“Skin In The Game”: Fox Calls For Tax Hikes On Working Americans While Protecting The Rich

Fox News personalities have repeatedly attacked the Buffett Rule, which would require the rich to pay their fair share in taxes. At the same time, Fox News personalities have pushed for tax increases on the poor, arguing that they should have more “skin in the game.”

Fox Attacks Efforts To Make The Rich Pay Their Fair Share In Taxes

Senate Republicans Block Legislation To Implement The Buffett Rule And Ensure The Rich Pay Their Fair Share. On April 16, a majority of senators voted in favor of legislation that would set a minimum effective tax rate for annual income in excess of $1 million. But Senate Republicans blocked the legislation with a filibuster. [Senate vote 65, 4/16/12]

On Fox, Krauthammer Said The Buffett Rule Is A “Gimmick” That “Won't Expand The Economy Or Spur Economic Growth.” Media personalities on Fox have repeatedly attacked the legislation at issue. For instance, on the April 16 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier, Charles Krauthammer dismissed the legislation as a “gimmick”:

BRET BAIER: I think we are at a consensus on this panel. I want to take a live look at the Senate floor. There are 44 no votes on so-called Buffett rule. This is based on the billionaire investor Warren Buffett who advocates the wealthy pay the same tax rate of the subordinates and would impose 30 percent minimum rate on people earning more than $2 million a year. Then it would be phase phased in, that 30 percent minimum rate, on anybody earning $1 million a year. It will fail in the Senate since there are 44 no votes already. Significance here, what about this? And the president talking about it every stump speech.


BAIER: Charles, how do Republicans push back on what the Obama administration sees as a rich, political point?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER (Fox News contributor): Well, first, to point out it's gimmick. Even the liberals are saying, even though the “Washington Post” some legislators admitted it's nothing but a gimmick, it will do nothing to help the deficit.

BAIER: But it's a $47 billion gimmick. They are coming out and saying over ten years, $47 billion could be used for x number of infrastructure jobs, whatever.

KRAUTHAMMER: Yes. I'm not sure that people buy that. If you point out this is dumbing of the capital gains tax. You have to make a case. It certainly won't expand the economy or spur economic growth as Obama pretends and he said now twice in the last week. If anything it will retard economic expansion. And decrease the number of jobs because it takes away investment and decreases the amount of investment. Historically in the last 60 years when you raise capital gains tax it retards growth, and when you lower it, it increases it. That's why Kennedy and Reagan had economic growth as a result of reducing the capital gains tax. That is not a sound bite unless you speak really quickly, but it's a case that can be made, and Republicans are going to have to do it. [Fox News, Special Report, 4/16/12, via Nexis]

The Five's Dana Perino Said The Buffett Rule “Won't Do A Single Thing.” During the April 16 edition of Fox News' The Five, co-host Dana Perino pointed out that commentators and economists have called the Buffett Rule a “political gimmick,” and suggested it “won't do a single thing.” Furthermore, co-host Greg Gutfeld suggested that agreeing with the Buffett Rule would be “playing into class warfare”:

ERIC BOLLING (co-host): I got to break in, Bob. I'll get back to you in a second.

FOX News alert -- you are looking live at the Senate floor where lawmakers are moments away from a vote on the so-called Buffett Rule.

Dana, the Buffett Rule. It's likely going to fail, but nonetheless.

PERINO: Well, roundly ridiculed across the board from the most liberal to the most conservative commentators and economists as a political gimmick that won't have anything to do -- it's amazing that Senator Reid has not done a single thing to call up a budget, even if it was for his political gimmick to show that they have ability to pass a budget. But they have time to do this which won't do a single thing. And across the board, everyone knows this.

GUTFELD: The thing that gets me, the real scoundrels in all of this is the patriotic millionaires, the people that have been pushing for these taxes, because their name suggest by patriotic millionaires, that if you don't agree with taxing the rich, playing into class warfare, you are not patriotic.

PERINO: Anti-American. [Fox News, The Five, 4/16/12, via Nexis]

O'Reilly: Obama Proposed The Buffett Rule “Because He's A Class Warfare Guy.” From the April 13 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

BILL O'REILLY: Now, “The Wall Street Journal” says that if you do institute the Buffett Rule whereby no matter how you got you income, it would be taxed at 30 if you have over a $1 million in assets or in money coming in, it would only raise $4 to $5 billion a year. And then if you raised the marginal tax rate on high earners, that would raise some more money. Isn't that worthy that he get the debt down?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER (Fox News contributor): It is ridiculous. It's a rounding error of a rounding error. Its lunch money, I did the math on this. The joint committee of taxation said yes we're bringing about $4 billion to $5 billion a year. So if you were to collect the Buffett tax for the next 250 years that's longer than the life of our republic. It would take in less than the deficit spending Obama engaged in last year alone. It's a triviality. It will do nothing about nothing. In fact --


O'REILLY: So it's all about -- it's all about --

KRAUTHAMMER: -- misdirection. It's misdirection.

