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KISS' Gene Simmons' tax tongue wagging is off base

KISS sure knows something about putting on a good rock and roll show, but apparently the band's bassist Gene Simmons doesn't know quite enough about taxes.

In a July 4 interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune, Simmons wagged his famous tongue about, among other things, the joys of being wealthy.

The 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee as a member of KISS, Simmons told the newspaper that even in the band's early days back in the '70s he was doing alright financially.

"I'm duly diligent. I do a better job of balancing my budget than the U.S. government does with its budget. America is in debt for almost $17 trillion. I've never been in debt. … I've always had more money than I spent, which is Rule No. One …."

Tripped up by taxes: Good for Gene. But the hyperbole that works so well on stage tripped him up when it came to talking taxes.

Simmons declared his 30 years as a member of the country's wealthiest 1 percent as fantastic. Why so great? The man who wears the demon face pain on stage explains:

"The 1 percent pays 80 percent of all taxes. Fifty percent of the population of the U.S. pays no taxes. The 1 percent provides all the jobs for everybody else. If the 1 percent didn't exist, there would be chaos and the American economy would drop dead. Try being nice to rich people. I don't remember the last poor person who gave me a job."

Sound <cough> Romney 47 percent <cough> familiar?

That similarity caught the eye of Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post's Fact Checker, who noted that the flamboyant rocker is a tad confused about the U.S. tax system.

When it comes to who does and doesn't pay taxes, Kessler writes:

"Simmons, a staunch Republican, might be surprised to learn that when some people do not pay income taxes, it is often because of policies advocated by Republicans, such as child tax credits and tax benefits for the working poor. President Richard M. Nixon offered an early version of the earned income tax credit, and it was enacted under Gerald R. Ford and expanded under Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. In the 1990s, House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) pushed for the child tax credit — signed into law by Democrat Bill Clinton in 1997 and expanded by George W. Bush in 2004."

Simmons is even more off base, says Kessler, with his assertion that "the 1 percent pays 80 percent of all taxes." A Tax Policy Center study found that the top 1 percent actually pays about 26 percent of all taxes.

Kessler gives Simmons four Pinocchios because "his claims are wildly off-base, especially when talking about 'all taxes.'"

Other KISS interests: Maybe Simmons should stick with music and the Los Angeles Arena Football League team KISS, of which Simmons and bandmate Paul Stanley own a share.

Or, judging from the KISS' dismal record on the indoor field, maybe Simmons should just stick with rocking and rolling all night and partying every day.

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chuck hicks

typical republican

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