One State, Two State, Red State, Blue State
Most of the political talk over the past few weeks has been every bit as intelligible as a Dr. Suess book…only without the rhyming structure, or plot, or clever characters. Hmmm. Maybe they aren’t as similar as I originally thought. The only thing that political speeches have in common with a Dr. Suess book is that I understand about as many words.
Fortunately I am here to clear up a lot of confusion (and probably create much more) by exploring the meaning of some of the numbers that keep getting thrown around. Specifically, I am going to try to tackle “47%” and “the wealthiest 1%.” Then I’m going to throw in my own number which I haven’t heard anyone else bring up- “0.33%.”
Mitt Romney infamously said that he doesn’t care about the 47% of Americans who feel entitled. That’s not an exact quote, but that is how it has been presented by his opponents. I’m not going to criticize him for the remark or defend his point of view, just show where he got the number:
Romney was referring to the 47% of Americans who do not pay any federal income taxes. They still pay other forms of taxes (Social Security, state, local, etc.) so “entitled” or “freeloader” is a poor choice of words, but it is still rather alarming that almost half of working Americans do not contribute to the federal coffers.
Here’s a detailed and well-presented explanation of who bears the financial responsibility of our federal government and how much income level affects tax payout. If you don’t feel like going through the details, here’s a summary:
Income in the top 50% pay almost 100% of the taxes
Income in the top 25% pay 80% of the taxes
Income in the top 10% pay 70% of the taxes
Income in the top 1% pay 30% of the taxes
And that is the perfect segue into the…
This is often used when referring to the “Bush tax cuts” in which the wealthiest one percent of our nation received more tax breaks than the bottom half. I will refrain from expounding on the idea that cutting zero is mathematically problematic and, once again, just talk about the numbers. To be in the wealthiest 1%, one must make at least $350,000 per year. Altogether, 1% of the population accounts for about 18% of all money earned in the United States.
47% make about 15% of the total money earned and pay no taxes
1% make about 18% of the total money earned and pay 30% of the taxes
How those numbers are interpreted (or presented) and personal opinions on how the burden of taxes should be distributed will largely determine the votes of many Americans.
I’m much more concerned about this number:
There was a very interesting exchange in the Vice Presidential debate about abortion policy. In the second presidential debate, both candidates took a question about women’s equality in the workplace and ran straight toward their opinions and policies regarding Planned Parenthood (40:53). Basically it all boils down to this: Obama/Biden wish for abortion to remain legal and for the government to continue subsidizing groups like Planned Parenthood who perform abortions while Romney/Ryan oppose the use of federal funding for abortions. The Romney campaign’s officially stated position on abortion is that Roe v. Wade should be repealed so that state governments can make their own laws about abortion. Paul Ryan stated in the debate that he and Governor Romney wish to make all abortions illegal except for in the cases of pregnancy caused by rape and incest.
According to the latest studies, pregnancies terminated because they are the result of rape or incest account for 0.33% of all abortions in the United States. Other studies dating back to 1987 place the number a little higher—just under 1.5%. Approximately 1.5 % of abortions are due to a concern for the health of either mother or child. The remaining 98% are the mother’s choice for social, economic, relationship, or personal reasons. Here’s what that looks like:
I am unashamedly Pro-life. I believe that intentionally ending another human life is wrong under any circumstances. I hate to see one human suffer because another human chooses to cause that suffering. My heart goes out to the victims of rape and incest and my heart goes out to the victims of abortion. Seeing the non-life-and-death reality of the circumstances that cause many Americans to make that decision greatly concerns me.