Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The Other Moore Says Kerry's Effective Tax Rate Makes Him a "Wild and Crazy Guy"

As anticipation builds toward's Thursday's scheduled release of at least part of Teresa Heinz Kerry's tax returns (see prior TaxProf Blog coverage here, here, here, and here), Stephen (not Michael) Moore of the Club for Growth examines the currently available information in a Wall Street Journal op-ed and computes the effective tax rate paid by the candidates in 2003:

• Pres. Bush and Laura Bush: 30.4%
• Sen. Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry: 12.8%
Moore skewers Sen. Kerry for paying tax at a significantly lower rate than that paid by the average middle class family (20% combined payroll and income tax):
I'm not against people paying a 12.8% tax rate. Far from it. I just believe that all Americans -- even those who can't afford to hire tax attorneys to set up complicated trusts and find legal ways to stash income in other tax-sheltered investments like municipal bonds -- should have a shot at that kind of non-confiscatory tax rate.
Moore also criticizes Sen. Kerry's reluctance to join the cause for a simpler and flatter tax code:
The Kerrys have unwittingly made the case for what George W. Bush says he wants to do: radically simplify and flatten out the tax code. Dick Armey and Steve Forbes have persuasively argued over the years that America should have a flat tax with a rate of 17% to 19%. John Kerry has consistently opposed a flat tax, because he says it would be a tax break for the rich. But the truth is with a 19% flat tax, some rich people with lavish tax shelters, like John Kerry, would pay more taxes. I calculate that the Kerrys would pay another $500,000 of taxes if we had a flat tax. So before John Kerry is given the opportunity to raise taxes again on American workers, shouldn't he and Teresa at least pay their fair share?

John_kerrySteve_martinMoore tags Sen. Kerry with the "Wild and Crazy Guy" label, styled after the 1970s Steve Martin character on Saturday Night Live:
You can make a million dollars and pay no taxes. First, find a million dollars. Then when the IRS comes knocking on your door demanding to know why you didn't pay your taxes, you just simply tell them you forgot. And then you say: "Well, excuse me."

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» Teresa Heinz Pays 12.8% Effective Tax Rate from G Blog
According to the Kerrys' own tax records, and they haven't released all of them, the couple had a combined income of $6.8 million in income last year and paid $725,000 in income taxes. That means they're effective tax rate was a whopping 12.8%. Unde... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 28, 2004 1:30:24 PM