Water Cooler 4/21/2018 – Open Thread – Stuff that ticks me off
Based on the number and nature of the comments, lots of people were p*ssed off at Mitt Romney’s latest reminder of how much he hates Trump … in case we forgot the other 9,381 times he told us that.

Here’s another story that irked me. The short version is that it further proves that people are stupid. Admittedly we don’t need additional reminders of that any more than we need additional reminders that people like Romney and Kristol will support whomever the Democrat nominee is in 2020, but bear with me.

This week included tax day. This article fits perfectly with my belief that income tax withholding is a travesty, because it has created a world in which people value their tax refund amount (or payment) much more than they do the amount of taxes they actually paid.

We’ve all seen it many times and to some extent we may fall into that trap ourselves. “How much are we getting back?” must be the most common question in the first half of April. If you ask the average person three months from now how much they got back or had to pay, they will probably be able to tell you almost exactly. If you ask them the day after they filed their return what their total tax liability was they would have no idea.

Enough blabbering, let’s get to the article I’m talking about. This piece at The Hill takes a look at a recent survey on the income tax.

  • 32% said they paid more
  • 36% paid the same
  • 18% said they paid less
  • 14% said they didn’t know

That sounds fishy to me. Do you think a phone caller says, “Let me hang on while you go look at your last two returns before giving me an answer”? Of course not! Emphasis mine…

The survey results show individuals’ perceptions about their taxes for 2018, the first year of President Trump’s tax law. The survey was conducted in the days leading up to Monday, the deadline for taxes to be filed in most states.

Digging into the numbers further, one snippet is that 17% of people who make under $25K said they paid more. Let’s look at the simplest case for the $25K earner – single with no dependents. (I jumped around to several places to compile this.)

  • For 2018, $25K – $12K standard deduction gives $13K of taxable income. The first $9,525 is taxed at 10%. 12% on the rest gives a total of $1,369.50 ($952.50 + $417).
  • For 2017, $25K – $6,350 std ded – $4,050 personal exemption gives $14,600 of taxable income. The first $9,325 is taxed at 10%. 15% on the rest gives a total of $1,723.75 ($932.50 + $791.25)

So in the simplest case, the low income earner would have paid more than $350 less in 2018 than in 2017. They would have needed a couple grand in deductions above the standard deduction in 2017 to have paid less than they did in 2018, which seems highly unlikely to me.

Oh well, enough ranting from me for today. 🙂

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