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Who Pays Federal Taxes

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									Teaching Quantitative Reasoning
         with the News


       PNW-MAA NExT 2010
            Quantitative Literacy
             Is Necessary For:
• Personal welfare and quality of life
        – Health,
        – Safety
        – Financial Planning


• Our collective well being
        – Social decission making
        – Functioning of democratic society

                                                    Carefully lifted from:
                           Achieving Quantitative Literacy by Lynn Steen

        BUT….
• Many educated adults remain functionally
  innumerate
  – This hasn’t changed in 25+ years.
  – There is a noticeable “gap” for minority groups



           More (algebra?), Trig and Calculus
                  Is not the answer!!



                                    Rather,…
We need to give students the tools to
• Think for themselves,
• Ask intelligent questions of experts, and to
• Confront authority confidently
                                      Politely borrowed from
                                 Mathematics and Democracy




                                              How?
Assumption: much of our information comes
  from reading/listening/watching the news.

                      So…

Design a course to develop the power and habit
 of mind to search out quantitative
 information, critique it, reflect upon it, and
 apply it to one's public, personal, and
 professional life.
Q: Can a college level mathematics class be
  designed around the critical analysis of
           newspaper articles?
If “no”, then….Done.
If “yes”, then
     •   How to design the course?
     •   How to get the articles and study questions?
     •   What topics/skills could be covered?
     •   What topics/skills would not be covered?
              1. Look through some newspapers to find
                 articles which deal with quantitative
                 information.
              2. Discuss answers to the above two
                 questions.
             Example 1
     Working with large numbers


         How Big is 1 trillion?
            (or any other large number)
Comparing using ratios, percents, units which
                make sense.
     Example 2
      Tax Rates

Comparing numbers: units
                                                                      Arkansas Democrat-Gazette – July 10, 2003
 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - June30, 2003
                                                                      Way off on his point
 Taxpayer airs his woes
                                                                         Re the letter from Bob Massery of Little Rock on his taxpayer
    Re the letter that Roger Bresnahan of Hot
                                                                      woes: Who taught this man math?
 Springs Village: I’m one of theses people who
                                                                         He says since he make $30,000 a year and pays $5,000 in taxes,
 make less than $30,000 a year. I pay almost $5,000
                                                                      he pays $6 on $1,000, while a guy making $200,000 and paying
 a year in federal income tax.
                                                                      $53,000 in taxes is paying only $3.77 on $1,000.
    He says a person making $200,000 a year pays
                                                                         Let me redo the math for him. He is paying $166.67 per $1,000 in
 $53,000 in federal tax a year. So, my friend, a
                                                                      taxes and the rich guy is paying $265 per $1,000 in taxes. Not only is
 person [making] $30,000, pays $6 on $1,000: a
                                                                      his math way off, he is way off on his point that the rich man pays a
 person making $200,000 pays $3.77 on $1,000.
                                                                      lower tax rate.
    I wish I was one of those unlucky people paying
                                                                         Depending on the size of Massery’s family, he probably is getting
 $53,000 [so] I could also take my family out to eat
 every night and put it on an expense account. Oh,                    most of the tax back as a refund – unless he’s using the same style
                                                                      math on his tax return as he did in his letter.
 woe is me.
                                                                      PHILLIP BASINGER
 BOB MASSERY
                                                                      Springdale
 Little Rock
                                                       Arkansas Democrat-Gazette – July 15, 2003
                                                       Correcting tax figures
                                                           Re the letter from Bob Massery, “Taxpayer airs his woes”: I am sure that Massery’s
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette – July 9, 2003               heart is in the right place, but his math is not.
Taxes confuse everyone                                     He claims that a person making $30,000 a year pays federal taxes of $6 on every
   Re Bob Massery”s letter and his observation         $1,000 of income and that his tax bill is $5,000. He claims that a person making
that he, paying almost $5,000 federal income           $200,000 a year pays federal taxes of $3.77 on every $1,000 of income and his tax bill
tax on $30,000 income, paid $6 per $1,000 and          is $53,000. His implication is that all of this is unfair.
someone else, paying $53,000 on $200,000                   Let’s do the math correctly and see what’s fair. I will use the numbers he provided
income, paid only $3.77 per $1,000: I think his        in his letter. Five thousand dollars of taxes on $30,000 of income is not $6 per $1,000,
numerators and denominators are mixed up. He           it is $166.67 per $1,000. That represents 16.7 percent of that person’s income.
paid $1 tax for every $6 income. The other                 Fifty-three thousand dollars of taxes on $200,000 is not $3.77 per $1,000, it is
person paid $1 tax for every $3.7 income.              $265 per $1,000. That represents 26.5 percent of that person’s income.
   Figuring taxes is enough to confuse any of us,          Fair or unfair? Depends on whom you ask. However, if we are to debate the
regardless of income.                                  relative merits of this or that tax code proposal, let’s at least start with correct
                                                       numbers.
ANN PIERCE
Pine Bluff                                             BILLY HERRINGTON
                                                       Maumelle
               Example 3
                Language

Comparing numbers: percents (numerators and
           denominators) , graphics
Men ages 16 to 24 who were incarcerated in 2006-7
High school dropouts:    ____ %
High school students:    ____
High school graduates:   ____
1 to 3 years of college: ____
College students:        ____
B.A. degree or higher:   ____




Male high school dropouts ages 16 to 24 who were incarcerated in 2006-7
Black:    ____%
Asian:    ____
White: ____
Hispanic: ____
Study Finds High Rate of Imprisonment Among Dropouts
By SAM DILLON
Published: October 8, 2009
On any given day, about one in every 10 young male high school dropouts is in jail or
juvenile detention, compared with one in 35 young male high school graduates, according
to a new study of the effects of dropping out of school in an America where demand for
low-skill workers is plunging.
          Example 4


Comparing numbers: dollars (and
            politics)
                 Example 5



  Comparing numbers: risk (relative,
             absolute)
Personal health: false positives, survival rates v.
                    death rates
                    The Great Prostate Mistake
                        By RICHARD J. ABLIN
                        Published: March 9, 2010


The annual bill for P.S.A. screening is at least $3
billion, with much of it paid for by Medicare and the
Veterans Administration.

       American men have a 16 percent lifetime chance of
       receiving a diagnosis of prostate cancer, but only a 3
       percent chance of dying from it.

                    … testing could detect 3.8 percent of
                    prostate cancers.

                            The results from the American study show that
                            over a period of 7 to 10 years, screening did not
                            reduce the death rate in men 55 and over.

								
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