"Middle-class families shouldn't pay higher taxes than millionaires"
Barack Obama on Taxes
Source: The White House

Editor Findings

  • Truthsquadeditoricon_thumb_flipped_thumb
    Cannot Verify
    Fabrice Florin
    President Obama recently said that "middle-class families shouldn't pay higher taxes than millionaires", in his prepared remarks about deficit reduction at the White House's Rose Garden on September 19th, 2011.

    Although the president worded his remarks carefully to avoid making a statement of fact, his numerous references to this issue gave the impression that middle-class families do "pay higher taxes than millionaires." For that reason, we attempted to fact-check this implicit claim here on Truthsquad.

    But despite our best intentions, we were not able to determine the accuracy of the president's remark, because it was presented as a subjective opinion, not a statement of fact. Therefore, our fact-checking assignment was confusing, because Truthsquad participants were not sure if they were being asked to fact-check the implied claim -- or whether they should agree or disagree with the president's opinion.

    Because of these inconclusive results, our editors' finding is that this statement "cannot be verified" in its current form. We apologize for this confusing assignment. Going forward, we will no longer attempt to fact-check opinions like this one, even if their implied claims raise valid questions — and will focus instead on statements of fact that can be verified.

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Community Findings

Mostly True (4.3)
  • Fabrice Florin
    Fabrice Florin
    Cannot Verify
    I am afraid that the president's remark cannot be verified in its current form, because it was presented as a subjective opinion, not a statement of fact. I apologize for selecting this confusing assignment, but really appreciated everyone's great contributions and this opportunity to learn more about the complex U.S. tax code. I hope we can apply what we have learned on this topic for future assignments, as this is a really important issue that needs to be cleared up, so we can make more informed decisions as citizens. Stay tuned for more ...
  • Gin Ferrara
    Gin Ferrara
    In Progress
    There is a difference between actual dollars and quality of life / cost of living issues. I am still researching, but I think this statement is open to a lot of interpretation.
  • Subramanya Sastry
  • Bob Herrschaft
    Bob Herrschaft
    see comment below http://newstrust.net/stories/5923210/toolbar?go=review
  • Mike Carlson
    Mike Carlson
    Warren Buffet gave verbal testimony to this truth. Most lower-middle income wage earners can not take advantage of the tax breaks that those with high discretionary income can put to use. Add to that the fact that fixed taxes (property, sales) have a disproportionate affect on lower incomes and you get strong arguments for progressive tax systems.
  • J. B. Van Wely
    J. B. Van Wely
    First off, this is a statement of opinion-- hence the word 'should'. The implied argument is that middle-class families DO pay higher taxes than millionaires. What's actually true is that many middle-class families are taxed at higher rates than millionaires, although millionaires (usually) pay more dollars in taxes. Fact: Social Security and Medicare taxes are approximately 15% of salaried income. Theoretically, that's paid half by the employer and half by the employee, but in practice it's all part of the cost of employment. The employer's share would be in the pay packet if it wasn't sent to the government. The bulk of this tax (12.4%) applies to only the first $106,000 of salary. Middle-class income is mostly salary and mostly less than $100,000/year. Millionaires' incomes are mostly capital gains and dividends not subject to payroll tax and currently taxed at 15%. Under current tax structure, the bulk of middle class income is taxed at 25% (34,000 to 83,000)-- plus 15% payroll taxes. The bulk of millionaire's income is taxed at 15%, with only the bottom $100,000 in salary paying an additional 12.4% in Social Security taxes (Medicare has no cap, but is only about 3%-- and it only applies to salaried income). So, you can play with the definition of middle class, and you can quibble about miscellaneous loopholes, and you can find specific exceptions, but it's very hard to make a general case that millionaires pay a higher rate then the middle class.
  • Frank Whitman
    Frank Whitman
  • William Duroe
    William Duroe
    Mostly False
    O. should have said MC taxpayers shouldn't pay as HIGH a tax RATE
  • Nick Cooper
    Nick Cooper
  • Allan Edwards
    Allan Edwards
    Since "Reagonomics" swooped in on the scene like some giant vulture, the top 5% of the nation has increased its wealth by 81%, while the middle class has increased its wealth by just above 5% (in 26 years!). The bottom tier of our society has lost 4+% of their wealth. In the bad old days (the 60s), when corporations and the ueber-wealthy were taxed around 60%, there was nearly full employment, good wages, and benefits were usually paid for. After Reagonomics, nada.
  • CBS 21 News
    CBS 21 News
    Mostly False
    Top 1% of earners pay 50% of taxes.
  • Dennis Griess
    Dennis Griess
    Everyone pays 0 income tax on the first dollar. There are 4 or 5 thresholds where taxes at increasing rates kick in. The exclusion of the first dollar of passive income (capital gains doesn't exist). Of course you could find cases in certain years where the mix of income sources may impact the effective overall tax rate. Though I'm taxed in the 28% bracket, my effective tax rate is nowhere near that because different portions of my income are taxed at different rates. If there are a few hundred legitimate scofflaws, they should be prosecuted.
  • Michael Stall
    Michael Stall
    Reaganomics is done! The theories haven't stood the test of time. Give more back to the middle class as the largest class will start spreading the increased income throughout the economy. Not taxing the rich in hope they will produce jobs just haven't worked. They found overseas outsourcing to cut labor cost.