Ed Schultz, MSNBC’S progressive commentator and staunch defender of the working people, called on conservative talking heads to stop their crying and whining over President Obama’s proposed small increase in their federal tax rate. He was talking specifically about multi-millionaire talking heads, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly , and Sean Hannity who have been beside themselves complaining to their audiences since the day the president proposed his new jobs plan.
Schultz points out that Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly actually threatened to walk away from his television show “The Factor” over the tax increase. O’Reilly, who is reportedly paid an annual $20 million salary (newsweek,.2010/11/01/power-list.html), notes that he has a lot of people who work and depend on him but in the same breath notes that he is willing to walk out on the show over a proposed increase in his tax rate. Gee, sorry to hear that Bill and what a display of loyalty to your employees. The president is proposing that the federal tax rate increase for those who are in the top 1% of wealthiest Americans expire from 35% and return to the 39% rate it was under President Bill Clinton.
Rush Limbaugh,who signed an 8-year, $400 million contract extension with Clear Channel in 2008 (NY Times, July 3, 2008 edition) praised his multi-millionaire frat brother O’Reilly saying he felt like a “lone wolf “out there protesting the tax increase. Limbaugh it turns out is a worse crybaby then O’Reilly. He doesn’t want to pay a few million more in taxes on the hundreds of millions of dollars that he earns but on top of it has the nerve to complain about taxes that go to the small pensions of civil service employees. On his radio program Limbaugh complained “I don’t know why citizens ought to be should be paying the pensions of union members, teachers, firemen. I don’t have a freaking pension, where is it written that other Americans should have one paid for by us?” Very nice Rush.
Sean Hannity, the all-american boy who wraps himself in the American flag and is earning a $100 million on a 5 year contract according to some reports, is also not a happy camper. He’s complaining about the 4 point increase noting that that he already has to pay “over 50%” of his income in taxes already but he includes, get this – sales tax, property tax, state and city tax – as if those taxes are something new. The president isn’t asking Hannity to pay a 50% federal tax rate.
I don’t know what these crybabies are whining about. Today, the top income tax rate is 35%. By contrast, during the eight years under Eisenhower, the top rate averaged roughly 90%, typically hitting individuals making $200,000 a year or couples making $400,000 a year. In 2010 dollars, that’s equivalent to $1.6 million for an individual and $3.2 million for a couple. Someone making the 1954 equivalent of $373,650 in today’s money would have paid a tax rate of 72 % back then.
In 1981, Ronald Reagan’s first year, the top rate was 70%, hitting individuals earning $108,300 and couples earning $215,400. The top rate dropped to 50% in 1982 and stayed there through 1986. In 1987, the top rate fell again to 38.5%, and in 1988, it fell to 28%, kicking in at $17,850 for married individuals and $29,750 for married couples. (The 1988 incomes would be equivalent to $33,229 and $55,382 today.) So, for one year of the Reagan presidency, the top rate was lower than it is now under President Obama. For the other seven years, it was higher.
Props go out to Ed Schultz for calling these crybabies out. It’s really despicable that these guys are complaining about paying a small marginal increase in their tax rate when we have 14 million Americans who are jobless today and millions more have fallen into poverty. Bill O’Reilly claims that he’s always “looking out for the folks” but it sounds more like he’s looking out for the “rich” folks not the poor and middle class. Ed Schultz is really the guy looking out for the folks. Indeed, it was Ed Schultz out on the street in Wisconsin fighting for the working people not these other phonies.