Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Americans Don't Undersand Taxation

Given the complexity of our tax code, the failure of our government to simplify the tax code or replace it with a system like the Fair Tax it isn't surprising that most tax payers don't know who pays the bulk of the taxes in the United States - confusion and sound bites are a politicians friend.

Check out this exert from a recent Wall Street Journal article citing research from the Tax Policy Center:

"As it happens, the top fifth of earners currently pay 67% of all federal taxes -- including not just income taxes, but payroll taxes, corporate taxes and death taxes. The top 1% of earners pay 26% of all federal taxes.

If the McCain proposal were passed, the top fifth would actually pay a greater share of total federal taxes and the top 1%'s share would decline by only 0.3%. In other words, high earners carry the vast majority of the federal tax burden and, despite what the media portrays as a shift from Scandinavian egalitarianism to Latin American inequity, would continue to do so under Mr. McCain's plan.

The fact that high earners pay the vast majority of all federal taxes will come as a surprise to most Americans, who believe the middle class bears the tax burden while the rich get off scot free. A 2007 Gallup poll found that 66% of Americans believe upper-income people pay too little federal income taxes. Media reports play into these beliefs by focusing on how the candidates' plans would change the tax code, not on what the tax code would look like after those changes took place."

I knew that the top 5th of earners in the United States paid the vast majority of federal taxes and that the top 1% of all income earners paid a large portion of federal taxes, but I did not know the numbers.

So much for the evil rich who aren't paying their fair share.

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