Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Jonathan Krause: A Failure (to Communicate)

In today's episode of Jonathan Krause Tries to Justify His Existence, everyone's favorite soundboard tweaker tries to show his work for last week's calculation of his own tax burden.

First he throws a bunch of items at his reader, none of which have values attached to then before arriving at the figure that 27.6% of his taxable income goes to taxes. Last week it was 44.5%. Either way -- and this is important -- THERE'S NO WAY TO CONFIRM THIS BECAUSE KRAUSE DOESN'T PROVIDE HIS ANNUAL INCOME.

This is the fundamental problem with talking about one's tax burden publicly: short of posting his tax returns online for all to see, there's simply no way to verify any of his claims; and since what Krause claims is his tax burden one week is different from what he claims is his tax burden the next, well, we just don't have any faith in his ability to get his story straight.

Making matters more complicated is the fact that Krause is an awful communicator. When he made his initial claim that "my wife and I paid 28-percent of gross income in federal taxes and withholdings last year," Krause should have realized that, since there are only four tax brackets -- of which 28% is one -- his readers would have interpreted that number to be a tax bracket and not the finally tally of the voodoo he tried to pass off today. This is no one's fault but Krause's own. Again, I don't even know if this brand new number that he came up with today is federal taxes or the whole thing.

One way for Krause to remedy this is to keep his story straight. Krause's rhetoric last week was apocalyptic -- "44.5% of my income goes to taxes!!!" Now it's more measured? Krause is just back-tracking because someone called him out on his bullshit. Krause needs learn how to communicate more clearly or to stop exaggerating to prey on his audience's worse fears.

We have no expectation of any discussion of Krause's personal tax burden going any further until he publishes his tax returns online ... something that's not likely to happen any time soon. The whole point of trying to determine Krause's tax burden wasn't to do his taxes, but to demonstrate that his concept of his tax burden was grossly exaggerated. After all, this was a guy who brags that he knows the "actual cost of taxes in my life." We thing we did an alright job of showing that he really doesn't have the first clue given what little information we had to work with.

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