jerb creators

Poor Rich People Lost 25 Percent Of Their Speech In 2009

So much to sayPoor rich people! The IRS recently released its latest annual analysis of the tax returns from the 400 filers with the highest adjusted gross incomes, and looks like they had 29% less income speech in 2009 than in 2008.

From CNN Money:

The 400 tax filers at the top of the income scale hauled in an average of $202.4 million in 2009 — a 25% haircut from the prior year, according to the latest tax data from the IRS.

But there is good news–two pieces of good news, in fact! First, Citizens United hadn’t passed yet. If it had, we the unwashed public would have been deprived of 25% of these people’s speech, thus hindering Democracy and the free exchange of ideas. And second, for job creators (also known as “the .01%” by Art Majors) money speech doesn’t just come from “income” (which is vulgar); it comes from tax-exempt income, such as interest from municipal bonds, or from investments with low effective tax rates, like capital gains. It is therefore possible that their money speech was not reduced quite as much as 25% between 2008 and 2009, since the IRS was only counting “income.” Also, the astute reader will note that they barely have to pay any taxes, but, as CNN Money notes (for balance, because this is journalism) this is only FAIR since all of the Poors have been living it up for ever.

Overall, the top 400 as a group paid an average effective tax rate of 19.9%, up from 18.1% a year earlier. The average effective tax rate is a measure of one’s total income tax bill divided by AGI. Individually, however, about 40% of them paid an effective rate higher than 25%. But close to a third paid an effective rate below 15%, which is also the case for the majority of Americans. Lower-income households have very low effective tax rates thanks to a host of credits, deductions and exemptions that cancel out much if not all of their tax bill.

But just in case, because it’s better safe than sorry, they made up for it by cutting back on charitable donations:

Their average charitable contributions, which made up nearly half of all deductions claimed, dropped by 28% relative what they’d been the year before.

[CNN Money]

About the author

Kris E. Benson writes about politics for Wonkette and is pursuing a doctorate in philosophy. This will come in handy for when they finally open that philosophy factory in the next town over. @Kris_E_Benson

View all articles by Kris E. Benson
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  1. Barb

    Romney is walking around with a hard-on that could cut diamonds and the Kock brothers nearly broke hips from doing running and jumping belly bumps all night over Walker's victory. Fuck you very much, Citizen's United!

    Seriously, this could happen again in the Presidential race.

      1. MittBorg

        From your lips to deity's ears, etc. Please god, take those four: Scalia, Scalito, Thomas, Roberts. I won't ask for anything ever again, even when being pork-sworded in Biely's molten lake of fire.

      2. BarackMyWorld

        I was going to say "retire" but the only way they'd retire is if there's a Republican in the White House to replace them with someone even more extreme.

    1. Boojum

      But did anyone notice that the Democrats took back the Wisconsin Senate? So, while Walker still has the Governor's Mansion, we now own his penis.

      1. Callyson

        Here's hoping their new Senate Majority Leader has the cojones to stand up to Scotty…

    2. pdiddycornchips

      Could it? That would be horrible. I mean, these last four years have been such a wonderful time of peace and prosperity. It doesn't make any difference who wins.
      The first item on the agenda is destroying the social safety net. If Obama wins, we'll raise the retirement age, cut benefits to the most needy among us and the rich will get a tax cut. If Mittens wins, we'll raise the retirement age, cut benefits to the most needy among us and the rich will get a really big tax cut.

  2. FlownOver

    You misunderestimate the Riches. They already had most of the country's $peech socked away from the Bush years. One bad year can't keep 'em quiet – or honest.

    1. MittBorg

      And, if you haven't already heard, they're determined to hold the whole goddamn country hostage until we give them a FULL Republican slate. They will not invest a penny until that happens. They've already said so live on the media.

      1. TootsStansbury

        This and more has been said; by elected officials no less, yet it passes unnoticed. Why are these things only discussed in quiet rooms – or rubber ones like here on the Wonket.

        1. MittBorg

          Because the constant influx of stimuli has caused us to (1) lose our memory, and (2) require ever more stimuli just to create any interest. People don't seem to remember anything that happened more than 24 hours ago.

