Thursday, October 04, 2007

Action America Analyzes IRS Collections by Income Category (Percentile) for Tax Year 2005

It's that time of year again. The official IRS Collections Data for 2005 has just become available and Action America has published our annual analysis of that data in an article titled "1986-2005 IRS Collections Data by Income Category (Percentile)."

Interestingly, as in previous years, the latest IRS data shatters the popular myth that there are so many loopholes in the tax code that the rich don't pay tax. In fact, as past years' data has shown, the latest IRS Collections data, broken down by income category or "percentile", conclusively dispels that myth. In fact, this data leaves no doubt that the rich pay far more than their share.

Here is just a sample of what's in this year's tax collections data.

• The top-earning 1% of taxpayers earned 21% of the income.
• The top-earning 1% of taxpayers paid 40% of taxes collected.
• That's roughly double their share, based upon income.

Once again, this report shows that the Bush tax cuts didn't benefit the rich, as liberals would have us believe. In fact, the most relevant benchmark of tax load - the ratio of percent of total income earned, to the percent of total tax paid, by each income group - has been higher for the top-earning 1% of income earners, in each of the years 2001 through 2004, than in any of the prior four years, when that ratio was trending down. Only in 2005 has that ratio dropped to close to the level that it was when Bush took office. Interestingly, the years 2002 and 2003 were the first years since 1996 that the top-earning 1% paid more than double their share of taxes, based upon income. Try to spin that as the media may, such data demonstrates, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that if anything, the Bush tax cuts actually hurt, rather than helped the richest taxpayers.

But there is a lot more to it than just that. Check out the article for more analysis and a link to the actual data, in spreadsheet format, on the IRS web site. Afterwards, come back here and discuss it. [more...]

Note: Every year, between September and February, the IRS releases their most recent collections data, sorted by income category or "percentile". Because of the time it takes to complete collections and to compile the data, the released data is always about two years old.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Apple still doesn't get it

Ok. This is a little off topic for this site. But, as a person who bought an iPhone on the day it was released and took it back four days later, I think that it is important that our readers don't get sucked up into all the iPhone hype.

Although Apple has sold over one million iPhones, Apple still doesn't get it. They could have sold over 5 million iPhones by now, if they weren't so greedy. It's the same warped "keep it proprietary" philosophy that has kept the Mac a poor second for decades, even though it sports far superior technology.

In response to huge numbers of requests and hundreds of negative media reviews, Steve Jobs recently announced that the iPhone will now support downloadable ringtones. NOT! Well, in a warped Steve Jobs kind of way, it will support something that vaguely resembles what ringtones might have been years ago. But, in no way does the iPhone offer true user-choice downloadable ringtones, with the ease, flexibility and economy (that means FREE) that cell phone users have come to expect of even the cheapest, bargain basement cell phones, not to mention the many modern and far more practical smartphones on the market today.

You can only make iPhone ringtones from music that you purchase from the iTunes Store and for which, you already paid $0.99. Even so, Apple wants to charge you an additional $0.99 for a ringtone made from that already purchased music. Hello?!!! What's wrong with this picture? Worse yet, not all songs on the iTunes Store are allowed to be turned into ringtones. Only certain Apple-approved songs can be made into ringtones. You can't even make ringtones out of music that you have on an old CD, that is not available on the iTunes Store. At least six of my ringtones on my old cell phone fall into that category. So to recap, Apple wants you to pay $0.99 for a song and then, only if they approve of that song, pay an additional $0.99 for a 15 to 20 second clip of that song, to be used as a ringtone and ignore the fact that on your previous phone, you could download ANY ringtone from ANY music source that you already own and the ringtone service provided by

In short, Apple's idea of downloadable ringtones is far more restrictive and infinitely more expensive than what is available for almost all other cell phones, meaning that the iPhone still doesn't have downloadable ringtones that can be considered even close to modern.

