many Americans are out of work or struggling to make ends meet, he’s got his own money troubles - because our income tax structure makes him pay too much while those less fortunate pay too little. So he’s “looking out for the (rich) folks” by doing his part to right that injustice. O’Reilly dropped that goal into a discussion with Lou Dobbs after President Obama’s address last night (9/8/1) by announcing he wants a national sales tax – or, as O’Reilly put it, a “consumption tax,” in order to make sure that poorer people pay their “fair share.” That’s what he actually said.

O’Reilly told Dobbs, who had disagreed on the consumption tax, “The reason I want the consumption tax is because I pointed out that almost half, HALF (of) American workers don’t pay any federal income tax. With a consumption tax, everybody would chip in. That seems to be kind of fair. Pay your fair share.”

Of course, the unspoken message here is that welfare queens the poor are soaking “the folks” like regular guy O’Reilly - who, I’m sure, is scrimping to pay his grocery bill while welfare queens the poor are living it up on his dime.

But O’Reilly is dishonestly spinning here – and in a way that is entirely self-serving.

As O’Reilly should know (especially since he lately fashions himself as an economic expert), sales taxes are regressive and tax the poor disproportionately. Furthermore, that “half pay no income tax” meme is not exactly true. As Ezra Klein noted in the Washington Post, many times “it's not because they don't owe federal income tax. It's because they're owed other money that runs through the tax code.” That’s other money like the Earned Income Tax Credit, created by Richard Nixon and conceived of by conservative economist Milton Friedman.

Klein also noted that just because someone pays no federal income tax, they still likely cough up plenty of other taxes, such as payroll taxes, state and local income taxes and, of course, sales taxes.

While O’Reilly holds himself up as “looking out for the folks,” he neatly disregarded their opinions. A large majority of Americans think the wealthiest Americans should pay more income taxes.

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