Presidential Math

On Tuesday, before a joint session of Congress, President Obama made a “George H. W. Bush: Read My Lips, No New Taxes”-type statement when he said “if your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime.  I repeat: not one single dime.”

Sounded pretty ambitious to me. So, a bit sleepless, I decided before dawn to do some “back of the envelope” presidential math. The President said higher taxes would be assessed on only the wealthiest 2% of Americans. According to 2007 figures, there are 138 million taxpayers in the United States, some of whom are not Americans. But less assume the wealthiest 2% of Americans are 2% of taxpayers. Two percent of taxpayers would be 2,760,000 taxpayers. 

Yesterday, the President said his new taxes would raise $318 billion over ten years to be used for health care.  So the tax burden to those 2% of taxpayers would be $115,217.39 each just to pay for health care. That does not pay for the other spending that has been voted on in the month he has been in office.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, this morning the Wall Street Journal did some presidential math of its own. Its conclusion, “Take everything they [the wealthiest 2% of Americans] earn, and it still won’t be enough.”