Note to Steve Jobs: There are certain things that I expect from any cell phone. It's sort of like expecting a car to have brakes, headlights and a horn. For that reason, I will not buy any cell phone, no matter how glitzy, if it does not have true downloadable ringtone functionality, support voice dialing and cut and paste. I will not buy any music player, no matter how glitzy, if it does not support A2DP Bluetooth stereo. Other features of which I expect to see most, on any smartphone are, expandable memory, Java support, video recording, a user replaceable battery, instant messaging support and an API (application program interface) and SDK (software developer kit), so 3rd parties can develop specialized applications for the phone, as they have long done on the Blackberry, the Treo and the Nokia, to name just a few. None of those features are available on the iPhone. It would also be nice if you were to add GPS and fix that headphone jack that won't fit my high-end noise-reduction headphones that cost almost as much as the iPhone. So in short, Steve, the iPhone has a long way to go, before I will even think about buying another one (I took the first one back on July 3rd). I also recommend that our readers consider these things, as well. I look forward to a version 2 of the iPhone that has more than just some glitzy features and actually includes the most used features that we have all come to expect of any cell phone.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Ultimate Tax Reform Poll - Flat Tax, Fair Tax or ???? has announced our new tax reform poll that we call the Ultimate Tax Reform Poll. We call it "Ultimate", because of what it includes that every other tax reform poll of which we are aware, does not include.

A few of weeks ago, as we were discussing the order of the options that were to appear in our soon to be released, tax reform poll, pitting the Flat Tax and Fair Tax against each other, I got to thinking about all of the site feedback that we receive from our readers, who have a variety of tax reform ideas. I realized that it would be disingenuous to post a poll that only included the Flat Tax and the Fair Tax as options, unless we had some fairly good reason to believe that those were the only options that really had any kind of public support. We didn't want our poll to be a "push poll."

So, for the first half of January of this year, ActionAmerica has been running a very broad based tax reform poll. We included every type of tax reform option that we could think of, from the Flat Tax and the Fair Tax, to unlikely candidates such as the VAT Tax and Duties and Excise Taxes. We even included an option for the strict Libertarians, who think that all tax should be voluntary. Our purpose was to either prove what we thought to be true - that the Flat Tax and the Fair Tax were the only tax reform proposals that had any legs with the public - or to find out if there were any other proposals that might have any significant amount of public support.

Well, much to our surprise, we discovered that there was a third tax reform proposal that had far more than trivial public support. In fact, it essentially tied the Flat Tax for second place in that earlier poll, coming in only one vote behind the Flat Tax and it had actually led the Flat Tax for much of the previous 24 hours. Because of this surprising development, we are including three options in our Ultimate Tax Reform Poll - the Flat Tax, the Fair Tax and Taxing the States, by apportionment (and allowing each state to collect taxes within their own borders, as they see fit, to pay the federal tax bill).

That earlier poll was more like the general election, with lots of candidates. The current poll is more like the run-off. We culled out the non-starters, with that first poll and in the process, we learned that more than a few people support an option that has not been considered in any other poll, to our knowledge. The new poll asks our visitors to now choose between just those three options that got out of the starting gate.

Take a moment to tell us what kind of tax reform you think will help all Americans. Cast your vote now, at:

We further encourage you to pass the word about this poll, to conservative and liberal forums and news groups and to Flat Tax and Fair Tax forums and newsgroups. Tell everyone. I know that it's tempting to tell just those who agree with you and get supporters of your view to spam the poll. But, we want supporters of all viewpoints to spam the poll. In other words, we want to give everyone a chance, so our results will be more meaningful.

Vote Now.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Tax Reform Poll

As the new Congress prepares for their next session, one of the items on their agenda, will be tax reform. We ask our readers:

"What kind of tax reform will serve all Americans best?"

This poll is intentionally designed to give a broad set of options, so we may see what people are really thinking, rather than limiting the options to only a few popular plans. In a few more weeks, we will post a poll that limits the options to only those options that ranked high on this poll. But for now, we just want to know what you would do, if you were in charge.

Vote now, by going to