          Does anyone here remember Senator Jay Rockefeller announcing that he, and other Democrats on the Security council had been threatened with death, personal harm, or imprisonment for even discussing the buildup to the Iraq war?

  3. noodlesalad

    It's not our fault the poors can't pay thousands of dollars for personal accountants to actually do the math and find these deductions, which might allow them to actually achieve the theoretically possible (lower tax rates than the wealthy).

    1. MittBorg

      (Hugs the little bobblehead) It'll be OK, sweetie. We'll just weep together for a bit, then it's time to buckle on our figurative armour and leap back into the fray. It ain't over till it's over. We'll fight this one through.

      1. Dashboard Buddha

        [snif] Thanks, MB. I'll buck up and I won't rest until the wealthiest people are paying negative taxes!

    1. anniegetyerfun

      My guess is that the top 400 richest people simply opened a few more of those Swiss accounts and that's where all their money is.

    1. MittBorg

      They sure are! We've got less, and we're gonna have even less, and they're just getting more of whatever they can before they run off someplace else.

  4. SayItWithWookies

    Okay, so come the revolution, I'd agree to sending 25% fewer of them to the re-education camps than I wanted to before.

    1. Generation[redacted]

      Re-education camp? I was hoping for nut-kicking camp. (and before you say what about the rich wimmenz who have no nuts, I say that's not an issue, wimmenz don't make as much monies)

      1. MittBorg

        The richest person in the world right now is an Australian woman (I could be wrong). And the wimmenz who DO make much munniez, like Meg Witless, and Carleton Sneed Fiorina, are just as nasty as the rich men. How about the guys get nut-punches and the galz get face-punches?

      2. tessiee

        "and before you say what about the rich wimmenz who have no nuts, I say that's not an issue"

        Or we could send them to kick-them-in-the-boobies camp…

          1. tessiee

            It's OK. I'm wearing a bra, so the cupcakes are protected from my comment, which might otherwise cause them anxiety.

      3. Wile E. Quixote

        I had a woman tell me that getting kicked in the ladyparts hurts pretty bad.

      1. tessiee

        Texas rich guy on simpsons: Aw, I'm sure you'll have a good time in the…
        Haw haw haw!
        [sneering] MILLIONAIRE'S camp!

        1. MittBorg

          They'll find some way to turn it into a status contest, I'm sure. "Oh, look, I got 25% more holes in my integument than you, I must be the worse badass."

  5. mavenmaven

    The saddest part, as we've seen in WI, is that they've convinced the truly poor people to feel sorry for them and vote for the Rich's best interests over their own.

  6. EatsBabyDingos

    Sadly, the "25%" actually refers to words that the rich used to use, like "charity" or "community" or "fairness."

    1. MittBorg

      You'll have to fight the other peasants for the scraps. And it might be a little … grubby, anaconda the riches flung it in the street for the peasants to fight over.

      But, sure, you can have lots of delicious cake. Good luck finding it.

  7. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    They are going to have to drink the slightly less expensive 150 year old brandy in Galt Gulch tonight.

  8. PuckStopsHere

    I blame teachers and their thug unions. Look what they've done: How can anyone live anywhere near comfortably on only $202.4 million/yr?

  9. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    I'm assuming that those top 400 who paid less than 15% in income tax were using the rest of their money to keep their families feed, sheltered and clothed and their beater car running, just like the poor Americans that pay less in taxes, right?

  10. fartknocker

    I was much happier reading about sideboobs than about the average really rich person lost $50 million and still has $200 million. My theory is the rich folks didn't loose 25% – rather, they just put it into SuperPacs thanks to Citizens United vs. FEC.

    1. el_donaldo

      The average really rich person is also still looking at a hell of a lot more sideboob than you or me.

  11. BarackMyWorld

    This story is about 2008 and 2009?

    Good job staying current, CNN.

    Any breaking stories on the Obama inauguration or what Michael Jackson's been up to that you'd like to share?

    1. MittBorg

      It says those who got increases were mostly junior workers at the vice-presidential level or below.

      Not a word about the toiling masses, of course.

