Fox & Friends fruitcake watch: Media Matters reports a striking exchange from this morning’s Fox & Friends. The gang was discussing the fact that upper-end earners pay a very low tax rate on their capital gains.
Warren Buffett has said that’s unfair. Brian and Gretchen were pretty sure that Buffett’s analysis is deceptive. Such judgments involve us in apples and oranges, the latter tool thoughtfully said:
KILMEADE (9/19/11): And then the biggest story, I think, is the Warren Buffett rule, which you're about to hear is somewhat deceptive. It is not that billionaires are paying less. It's just that—they're still paying their 35 percent. It's the capital gains is which their—“It is not that billionaires are paying less,” Brian endearingly said, speaking about a situation in which billionaires are paying less.
KILMEADE: —and the investment money, is which they're being taxed 15 percent on.
CARLSON: The analogy that Warren Buffet always makes is that, why should my secretary pay more taxes than I do? But that's not really a fair comparison. Because he's talking about what he pays—the tax on his capital gains. He makes most of his money on investment income. Right now that's at 15 percent. So really, it's comparing apples and oranges, not the income that you're going out and making on a daily basis when you go to work.
This whole thing is apples and oranges, Gretchen mused. Later, she repeated her fruity analysis while chatting with Michelle Malkin.
Chelsea Rudman provided a service when she recorded this ludicrous chatter for Media Matters. We will disagree with Rudman on one basic point, however:
“The fact is, there is nothing ‘apples and oranges’ about comparing the two kinds of income,” Rudman writes. “They're both income, period.”
Not so fast, One World Breath! In our view, there is an obvious apples-to-oranges aspect to these two kinds of income. Even Carlson seems aware of this fact. To wit:
As even Carlson is able to note, people have to go out and work for their regular income. Police officers and firefighters risk their lives on a daily basis to receive those wages! In some cases, they may have to pay taxes at a higher rate than others pay on investment income—on income they acquire while sitting around doing nothing.
In that recent Washington Post editorial, the editors said all income should be taxed at the same rate (see item below). People can judge that opinion as they like. But as a simple matter of justice, it’s hard to see why you’d want to tax investment income at a lower rate, while you’re charging a higher rate on the labor-based income of policemen, teachers, firefighters.
There really are apples and oranges here. It’s just that Carlson, in her typical way, feels the pain of the idle rich while ignoring the labor and effort of people who are less wealthy.
Chelsea Rudman made a nice catch. But there really are different kinds of fruit in that federal tax barrel. Right now, federal law favors the rich pomegranate over those loathsome crabapples.