Friday, May 13, 2005

Who Pays Whose Taxes?

October 10, 2003

There is new data for 2001. The share of total income taxes paid by the top 1% fell to 33.89% from 37.42% in 2000. This is mainly because their income share (not just wages) fell from 20.81% to 17.53%. However, their average tax rate actually rose slightly from 27.45% to 27.50%.

*Data covers calendar year 2001, not fiscal year 2001 - and includes all income, not just wages, excluding Social Security

This proves that it was not the tax cut that caused revenues from the rich to fall, but the recession and the stock market crash. In other words, you live by the sword, you die by the sword. If you are going to benefit from the rich paying more taxes, due to progressivity, on the upside, you are going to lose more revenue from these people on the downside. This is a good argument for reducing progressivity.

Think of it this way: less than four dollars out of every $100 paid in income taxes in the United States is paid by someone in the bottom 50% of wage earners. Are the top half millionaires? Noooo, more like "thousandaires." The top 50% were those individuals or couples filing jointly who earned $26,000 and up in 1999. (The top 1% earned $293,000-plus.) Americans who want to are continuing to improve their lives - and those who don't want to, aren't. Here are the wage earners in each category and the percentages they pay:

Top 5% pay 53.25% of all income taxes (Down from 2000 figure: 56.47%). The top 10% pay 64.89% (Down from 2000 figure: 67.33%). The top 25% pay 82.9% (Down from 2000 figure: 84.01%). The top 50% pay 96.03% (Down from 2000 figure: 96.09%). The bottom 50%? They pay a paltry 3.97% of all income taxes. The top 1% is paying more than ten times the federal income taxes than the bottom 50%! And who earns what? The top 1% earns 17.53 (2000: 20.81%) of all income. The top 5% earns 31.99 (2000: 35.30%). The top 10% earns 43.11% (2000: 46.01%); the top 25% earns 65.23% (2000: 67.15%), and the top 50% earns 86.19% (2000: 87.01%) of all the income.

The Rich Earned Their Dough, They Didn't Inherit It (Except Ted Kennedy)

The bottom 50% is paying a tiny bit of the taxes, so you can't give them much of a tax cut by definition. Yet these are the people to whom the Democrats claim to want to give tax cuts. Remember this the next time you hear the "tax cuts for the rich" business. Understand that the so-called rich are about the only ones paying taxes anymore.

I had a conversation with a woman who identified herself as Misty on Wednesday. She claimed to be an accountant, yet she seemed unaware of the Alternative Minimum Tax, which now ensures that everyone pays some taxes. AP reports that the AMT, "designed in 1969 to ensure 155 wealthy people paid some tax," will hit "about 2.6 million of us this year and 36 million by 2010." That's because the tax isn't indexed for inflation! If your salary today would've made you mega-rich in '69, that's how you're taxed.

Misty tried the old line that all wealth is inherited. Not true. John Weicher, as a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank, wrote in his February 13, 1997 Washington Post Op-Ed, "Most of the rich have earned their wealth... Looking at the Fortune 400, quite a few even of the very richest people came from a standing start, while others inherited a small business and turned it into a giant corporation." What's happening here is not that "the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer." The numbers prove it.

I have made an executive decision as the owner and ultimate editor of this website that this table and these numbers stay on this website forever - or until next year's numbers come out. In order to get these facts, you have to see them each and every day. This story, along with a link to the IRS chart, will stay somewhere on the homepage so everyone can see and find these numbers at any time. It's crucial that people get this, so please, share it with a friend now!

Source: Internal Revenue Service, Statistics of Income Division, Unpublished Statistics & .

Study Says Obscure Minimum Tax Will Affect 36 Million by 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) -- An obscure tax originally enacted to prevent the wealthy from escaping income taxes entirely will grow sharply until it affects 36 million increasingly middle-class taxpayers by 2010, private researchers reported Wednesday.

''It is no exaggeration to say it is on the verge of dominating our income tax system and will create major problems for the economy,'' said Leonard Burman, co-director of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. The center is a joint venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution think tanks.

The alternative minimum tax is a highly complicated parallel to the regular income tax system -- a backstop -- designed in 1969 to ensure 155 wealthy people paid some tax, the study found. That number is projected to grow to about 2.6 million this year and 36 million by 2010.

The study is the latest to project problems for a large segment of taxpayers during this decade. The Internal Revenue Service's taxpayer advocate and the Joint Committee on Taxation, which provides tax bill estimates for Congress, have made similar projections.

Effective Federal Tax Rates Under Current Law, 2001 to 2014

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