1) NEA Doubles Down on Warren
Buffett's Secretary. As irksome as it may be to
tax-exempt entity with $1.5 billion in annual income argue passionately
in favor of people paying their fair share of taxes, the National Education
Association is perfectly within its rights to do so. Just as we are
perfectly within our rights to point out when it makes up crap to support
For those of you who had forgotten the
15 minutes of fame enjoyed by Warren Buffett's secretary, Debbie Bosanek,
my apologies for reminding you. For those who need a refresher, it's pretty
simple and summed up by
ABC News: "Bosanek pays a tax
rate of 35.8 percent of income, while Buffett pays a rate at 17.4 percent."
It took a few media
cycles to ascertain that Buffett made about $46 million, mostly from capital
gains, while Bosanek earned about $60,000. And it took a few more media
cycles for every financial pundit in America to attempt to figure out how
Bosanek's tax rate could be so high, based on such a relatively low income.
So let's avoid a rehash
of effective rates vs. marginal rates, Social Security and payroll taxes,
etc., and just accept the intended spin of "Rich people are gaming the
system at the expense of poor people," even if the vehicle used didn't have
all of its wheels.
Enter the NEA, which in
support of the legislation inspired by Buffett's secretary, the
Paying a Fair Share Act, decided to go one step beyond with
WHAT DO EDUCATION
SUPPORT PROFESSIONALS AND WARREN BUFFET'S (sic) SECRETARY HAVE IN COMMON?
more in taxes than billionaire investor Warren Buffet! Our nationís tax laws
are out of whack. It is not fair that a bus driver, a custodian, and Warren
Buffetís own secretary pay more in taxes than our nationís richest
Let's begin with the
obvious. Neither bus drivers, nor custodians, nor Warren Buffett's secretary
pay more in taxes than our nation's richest individuals. In absolute
terms, Buffett paid more in taxes in one year than his secretary will earn
in 130 years.
The larger problem with
this argument is that education support professionals (ESPs) and Warren
Buffett's secretary don't have much in common. Bosanek makes $60,000
a year - in Nebraska. The average full-time ESP salary nationwide, according
to NEA itself, is $30,480. Even if we assume that entire amount to be
taxable, the marginal federal income tax rate is 15%, and the effective tax
rate would be 13.6%. But there are exemptions, deductions and tax credits.
The Tax Policy Center reports that
69.5% of all households with an income below $50,000 pay no federal income
If "fair share" means
those with more pay more, NEA should apply the principle to its teacher
members, who currently pay the same standard dues rate regardless of income,
geography, or economic condition. Why should a starting teacher in North
Dakota have to pay 0.7% of her salary in NEA national dues, when a
top-of-the-scale teacher in New Jersey only pays 0.2%?
2) Last Week's Intercepts.
Intercepts, covered these topics from March 27-April 2:
Beach Joins South Florida Teacher Union Turmoil. The members are always
the last to know.
Palm Beach Union Has Labor Troubles, Too. With the UAW, no less.
Wrong With Jeff Reardon? He must be pretty bad, if Mike Schaufler is
Charter Unions Not Very Uniony. Laissez-faire affiliates.
School Reforms Placed on Waivers. Waiver leads to waver.
3) Quote of the Week #1.
"What we are really saying is that the teachers unions have almost veto
power over anything that happens in education in Connecticut." - Joseph
Cirasuolo, executive director of the Connecticut Association of School
Superintendents, after state lawmakers held closed-door negotiations with
the teachers' unions about Gov. Malloy's education reform. All others were
excluded. (March 29
Quote of the Week #2.
"I have three children. When one of them does something wrong, I don't beat
all three. I don't punish all of them. I punish the one that did something
wrong." - Chad Major of the Professional Firefighters Association of
Louisiana, testifying against a bill that would open collective bargaining
sessions to the public. (March 28
New Orleans Times-Picayune)