Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Oh, for God's Sake! (Publicus Proventus)

I didn't think I was getting this political. But I am. Sorry. And the latest outrage is this headline on

That sounds DRASTIC! Yes, even DESPERATE, as the headline says.

But the reality is much less drastic. In a story that begins by describing the increases as "massive" Yahoo reports that:

Lawmakers worked overnight to pass the increase to raise the personal income tax rate from 3 percent to 5 percent for four years — a 66 percent increase. Corporate income taxes also will rise, but Quinn rejected the notion that it would decimate businesses.

From 3 percent to 5 percent. That is not a "66% increase." It is a 2% increase.


If you make $100,000 per year, then you paid 3% of that last year -- or $3,000 -- in Illinois. And you will pay 5% this year -- $5,000 -- on that same income. That is a $2,000 increase, or 2% of your income.

I'm not sure if the headline and resultant outrage/fear is the result of stupid reporters, stupid taxpayers, or both.
While it might be mathematically correct to point out that 2 is in fact 2/3, or 66% of 3, it's misleading to keep describing the income tax hike as massive or as a 66% increase. The decision by reporters to use the 66% number -- rather than a less misleading/hyperbolic headline like "Illinois increases taxes by 2% of income" is essentially a decision by the reporters to take the side of the Republicans in the tax debate -- not a bad idea, considering that opposing the GOP these days is likely to get you shot in the head.

Click here to read more posts like this.

No comments: