Obama Lied: Buffet and His Secretary Pay the Same Tax Rate

Equivocation is a logical fallacy. To equivocate is to give “equal voice” — the same meaning — to a word when actually it has two distinct meanings.

“The sign said ‘Fine for Parking Here.’ Since the sign said it was fine for parking, I parked there.

In the first case, “fine” refers to punishing someone financially for an infraction of the law, while in the second case, “fine” means it’s OK to do something.

President Obama equivocated when he addressed the issue of taxation by arguing that Warren Buffett and his secretary, Debbie Bosanke, are not subject to the same tax rate. The President was using “tax rate” to mean the same thing when there are different rates based on how people are paid: capital gains tax rate and salary tax rate. In reality, Buffett and his secretary are subject to the same tax rate if both of them derive income from capital gains.

If Buffett’s secretary invests in stocks that pay a dividend, then she is paying the same rate as her boss – 15 percent. If she gets a salary, she is still paying the same rate as her boss if he derives any income from a salary. In fact, if Mr. Buffett was paid a salary on all his income, he would pay a higher rate than his secretary because the tax rate on salaries is progressive. The more you make the higher percentage you pay.

There’s one more thing to consider. The following is from Forbes online magazine. The latest IRS tax rates for 2009 show some interesting results:

They show that taxpayers earning an adjusted gross income between $100,000 and $200,000 pay an average rate of twelve percent. This is below Buffet’s rate; so she must earn more than that. Taxpayers earning adjusted gross incomes of $200,000 to $500,000, pay an average tax rate of nineteen percent. Therefore Buffet must pay Debbie Bosanke a salary above two hundred thousand.

This would put her in the top one percent of all wage earners. Paul Roderick Gregory writes: “I have nothing against Debbie Bosanke earning a half million or even more. Buffet is a major player in the world economy. His secretary deserves good compensation. At her income, however, she is scarcely the symbol of injustice that Obama wishes her to project.”

Here’s something from “The Smoking Gun” site.

“Despite a heavy tax burden, Warren Buffett’s secretary last year was able to purchase a second home in Arizona, a residence complete with a swimming pool and a ‘professional PGA putting green,’ according to real estate records.”

Poor thing. She’s destitute!

In a word, President Obama lied. He used Warren Buffett and his secretary as props to support his continued class warfare rhetoric. Please make it stop!