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The Taxman Cometh: McCain, Obama, and Professional Sports. [Sep. 5th, 2008|08:00 am]
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[Special Music |The Beatles - Money]

If the United States voting base consisted entirely of players and executives in professional sport, then the next President would be John McCain.

In the presidential playoffs, pro sports figures have thrown down more cash on Republican John McCain, a former Navy boxer, than on Democrat Barack Obama, a younger pickup hoops player.

But it's a narrow spread compared to past elections in which Democratic candidates had few fans among sports pros.

Professional athletes and executives have given $445,334 to the two nominees -- 55.8 percent to McCain and 44.2 percent to Obama, according to ESPN analysis of figures from the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group. That includes donations during the current election cycle up to August.

Why would the professional sporting world be overwhelmingly Republican? The answer lies in a perception that Republicans would be more "hands-off" of their world, as opposed to Democrats, who would opt for more regulation and control.

What probably dominates this preference for McCain, however, is the issue of taxes. From the ESPN article:

Pro sports donors also have trusted conservative leaders to take fewer taxes out of their big paychecks, said sports scholars and donors themselves.

"I think everybody is quite aware that John McCain will be more inclined to keep taxes lower," said driver Jim Pace, a member of The Racer's Group who donated $500 to McCain in May. "Senator McCain is going to be more for less involvement, which then allows more opportunities for competitive sports."

McCain's blanket advertising about Obama's tax plans, well, sure drives this point home, albeit in a most disingenuous way.

There are several variants upon this position. Here are two of the ads.

And, especially, this one:

My question: Higher taxes for who?

Obama would plan for higher taxes among those making more than $250,000 per year.

From The Washington Post:

There are significant differences between the two candidaes on tax policy. McCain would like to make the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 permanent, and has proposed a few more of his own. Obama, by contrast, favors allowing the tax cuts to expire as scheduled for Americans earning more than $250,000 a year. He would raise taxes on capital gains and dividends, but has also promised tax breaks for low and middle-income Americans.


The claim that Obama will "enact" the largest tax increase since World War II is also overblown. The Bush tax cuts will expire automatically at the end of 2010, so it is hardly a question of "enacting" a new tax increase. According to Obama's new economics adviser, Jason Furman, the revenues raised from letting the tax cuts expire will be returned to middle and low-income tax payers in the form of tax credits to pay for health insurance, so the overall effect will be revenue neutral.

McCain spokesman Brian Rogers pointed to an analysis by the non-partisan Annenberg Political Fact Check that found that the gross tax increase would amount to $103.3 billion in 2011, the largest single-year tax increase since World War II. The Annenberg study pointed out, however, that "most economists" prefer to measure tax changes as a percentage of gross national product, in which case it would be the fifth largest increase since 1943.

According to Brookings economist Douglas Elmendorf, the Obama plan will eliminate income taxes for 10 million Americans. "It's very clear that taxes for lower income Americans will decline under Obama," he said.

It would appear, for all those making more than $250k with accumulation of income as their primary concern, that you would probably be a McCain supporter.

If the information on Obama's tax plan is correct, and this information on household income in the United States is correct, then Obama's plans would adversely affect less than 5 percent of the US population.

The amount of taxes taken from less than 5 percent of the population, as part of Obama's plan, would raise the sum of taxed funds higher than what they have been for decades, but the sum extracted would allow for credits for the other 95 percent, with focus upon relief to 10 million of our lowest earners.

Obama's plan, of course, would affect 100 percent of the players in the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL. I don't believe any of these organizations agreed to minimum salaries below $250,000 in their collective bargaining agreements.

Less Bens for the Athletes = Obama Boo-Urns.