The Daily Mail (who else?) reports that reality TV star Kim Kardashian has been used in a left-wing political ad in California, which argues for higher taxes on the rich. The Courage Campaign, which is apparently backed by the California Federation of Teachers, says:
"Millionaires like the Kardashians only pay a tiny bit more in taxes than a middle-class Californian."
They base this on the fact that Kardashian only pays a 10.3 percent tax on her income, whereas a 'middle-class' Californian would pay 9.3 percent.
But hang on a second. 10.3 percent of $12,000,000 comes to $1,236,000 in taxes. 9.3 percent of $47,000 comes to $4,371. In other words, Kim Kardashian pays $1,231,629 more in tax than Average Joe. Is that really only a 'tiny bit more'?
It's also worth noting that California already has the third-highest state income tax rate in the US, with only Hawaii and Oregon taxing their highest earners more. More broadly, the Tax Foundation says that California has the sixth-highest state and local tax burden in the US, and ranks 49th out of 50 states for its business tax environment. And despite all that, the state has been struggling to make ends meet since 2008.
The Courage Campaign might want to ask themselves whether Kim Kardashian is really the problem. Couldn't it be that, in fact, the Californian public sector has simply grown too large to be funded, even with some of the highest taxes in America? It's a story that will be horribly familiar to most European readers.