  12. memzilla

    On the bright side, the IPO of Amalgamated Hobo Beans is coming up. If it merges with Consolidated Cardboard Housing, the .01%'ll all be more rich free-speechier!

  13. scvirginia

    Isn't there probably a difference between '400 top income-tax filers' & 400 richest people? Rich people don't stay rich by paying income tax, nu?

      1. BarackMyWorld

        Maher had both Laffer and Paul Krugman on at the same time a couple of weeks ago. Everyone was cordial and well-behaved, but honestly think it was only because Michelle Bernard was sitting between them.

  14. weejee


    Ray Bradbury passed. Can we make with the Farenheit 451 thingy on say the dead tree National Review and the Weakly Standard? Do any of our html geeks know how to do the same with the electronic versions?

  15. Blueb4sunrise

    Coincidental quote on another web page…………..

    "I have often regretted my speech, never my silence." Xenocrates (396-314 B.C.)

  16. Baconzgood

    (again unrelated to this post)

    C'mon Department Director Dale Part II, your just supposed to monitor what I do here…NOT BLOW MY FUCKING DEALS!!!!!!!!! Answer the phone when I'm on the other line "Monkey Boy, Baconz is on the other line let me take your #"

    (this comment is 100% snark free)

    1. Chichikovovich

      Ricky Roma: WHAT YOU'RE HIRED FOR, is to help us… does that seem clear to you? TO HELP US, not to… FUCK-US-UP… to help those who are going out there to try to earn a living… You fairy. You company man.

    2. MittBorg

      (Rubs the little piglet's belly) Poor Baconz. Department Director Dale sounds like a right royal pain-in-the-arse of a Republican. Hopefully, he'll twist a testicle annoying one of your deal dudes and be dragged off in extreme pain.

      1. Baconzgood

        My clients know me. They ones who don't like me left many years ago. The ones that like me are loyal because we have the same tastes in life: Lotsa booze, big yucks, and being the loudest and mostest swearest people in the room.

        1. MittBorg

          That's why I like you too, Baconz. Nobody but you and me and Fakakta that swear like we do. It's like being in fucking college all fucking over again.

  17. Mumbletypeg

    Go ahead and weep, one-percenter dandies with marginally less statuesque trophy wives in the forecast and barely diminished shine to your shoes! You'll never know what it is to have a rag-bone shop of the heart. Or even just to be down to rag-clad bare bones, let alone a shop that needs sweeping. I'll explain these Yeats'ian references to you someday. I'll never in my lifetime be able to explain to you about having a heart.

    1. BarackMyWorld

      The only way I could ever get a trophy wife is if it was a participation trophy.

      1. MittBorg

        Why would you want one? If you don't already have a sweet man/woman to stand by you in your time of need and love you and hold you and share all the joys of life with you, someday you will. And that's worth a thousand trophies.

    2. Chichikovovich

      Those guys don't need "having a heart" explained. Rupert Murdoch alone has a whole fridge full of 'em.

  18. hagajim

    So if they gave 28% less to charity, that about balances the loss. So when the richies lose the charities lose too.

    1. MittBorg

      You don't think those sons of bitches have any interest in *charity,* do ya? All they want is the tax write-off, and when they make less, they need it less.

      1. OneYieldRegular

        This has actually been demonstrated empirically, and not just as a matter of Wonkette style snark.

        1. MittBorg

          There was a time when people took their *obligations* to the rest of their community seriously. When did the "me-ism" start?

  19. tessiee

    So, does this prove that the 99% are winning that whole "class warfare" thing, or what?

  20. Troglodeity

    And since the number of jobs created was also down by 29% from 2008 to 2009, that just proves beyond doubt that giving the rich more money automatically creates more jobs: just like the Republicans say!

    Wait, what?

    1. OneYieldRegular

      Jobs created down 29% – charitable giving by the rich down 28% + math = "We are the 1%."

  21. actor212

    I know I ____ lost about 25 ____ of my words. _____ W. Bush's tax ____ have forced me __ economize and budget _____ I say.

  22. actor212

    Gee, you think this drop in income for the wealthy would have anything to do with the 50% decline in the stock market late in 2008?

  23. actor212

    Their average charitable contributions, which made up nearly half of all deductions claimed, dropped by 28% relative what they’d been the year before.

