If every December at Fox News Channel is all about the nonexistent War on Christmas, then every April is the nonexistent War on Takers. Specifically, every Tax Day, April 15, Fox News dusts off its perennially screechy cuecards featuring the came old nonsensical attacks against the millions of Americans who allegedly don't pay taxes.
The only problem, of course, is they do pay taxes, and Fox News is lying about it.
This time around, it was Dana Perino and Botox victim Eric Bolling, lead shrieker on The Five, who went there, accosting the 45 percent who pay zero federal income taxes, while refusing to even hint at the fact that he's intensely full of shit.
DANA PERINO (CO-HOST): This is Eric Bolling’s wheelhouse. I’m going to get to him in one second. I want to show you a full screen of this chart here. 45 percent of people in America paid no federal income tax. That doesn't necessarily mean they didn't pay state income tax. But 45 percent paid no federal income tax. Tax reform being the thing that you agree, is the most important thing, public policy wise, we could do to grow the economy. Where do you think things stand?
ERIC BOLLING (CO-HOST): That number is amazing, 45 percent are not paying. That means 55 percent, almost half the people, are paying for the whole pie. So $4 trillion are spent every year. We borrow some of it, but the vast majority of the wealthy are paying for it. So those numbers, I don't know if you have other charts in here but the breakdown is the top 20 percent. The top 1 in 5 Americans are paying for 70 percent of all outlays America. That is insane. Right now, you pay federal income tax, you pay either state income tax or property tax at the state level. You pay property taxes, you pay sales taxes, you pay death tax. They tax you literally from birth to death. Meanwhile, if you are on the take, on the other side, the on with the 45 percent, you're likely getting unemployment insurance, you are likely getting free health care, you are probably getting food stamps. You are probably getting a phone, getting the internet, you’re getting help with your heating electric bills and what not. So, we are very close to the tipping point where, when that goes to 51 percent the people aren't paying anything. You will never change the system. So Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton is talking about shifting. How much can you shift when the top 20 percent are paying for 70 percent? I can't imagine you shift any further.
There's so much that's wrong about this, it's difficult to know where to begin.
First of all, the obvious point: I thought Republicans hated taxes to the point of wanting to abolish the IRS! I mean, they want to drown government in the bathtub. They want to cut taxes to the point of bankrupting the Treasury. Tax cuts are literally the GOP's entire thing. Shouldn't they be thrilled that 45 percent of Americans are sashaying right on through Tax Day without paying a thing, and, in many cases, getting money back from the government? Isn't that the GOP utopia?
Nope. Not if it's the poorest 45 percent of Americans. Low taxes should only apply to the wealthiest one percent, according to the Republicans. I believe there's a popular Democratic presidential candidate who's been talking about this every day for the better part of 25 years in Congress. This allows corporations like Exxon-Mobil and PG&E to pay zero in taxes, while perched atop a colossal pile of cash.
As for specifically which households don't have to pay federal income taxes, 74 percent are, according to the clearly liberal folks at Money magazine, "the elderly and working families with children." Also, disabled Americans. I thought Republicans were pro-family and pro-children and actually supported tax incentives for getting married and having children. The other 26 percent are students who will eventually enter the workforce, along with the unemployed and workers whose paychecks are simply not enough to facilitate a tax burden greater than the level of the standard deduction. As for the latter group, Bolling and The Five could lend a hand by supporting a living wage, elevating salaries and thus increasing taxable incomes. Or they could simply use their hour of daily airtime to call for higher taxes on senior citizens and disabled people. I'm sure that'll be popular with Fox News Channel's cherished elderly demographic.
Contrary to what Bolling said, the 45 percent pay taxes in a variety of other ways. Payroll taxes, sales taxes, state and local taxes, tolls, and so forth. So, they're absolutely paying into the system in accordance with what they earn and what services they use. But I suppose Fox News and Eric Bolling would rather that America's poorest and its most vulnerable citizens endure a punitive tax hike and various reforms to right this wrong. Again, go for it. Campaign on that one, Republicans and Fox News viewers. Good luck with that. Perhaps Bolling and Fox News could petition the IRS, which they think shouldn't exist, to enforce the tax code on old ladies in nursing homes and disabled veterans returning from George W. Bush's wars. Ratings gold, yes?
And finally, such a shame, isn't it, that elderly and disabled citizens, along with all those freeloading kids in college, have access to "a phone, getting the internet...heating electric bills and what not." Another strong argument for Fox News to pitch to its audience: taking away Grandma's phone and in-home heating until she ponies up and pays taxes for a change.
Sadly, Fox News viewers have been brainwashed into thinking there are millions of poor people throwing parties in their heated homes and inviting all their friends via their Obamaphones. The real crisis in America isn't about the 45 percent who allegedly don't pay federal taxes, it's about the millions of Americans who've been suckered into the Fox News Cult, stowing their brains in the Fox News Brain Room, and bashing statistically fictitious Takers and Welfare Queens.