We heard a lot on Tuesday night from President Obama about the wealthy paying their “fair share” in his State of the Union speech. (Well, you heard it a lot; I read the speech and then commenced to have a life on Tuesday night.) Obama made half a dozen references to fairness in relation to taxes in the address, including taking a shot at Congress:
But in return, we need to change our tax code so that people like me, and an awful lot of members of Congress, pay our fair share of taxes.
Just like with charity, perhaps fairness should start at home:
From postal workers to congressional staffers, federal workers failed to pay billions in taxes in 2010. According to records released by the Internal Revenue Service, active and retired federal employees and military personnel combined owed $3,420,168,684 in unpaid taxes for 2010, an increase of more than 3 percent over the previous year.
As has been the case in past years, the agency with employees who owe the most in unpaid taxes is the U.S. Postal Service, where 25,640 employees owe nearly $270 million. Employees in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives owe more the $10 million. Active duty military owe more than $100 million.
What WTOP doesn’t mention except in a chart is what the White House itself owes. That comes to $833,970, or twice what the President makes in a year. Andrew Malcolm catches that, though, and notes that Obama’s staff can’t exactly claim poverty, either:
A new report just out from the Internal Revenue Service reveals that 36 of President Obama’s executive office staff owe the country $833,970 in back taxes. These people working for Mr. Fair Share apparently haven’t paid any share, let alone their fair share.
Previous reports have shown how well-paid Obama’s White House staff is, with 457 aides pulling down more than $37 million last year. That’s up seven workers and nearly $4 million from the Bush administration’s last year.
Nearly one-third of Obama’s aides make more than $100,000 with 21 being paid the top White House salary of $172,200, each.
The IRS’ 2010 delinquent tax revelations come as part of a required annual agency report on federal employees’ tax compliance. Turns out, an awful lot of folks being paid by taxpayers are not paying their own income taxes.
Divide the amount of delinquency by 36 and it comes to an impressive $23,165. If the average household making $50,000 pays an effective income tax rate of 20%, that comes to more than twice what the average annual household owes per year.
Perhaps Obama should focus less on castigating others for paying exactly what current law says they should, and focus more on getting his own White House in order on paying their current “fair share.”