The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

14 August 2004

Doing the math

Inspired by Jay Tea's calculations, I'm looking at my own 2000 and 2003 numbers, and the figure that jumps out at me is this: in 2003, I paid $41 less federal income tax than I did in 2000, despite an increase in taxable income of $2279.

My effective tax rate, for this particular tax anyway: 2000 — 12.38%; 2003 — 10.69%. Not perphaps as inspiring as Jay's rate, which was sliced in half, but definitely an improvement. (Like Jay, I had no change in filing status or exemptions during the period, and both of us claimed the standard deduction.)

On the question of health insurance: for me, the employer picks up the entire premium (one advantage of tenure), though copays and deductibles are rising steadily.

What Jay thinks:

So, am I better off than I was four years ago? I'd have to say, in ways I can attribute to the government, not just "yes," but "HELL, YES!" The only area I'm doing worse in is in regards to my health insurance, and that I squarely blame on John Edwards and his ilk.

I know it sounds selfish, but there's an old saying that "all politics is personal." I have done better under the Bush administration, and Kerry has picked a running mate who exemplifies the one part of my personal finances where I'm getting screwed. And looking at how my employer is doing and extrapolating what I can from that, I hope for the general health of the economy that Bush is re-elected.

I have to demur to some extent — there are many factors besides the hyperactivity of trial lawyers contributing to the rapid increase in health-care costs — but my major worry here is that a Kerry administration would think I make too much money (ha!) to deserve any kind of tax relief and would promptly start turning the screws a little tighter.

And forget that business about selfishness. There is no reason on God's green earth why anyone should feel compelled to pay more tax.

Posted at 10:27 AM to Political Science Fiction


(laughs) I fixed his math.

CBO reports friday that the overall percentages of taxes are being shifted to the middle class.

If we are spending more than we take in, is it really a tax cut, or borrowed money? We can't spend that money twice... at least I can't.

As to the laywers causing rising health care... YAWN.. I think I've covered that canard before. I still fail to see how denying people damages commiserate with their suffering is a solution to any sort of problem.

Posted by: bruce at 6:17 PM on 14 August 2004

The word you want is "commensurate," I think, and well, it's not; capping damage awards will presumably lower costs slightly, but how likely is it that any savings will be passed on to the consumers of health care? Despite my occasional capitalist predilections, I am deeply suspicious of these measures.

Posted by: CGHill at 7:13 PM on 14 August 2004

Thanks for the spelling tip....

Posted by: bruce at 4:34 AM on 15 August 2004

Bruce caught me in an error. Apparently TurboTax changed it's definition of "Effective Tax Rate" between 2000 and 2003, exchanging "taxable income" for "adjusted gross," and I didn't notice. My tax rate changed either from 14.99% to 11.85% (taxable) or from 8.5% to 7.6% (Gross). Still a dramatic drop, but nowhere near the 50% I initially claimed.

J.

Posted by: Jay Tea at 6:44 AM on 15 August 2004

A good-sized decrease, regardless. I figured mine on the adjusted gross both years, so my numbers, albeit somewhat less impressive, should hold up.

Posted by: CGHill at 9:32 AM on 15 August 2004