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On 60 Minutes Schieffer Presses Romney and Ryan with False Narrative Wealthy Pay Low Tax Rate

Advancing a false narrative about how the wealthy are paying a lower tax rate than the middle class, CBS Bob Schieffer used his 60 Minutes session with the Republican ticket to push Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to agree “fairness” means the rich should pay higher taxes. “A lot of people,” Schieffer contended, “think corporations and rich people are getting all these breaks and they’re getting stuck with paying the bills. They see some of the wealthiest paying the lowest tax rates. How are you going to fix that?”

Schieffer next insisted: “Doesn’t fairness dictate that the wealthiest people should not be paying the lowest taxes because that’s what happening many times?”

Countering a point made by Romney, Schieffer maintained: “You say that of course the wealthiest people pay the largest share, but don’t they also pay at a lower rate when you figure in capital gains and all of that?”

In fact, they do not. As USA Today noted in January, Romney’s 14 percent income tax rate is “a higher tax rate than the majority of taxpayers” pay and “the average effective tax rate for taxpayers with AGI of $1 million or more is 25%, according to the Tax Foundation analysis.”

In “Tax bracket vs. tax rate: They’re two different things,” reporter Sandra Block explained: “The average effective federal tax rate for American taxpayers is 11%, according to an analysis of 2009 IRS data by the Tax Foundation, a non-profit research organization. For individuals with adjusted gross income of $50,000 or less, the average effective tax rate is less than 5%, according to the Tax Foundation....”

More in my NB post: “Nets Use Romney’s Taxes to Advance Obama’s False ‘Fairness’ Narrative,” which included a table showing those earning between $50,000 and $75,000 pay an average effective income tax rate of 7 percent, 8 percent for those taking in $75,000 to $100,000 and 12 percent for those between $100,000 and $200,000.           

Last year, Schieffer demanded of Ryan, as documented in a NB post with video: “How do you help that by reducing the amount of taxes that the richest people in the country pay? It would seem to me that's where you get revenue. How do you justify that?”

From the Sunday, August 12 60 Minutes:

BOB SCHIEFFER: You said yesterday, I’m going to quote you, Mr. Ryan, “America is a place where if you work hard, and play by the rules, you can get ahead.” But the fact is, a lot of people don’t think that’s true anymore. They don’t think the rules are fair. They think corporations and rich people are getting all these breaks and they’re getting stuck with paying the bills. They see some of the wealthiest paying the lowest tax rates. How are you going to fix that?

PAUL RYAN: What I see is a new amount of crony capitalism and corporate welfare which both parties have been engaged in, but the President has brought this to a whole new level, where President Obama is picking winners and losers based on connections, based on fads like Solyndra and basically giving handouts to businesses, giving preferences to tax code. We want to get Washington out of the business of picking winners and losers. We want entrepreneurs to have the barriers removed from in front of them, so that people can work hard and succeed. We want to turn the American idea back on. We want a system of upward mobility, and what we think we need to do is bring fairness back to the system of getting government bureaucracy and political clout out of the system. Those are the kinds of reforms we’ve been talking about.

SCHIEFFER: Doesn’t fairness dictate that the wealthiest people should not be paying the lowest taxes because that’s what happening many times?

MITT ROMNEY: Well, fairness dictates that the highest income people should pay the greatest share of taxes, and they do. And the commitment that I’ve made is we will not have the top income earners in this country pay a smaller share of the tax burden. The highest income people will continue to pay the largest share of the tax burden and middle-income taxpayers, under my plan, get a break. Their taxes come down. So, we’re not going to reduce taxes for high-income people, and we are going to reduce taxes for middle-income people.

SCHIEFFER: You say that of course the wealthiest people pay the largest share, but don’t they also pay at a lower rate when you figure in capital gains and all of that?

-- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Brent Baker on Twitter