    Income dropped by 25% but deductions dropped by 28%, so they earned 3% anyway.

  24. Estproph

    OK, now I'm confused. Poor rich people? I thought the poors were the poor people. So the rich can't even be just the rich, now they have to be the poors too? Haven't they taken enough from the poors as it is?

    1. tessiee

      "Haven't they taken enough from the poors as it is?"

      Having stolen everything but our underdog status, now they want that, too.

  25. tessiee

    Smithers: You know his name; it's Monty Burns.
    Mr. Burns [interrupting]: That's MISTER Burns!
    Smithers: Why, he's worth TEN TIMES what he earns!

  26. prommie

    This particular member of the masses is in dire need of opiates. I was promised opiates, dammit! And free love! Where is my Tomorrowland future of tomorrow! I want a jetpack and a Hazel robot to clean up after my opiate and free-love orgies. The fucking future ain't what it used to fucking be.

  27. mormos

    ! shit, epiphany. Since citizens united declared that money is speech, doesn’t that mean that taxes are an abridgment of free speech? Doesn’t that mean that taxes are unconstitutional? Discuss.

  28. Doktor StrangeZoom

    By coincidence, Terry Gross just interviewed Joseph Steiglitz about some of this yesterday. Then again, he has a Nobel Prize in economics. What a snob!

  29. Doktor StrangeZoom

    Sigh…I see that Ray Bradbury died yesterday. So it goes.

    I'm still mad at him for defending Bob Packwood's sexual harassment years ago, saying it was just what any virile man would do, but still, what a writer.

    EDIT: John Scalzi has lovely essay about Bradbury, a reprint of his introduction to a recent edition of The Martian Chronicles.

      1. Doktor StrangeZoom

        Hi-ho. *


        *(Vonnegut term deserves another, you know)

  30. Biel_ze_Bubba

    I can only conclude that the country is running out of money for them to scarf up.

  31. bureaucrap

    I've always had a place in my heart to pity the rich. Not nearly as big, though, as the place to pity the rest of us. This is definitely one spot where the rich don't get more than the others.

  32. Guppy

    The income they report to the IRS went down 25 %.

    I hear the weather in Switzerland is nice this time of year. And let's not forget the Caymans, soon to be renamed "Romnesia."

  33. pdiddycornchips

    This simply will not do. We must enact retroactive tax cuts for the rich post haste. Every rich person should have as much money as the Sultan of Brunei. That's the American Way. We have to resolve to end this immediately. The not rich will have to work harder and longer and for less pay of course but that's what shared sacrifice is all about

  34. owhatever

    Math is hard. Just give the uber rich all our monies. They'll create jobs and do the right thing.

  35. Antispandex

    Well, it looks like the only reasonable thing to do is just give all of your money away, live on minimum wage, and avoid paying taxes to this corrupt government that is out to steal all of your job creating abilities. That'll show 'em!

  36. Mumbletypeg

    8" of hair

    *Gawd.* I had to wait and wait to get my hair long enough to qualify for the cut-your-hair-to-donate-for-cancer-patient-wigs charity that I finally found which would accept that minimal length. It chastened me to think I didn't even have enough hair on my head to give away and feel charitable-like!

  37. ttommyunger

    Too bad I'm not going to be around to see what our schools produce after using the Bible to teach history and Atlas Shrugged to teach Social Studies/Business/Government. Every day will be a holiday and every meal a feast-for the 1%.

  38. Negropolis

    Honestly, who gives a fuck about years-old news, now, and during the recession, no less? I'm much more interested in what happened to the income in between the end of the recession and now.

  39. lulzmonger

    These things are relative.

    There was just NO WAY they'd be able to match the sheer titanic bulk of profit they sucked from The Great Bait-&-Switch Of 2008 two years running. Not to mention, what with all the bankruptcies & foreclosures, everyone else was just cold out of money for them to purloin by then.

    Why, at this rate by 2014 the rich are going to have no choice but to start robbing each other.


  40. badgitator

    Why would anyone want to be rich? Haven't they heard all the other rich people talking about how to get on the welfare if you want to live like a king?

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