Published April 26, 2011
President Barack Obama is a hypocrite. He is not willing to practice what he preaches when it comes to taxes. And in so doing, he is exposing the lack of importance his own agenda really carries -- even in his own household.
Let me lay it out for you:
In the 2008 campaign, then-Senator Obama repeatedly scoffed at the tax rates for the majority of the small business class of our country. He repeatedly chided those in the tax bracket that included the highest number of small business owners. He declared that these folks would need to do "more" and suggested that everybody should, "do their share."
He also promised that if he were elected president he would increase tax rates for those making over $250,000 per year, that he would force those in that tax bracket to do more, and that it would be the true measure of patriotism for this group of Americans to pay more in taxes.
He spoke in glowing terms about returning the tax rates in his administration to the levels of the Clinton-era, and challenged those earning above $250,000 a year to embrace their responsibility to pay 39% in federal income taxes (not the rate at the time, which was then 35% under President George W. Bush.)
In his debt reduction speech earlier this month he made his fourth attempt at explaining how he would reduce the deficit.He returned to the idea that those in the top earnings bracket ought to pay what he refers to, constantly, as "their fair share." He insisted that he personally didn't need "yet another tax cut." And he scoffed at the notion that any deficit reduction plan ought to include a tax break.
To hear Mr. Obama rail against those who earn big paychecks you could only come away convinced that this was a president who was as committed to using taxes to reduce the deficit as any president we'd ever seen.
And then we saw his tax return.
In 2010 President Obama earned well over $250,000 in total family income.
In fact the Obama household--after every loophole, donation, and tax exempt charitable donation had been deducted --recorded earnings of $1,700,000 and change. To repeat, this wasn't gross earnings, this was adjusted earnings. This is the amount that he the president had a responsibility to pay taxes on.
For those of you who weren't able to quickly do the math, that's $1,450,000 over the $250,000 in income that he wants to tax at 39 percent -- maximum level in taxes we saw during the Clinton era.
From reports concerning the president's tax returns, however, it looks like he paid roughly $454,000 and change in federal taxes. Sounds like a lot doesn't it?
It is... to most people. But on taxable income of $1,700,000 that only works out to be just a tad more than 26 percent. Woah! Wait a minute... The president--who had a taxable income of $1,700,000--paid how much?
Had President Obama voluntarily paid his taxes at the rate he believes everyone else in his income bracket ought to pay (39%) in federal taxes, he SHOULD have paid $663,000.
But wait there's more... To put the cherry on top of the sundae, President Obama even received a tax refund back from the government of $12,000.
Last week following his deficit reduction speech--or as I like to call it--the Obama 2012 campaign kick-off event--the president made a series of stops across the country pitching the idea of taxing people in his own income bracket at a much higher level than the amount they currently pay.
I wonder how many of those in the audience at each of these campaign stops even had a clue about what President Obama himself has just paid in taxes. Did they know that he's forking over about $200,000 less per year than what he suggests they ought to pay? And that he got a $12,000 rebate to boot?
Like the phony group of "millionaires" who held press conferences after the president's "deficit reduction" speech and declared they wished to be paying more in taxes, let me remind the president, just as I did the millionaires: the IRS does accept donations.
In fact here's the address: "Internal Revenue Service, Washington D.C., 20001"
So Mr. President before you give your next speech and recommend that those in your own income bracket suggesting that they should be "ponying up" and "doing more" when will you be cutting your own check and putting your money where your mouth is?
In my new book, "No He Can't," I carefully examine the hypocrisy of what our current president does vs. what he says in several areas. It is designed to be great reading as we approach the debate over deficit reduction--or as I like to call it, campaign 2012.
Leadership is not created from simply a cult of personality. It is not doing one thing, while saying something else. Real leadership is acting with clarity when crises present themselves. At this moment, it is something the American executive branch sorely lacks.
Kevin McCullough is the nationally syndicated host of "The Kevin McCullough Show" weekdays (7-9am EST) & "Baldwin/McCullough Radio" Saturdays (9-11pm EST) on 289 stations. His newest book from Thomas Nelson Publishers, "No He Can't: How Barack Obama is Dismantling Hope and Change" is in stores now.