Please understand your income tax before you complain about it

Half dollarI found this on Daring Fireball but it’s worth passing on to my minute (!) but loyal (?) readership:

Does ABC News understand how income tax works?

I knew this (aren’t I so smart?) but I suspect a lot of people don’t, and if you’re ranting and raving about taxes, or especially about the Obama tax plan, it’s probably worth a refresher. The relevant quote:

In reality, a family earning $255,000 will pay the higher tax rate only on its last $5,001 in income; the first $249,999 will continue to be taxed at the old rate. So intentionally lowering your income from $255,000 to $249,999 is counter-productive; it will result in a lower after-tax income.

In other words, yes, there are tax brackets, and incomes within the different brackets are taxed at different rates. But you can think of it this way: your total income is divided up into segments based on these brackets, and each of those segments is taxed at the rate for that bracket. So trying to reduce your income to get under the wire of a particular tax bracket is fundamentally misguided.