O’Reilly Takes on the Tax Man

FireShot Screen Capture #616 - 'Bill O'Reilly_ Why you don't have as much money as you should have I Talking Points I The O'Reilly Factor' - www_foxnews_com_on-air_oreilly_2013_09_26_bill-ore“Why you don’t have as much money as you should have. That is the subject of this evening’s Talking Points memo,” Fox News host Bill O’Reilly explained (9/25/13).

So what’s the reason we don’t have money? Record levels of income inequality? Corporate tax-dodging? No. Barack Obama is taking your money:

As we reported last week, the federal government is now getting a record amount of tax money from us, the hard-working American public….

This is why the U.S. economy is stagnant: American consumers don’t have enough money to spend because the tax man is taking the money.

As O’Reilly noted, he’d already explained this to his viewers (9/20/13): “This year, 2013, the feds will receive the most tax money in history. About $2.5 trillion.”

And it’s easy to see what’s happening:

Simply put, President Obama and his acolytes do not want Americans to accumulate wealth. They want to take private wealth away from those who have it and give it to those who don’t have it.

So where’s he wrong? The conventional measure of the country’s tax revenue isn’t a nominal dollar figure. If it were, you might look at the tax tables and conclude that the end of the George W. Bush years presidency was a time of especially confiscatory tax policy: Revenue was $2.5 trillion in 2007 and 2008.

It’s more common to measure tax receipts relative to the size of the economy. As (3/21/13) reported:

 Economists prefer to view historic revenues as percentages of GDP. In fiscal 2013, federal tax revenues are projected to equal 16.9 percent of the nation’s economy, which is below the post-World War II average of 17.7 percent.

In other words, it’s not that the federal government is taking more of our money. It’s actually taking less than average. So why does Bill O’Reilly think otherwise? It might be due to the fact that people like him are paying more this year. As the New York Times (1/4/13) reported:

The last-minute deal struck by the departing 112th Congress raised taxes on a handful of the highest-earning Americans, with about 99.3 percent of households experiencing no change in their income taxes. But the Tax Policy Center estimates that the average family in the top 1 percent will pay a federal tax rate of more than 36 percent this year, up from 28 percent in 2008. That is the highest rate since 1979, at least.

O’Reilly did say he was talking about the Feds taxing “us, the hard-working American public.” Maybe he thinks the 1 Percent work a lot harder than the rest of us.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.