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October 03, 2008

Rep. Wasserman-Schultz

Amidst all of the post debate analysis last night, I almost missed our own Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz from South Florida once again embarrass me as a citizen of Florida

On an appearance on Hannity and Colmes, Rep. Wasserman had the following (heated) exchange with Hannity.

HANNITY: Let me ask you a question, the bottom 50 percent of America what percentage of the federal tax bill do you think they pay? Do you have any idea? Answer that, do you have any idea?

SCHULTZ: What percentage of the federal tax bill?

HANNITY: The bottom 50 percent of wage earners?

SCHULTZ: I think what matters -

HANNITY: No, no, answer that question. What percentage do the bottom 50 percent pay?

SCHULTZ: That is not the question.

HANNITY: How much? Take a guess.

SCHULTZ: I do not know.

HANNITY: 2.9 percent. The top 10 percent pay 80 percent of the bill.

SCHULTZ: Look, when it comes who to is contributing the bulk of the revenue that we need, it is not the wealthiest few. They are doing just fine in the last eight years under the Bush administration.

The stunning part of this exchange was not that Schultz could not give the percentage of the tax burden shouldered by the bottom 50% of America (though, you would hope that a Congress member would at least have an idea of these numbers).  Rather, it is her follow up statement that surprised me.

"Look, when it comes to who is contributing the bulk of the revenue that we need, it is not the wealthiest few.

No, Rep. Wasserman-Schultz, that is completely and totally incorrect.

The numbers from the National Taxpayers Union and National Taxpayers Union Foundation from 2006 back up Sean Hannity's statement; the bottom 50% only pay 2.99%.  And while his statement about the percentage paid by the top 10% is off according to that same report (they pay 70.79%) we get a clear picture that is exactly opposite to what Rep. Wasserman-Schultz is trying to paint.

The wealthiest few do contribute the bulk of all tax revenue.

The Tax Foundation's numbers for 2007 show that:

The bottom 50% pay 3.07%
The top 10% pay 70.30%
The top 5% pay 59.67%
The top 1% pay 39.38%

Again, the wealthiest few do contribute the bulk of all tax revenue.

This leaves us with one of two conclusions: either Rep. Wasserman-Schultz is completely ignorant about the impact of the current tax code upon tax payers OR she knows better but is promoting a falsity to push a political agenda.  Neither conclusion speaks well for our Congress woman from South Florida.

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