O'REILLY: Right, well it's working.

KRAUTHAMMER: It's misdirection, it's saying look over here at the -- it is working. Demagoguery often works.

O'REILLY: Yes let me just give you the stats here. Ok in the latest Gallup poll, they asked would you favor Congress passing a new law that would require households earning $1 million a year to pay 30 percent of their income in taxes: 60 percent yes; 37 percent no; 3 percent don't know. But among Independents, 63 percent yes and 33 percent no.

But I think the folks, just basically want -- they're buying the fair share argument the President is putting out. They're buying that.

KRAUTHAMMER: Why do you think the President proposed it in the first place?


O'REILLY: Because he's a class warfare guy. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 4/17/12, via Nexis]

Fox's Stuart Varney: The Buffett Rule, Obama's “Latest Plan To Tax The Rich,” Is “Class Warfare.” During the April 14 edition of Fox News' Journal Editorial Report, guest host Stuart Varney attacked the Buffett Rule as “class warfare”:

VARNEY: Welcome to the JOURNAL EDITORIAL REPORT. I'm Stuart Varney, in this week for Paul Gigot.

Well, you just heard President Obama invoking Ronald Reagan, and claiming that his latest plan to tax the rich is all about fairness. The president officially endorsed the so-called Buffett Rule in the swing state of Florida Tuesday, calling for a minimum 30 percent tax on those making more than a million dollars a year. His campaign clearly thinks it is a political winner, but is it good policy?

Let's ask “Wall Street Journal” columnist and deputy editor, Dan Henninger; columnist, Mary Anastasia O'Grady; assistant editorial page editor, James Freeman; and Washington columnist, Kim Strassel.

Dan, to you first. I call this class warfare. [Fox News, Journal Editorial Report, 4/14/12, via Nexis]

Fox's Ed Rollins: Obama Wanting To “Eliminate The Capital Gains Tax” And Wanting “Big Tax Reform” Is “Part Of This War Against The Rich” -- “This Is Class Warfare.” From the April 13 edition of Fox News' Hannity:

SEAN HANNITY: Now, earlier today, the White House released President Obama's tax returns. And the numbers are already causing a problem for his reelection team. Now, in 2011, the Obama's reported income was about $790,000. And they paid roughly $162,000 in taxes. Now, here is the thing. The President has crisscrossed the country trying to sell his so- called Buffet Rule but based on how much money they made last year, this would not apply to the Obamas. And in their apparent attempt to minimize the criticism, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney put out a statement today which reads impart, “Under the President's own tax proposals including the expiration of the high income tax cuts and limitations on the value of tax preferences for high income households. He would pay more in taxes while ensuring that we cut taxes for the middle-class and those trying to get in it.”

Joining me now with reaction, FOX News contributor Ed Rollins and from the FOX Business Network Nicole Petallides. You know what the dumbest thing is though in all of this, Joe Biden, 1.5 percent of income in charity. You know, how many years does he have to go through this criticism before he ponies up some money like the rest of America and donates.

NICOLE PETALLIDES (Fox Business): He should know better. His whole tax return is being scrutinized. He should give more at least while he is in office and be smart about it.

HANNITY: Bill Clinton at least gave some used underwear Ed, give something.

ED ROLLINS (Fox News contributor): It's a free big house from the government. So, he can give whatever his rent would be normally. The idiocy of this whole. This is political theater. You know, if the President wants to eliminate the capital gains tax which is where these people basically take it. Then stand up and say that. Say, I want a big tax reform, I want to do this and you get pillared. This is all part of this war against the rich. This classwarfare and the truth of the matter is, you can go back a few years ago, and Warren Buffett took $100,000 a year in salary, 150,000 in salary. If Warren Buffet wants to pay more in taxes, he can take all of it. [Fox News, Hannity, 4/13/12, via Nexis]

For more examples of Fox attacking the Buffett Rule and other attempts to require the rich to pay their fair share, click here, here, and here.

Meanwhile, Fox Calls For Working Americans To Put “More Skin In The Game”

Cavuto: Working Americans Should Put “More Skin In The Game.” From the April 12 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:

NEIL CAVUTO (host): It's more than that. What bothers me most about this, maybe because, as I said, I am FOX's resident nerd and I cover this sort of stuff. I did cover Ronald Reagan and the tax revolution closely. I guess that bespeaks both my age and my nerdiness and how long track it is.

