8 thoughts on “Chart of the Day – High Income Individuals Are Hardly Avoiding the Taxman

  1. People should pay more in taxes if they use more of what the taxes pay for.

    I doubt that very many rich require medicaid help or use more ethanol.

    1. Interesting. The other big one is the military…which class stands to benefit the most in this case? Who has to ‘pay’ the most? Might as well follow the class-analysis to it’s logical conclusion…

  2. The chart is useful for the debate on the national debt, but not complete. For example, if we agree that entitlements are the biggest issue then this chart does not address the FICA tax which is the biggest source of revenue for Social Security and Medicare. The FICA tax tends to be regressive and the poor and middle class pay much more of it. BTW – I think it is appropriate that the poor and middle class pay more in FICA taxes so I am not arguing against the system. Just noting that the chart as presented only tells part of the story.

    It’s also not clear to me if this chart addresses capital gains taxes.

    The other thing to keep in mind about this chart is that a lot of the “poor” are people with little income but who must file 1040 forms any way. For example, both of my children (neither of which are “poor”). Another example is about half of the “poor” group are people on Social Security who have to file income tax forms but end up not owing any tax.

    As to what the tax structure “should” look like, my vote would be for the marginal rates in place under Clinton. Didn’t seem to hurt the productivity of the country and made a significant dent in the debt. BTW – I include the middle class in this, not just the “rich”.

  3. How about the fair tax? Instead of punishing production, punish spending. Not that either is morally justified, but if we prefer prudent productive citizens to lazy wasteful ones, that might be a good start. It gets the priorities right.

  4. The question to ask is not who pays the taxes and what percentages they pay. The question to ask is why does the government need the revenue in the 1st place. Its not a revenue or tax problem but a spending problem. Government,on all levels in America,has grown to such an extent that it has become an out of control monster devouring everything in it’s path. Once the Income Tax,which is the 2nd plank to the Communist Manifesto, was put into effect the American people have seen war after war, boondoggle after boondoggle, a pile of debt and a general destruction of our Constitutional Republic. In the end,the productive America which created the greatest standard of living in the world will be gutted and destroyed to the point where we will all be serfs to the government monster. The only answer is to repeal taxes and roll back government spending. I only hope that can be accomplished in my lifetime. But I’m not holding my breath.

  5. As much as I’d like to see a flat or fair tax rather than our current model, and as much as I agree that I’d like those on the left to tell us what they would consider fair, I also think we should use statistics honestly. The table above appears to show one thing when in fact the numbers are the result of many factors.

    Just for fun I used the 2009 data from the IRS and applied a 10% flat tax to all income tax filers. The result was the bottom 48.2% wage earners paid 11.6% of all taxes and the top 0.5% (~730k people) paid 13.5% of all taxes. There’s not enough granularity in the data I have to get to the top 1%, so the next level is the top 2.8% of wage earners paying 25% of all taxes.

    Would this be “fairer”? Obviously that depends on your definition but it would be flatter. That said, no matter how you design the system the top wage earners are going to pay far more in taxes than those at the bottom. In the example above, the top 3% are paying more than twice as much as the bottom 50% (rounding a bit here).

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