"Tax Breaks For The Rich!"

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on April 7, 2009

Anytime any Republican tries to lower the tax burden, we hear cries that the effort is made solely and exclusively on behalf of the rich friends of Republicans. It’s “trickle-down economics” this, and “the rich aren’t paying their fair share” that, and so much for anything resembling honest and sober analysis once class warfare gets thrown into the picture.

Barack Obama has not yet done anything to the tax structure, so we are still living with George W. Bush’s tax system. Here is what Douglas Elmendorf, the head of the Congressional Budget Office, has to say about the tax structure:

  • The overall federal tax system is progressive—that is, effective tax rates generally rise with income. Households in the bottom fifth of the income distribution paid 4.3 percent of their income in federal taxes, while the middle quintile paid 14.2 percent, and the highest quintile paid 25.8 percent. Average rates continued to rise within the top quintile, with the top 1 percent facing an effective rate of 31.2 percent.
  • Higher-income groups pay a disproportionate share of federal taxes because they earn a disproportionate share of pretax income and because effective tax rates rise with income. In 2006, the highest quintile earned 55.7 percent of pretax income and paid 69.3 percent of federal taxes, while the top 1 percent of households earned 18.8 percent of income and paid 28.3 percent of taxes. In all other quintiles, the share of federal taxes was less than the income share. The bottom quintile earned 3.9 percent of income and paid 0.8 percent of taxes, while the middle quintile earned 13.2 percent of income and paid 9.1 percent of taxes.
  • So much then for the claims that the rich do not pay and have not paid their “fair share” under the Bush tax system. They pay that, and then some. Any chance the class warriors could take a break from waving the bloody shirt and notice?

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