But one of the things that I cannot stress enough to folks is this is not a right or left issue to me. This is a right or wrong issue that Ronald Reagan trying to address the idea that everyone have skin in the game, and that if you were either very poor and trying to dodge taxes or you were very rich and trying to dodge taxes, there should be nothing in our tax code that would allow that to happen.

And that is what he wanted to eradicate in 1985 and 1986. Now, I think it is worth pointing out that this president has not pointed out that talking about putting more skin in the game, half the filers in this country are not filing at all, because they don't owe any federal income taxes at all.

That is not to dismiss what they are paying in Social Security and Medicare-related taxes. I am not minimizing maybe the vast majority of them being wonderful Americans. I am saying that half the eligible filers in this country are not paying any federal income taxes in this country.

Yet the president has twisted this around to make it like a modern-day Ronald Reagan insult, and that is what is insulting. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 4/12/12, via Nexis]

Ingraham Suggested Romney Should Talk About “Making It Easier For Every Person To Pay Taxes And For Everyone To Have Skin In The Game.” During the April 17 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham said the rich already pay “the lion's share of the tax burden” while “a lot of people ... pay nothing.” She went on to say that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney “can talk about tax simplification and making it easier for every person to pay taxes and for everyone to have skin in the game.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/17/12, via Media Matters]

Frequent Fox Guest Amilya Antonetti Falsely Claims “Almost Half Of People Pay No Taxes At All,” And Suggests A “Pay What You Use” Tax System So Everyone Contributes. During the April 17 edition of Fox Business' Cavuto, frequent Fox News guest Amilya Antonetti falsely claimed “almost half of people pay no taxes at all” but was quickly corrected by guest host Liz MacDonald saying: “federal income taxes.” Antoneetti then suggested a new “pay what you use” or “pay what you purchase” tax system in order to get everyone to, no matter how small, pay taxes. [Fox Business, Cavuto, 4/17/12, via Media Matters]

For more examples of Fox calling for working Americans to pay their supposed “fair share,” click here

However, Working Americans Already Have “Skin In The Game”

CBPP: Income Tax Number “Greatly Overstates The Share Of Households That Do Not Pay Any Federal Taxes.” The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities wrote that the fact that nearly half of Americans don't pay any federal income tax “ignores the substantial amounts of other federal taxes -- especially the payroll tax -- that many of these households pay.” CBPP continued: “As a result, it greatly overstates the share of households that do not pay any federal taxes. Data from the Urban Institute-Brookings Tax Policy Center show only about 14 percent of households paid neither federal income tax nor payroll tax in 2009, despite the high unemployment and temporary tax cuts that marked that year.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 5/31/11]

Journalist David Cay Johnston: “When It Comes To State And Local Taxes, The Poor Bear A Heavier Burden Than The Rich In Every State Except Vermont.” In an article outlining “a few points about taxes and the economy that you may not know,” Reuters columnist David Cay Johnston, a former New York Times reporter who won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the tax code, wrote:

Data from the Tax Foundation show that in 2008, the average income for the bottom half of taxpayers was $15,300.

This year the first $9,350 of income is exempt from taxes for singles and $18,700 for married couples, just slightly more than in 2008. That means millions of the poor do not make enough to owe income taxes.

But they still pay plenty of other taxes, including federal payroll taxes. Between gas taxes, sales taxes, utility taxes and other taxes, no one lives tax-free in America.

When it comes to state and local taxes, the poor bear a heavier burden than the rich in every state except Vermont, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy calculated from official data. In Alabama, for example, the burden on the poor is more than twice that of the top 1 percent. The one-fifth of Alabama families making less than $13,000 pay almost 11 percent of their income in state and local taxes, compared with less than 4 percent for those who make $229,000 or more. [Willamette Week, 4/13/11]

CBPP: “86 Percent Of Working Households Pay More In Payroll Taxes Than In Federal Income Taxes.” CBPP reported:

The reality is that the income tax is one of a number of types of taxes that individuals pay, both over the course of their lifetimes and in a given year, and it makes little sense to treat it as though it were the only one that matters. Some 86 percent of working households pay more in payroll taxes than in federal income taxes. In fact, low- and moderate-income people pay a much larger share of their incomes in federal payroll taxes than high-income people do: taxpayers in the bottom 20 percent of the income scale paid an average of 8.8 percent of their incomes in payroll taxes in 2007, compared to just 1.6 percent for taxpayers in the top 1 percent of the income distribution.

[Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 5/31/11]

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