FactCheck puts it very succinctly:
President Obama’s claim that he pays a lower tax rate than a teacher making $50,000 a year isn’t true. A single taxpayer with $50,000 of income would have paid 11.9 percent in federal income taxes for 2010, while the Obamas paid more than twice that rate — 25.3 percent (and higher rates than that in 2009 and 2008). And if the $50,000-a-year teacher were in Obama’s tax situation — supporting a spouse and two children — he or she would have paid no federal income taxes at all.
What FactCheck is referring to is one of the President’s latest talking points: on at least two occasions in the last few days he’s said “I shouldn’t be paying a lower effective rate than a teacher, or a firefighter, or a construction worker” and “Somebody who’s making $50,000 a year as a teacher shouldn’t be paying a higher effective tax rate than somebody like myself”: obviously, this is complete nonsense. It’s in fact at Elizabeth Warren-levels of nonsense* …but I am very surprised that the fact that the President’s spouting off said nonsense would apparently be a shocking revelation for, well, anyone.
After all, it’s not as if Barack Obama is particularly personally acquainted with a salary that low: his household income in 2000 was merely $240,505 (it went up fairly quickly after that*). Law professorships likewise pay well, for those wondering about Obama’s previous career path; mind you, things could have been different twenty years ago, but I suspect that things weren’t that different. Besides: the point here is that the President is not exactly what one could call familiar with the travails of Main Street economic reality, not least because fairly accurate stereotyping has his socioeconomic class spending ever so much time and effort avoiding Main Street like the plague. Apparently middle-class, bourgeois mentality is contagious…
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*You may remember her as being that academic goofball running for MA-SEN, while not really understanding that her tax ‘reform’ program would involve actually making the poor pay some.
**Legitimately enough: Senators are paid quite a bit, and Obama wrote a couple of best-selling books.