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Saturday, October 6, 2007

Top 1% Pay More Income Tax Than Bottom 90%

The Tax Foundation has published Summary of Latest Federal Individual Income Tax Data:

New data released by the IRS today offers interesting insights into the distributional spread of the federal income tax burden, new analysis by the Tax Foundation shows. The new data shows that the top-earning 25% of taxpayers (AGI over $62,068) earned 67.5% of the nation's income, but they paid more than four out of every five dollars collected by the federal income tax (86%). The top 1% of taxpayers (AGI over $364,657) earned approximately 21.2% of the nation's income (as defined by AGI), yet paid 39.4% of all federal income taxes. That means the top 1% of tax returns paid about the same amount of federal individual income taxes as the bottom 95% of tax returns.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2007/10/top-1-pay-more-.html

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» What percentile pays what percent of taxes? from Punditry
Paul Caron: The Tax Foundation has published Summary of Latest Federal Individual Income Tax Data: New data released by the IRS today offers interesting insights into the distributional spread of the federal income tax burden, new analysis by the Ta... [Read More]

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» http://instapundit.com/archives2/010293.php from Instapundit.com (v.2)
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Comments

Wow, more evidence of just how unequal the income distribution has become.

Posted by: Anon | Oct 7, 2007 11:19:59 AM

One must remember who is commanding all of this lucre - the Congress, themselves, through their spending habits - while cleverly concealing significant amount of "hidden" tax in higher prices by taxing the income of businesses (Dale Jorgenson put this at an average of 22% of every retail dollars spent). Thus, the "price" (or barrier) to becoming wealthy increases exponentially.

This corrupted tax system (fathered by Marx, and nurtured by certain of those of the political class whose main interest seems to be to have one segment of society purchase and pay for a captive and dependent constituency), requires a revolution to throw off its tyranny inasmuch as you've illuminated the obvious, that we're ending up with "more people riding in the cart than [are] pulling it." Failing to "fess up" to this reality, by those who claim they represent us (because of their addicition to the illusory power and control that giving and taking of tax favors provides) drives deficit spending toward what Dr. Laurence Kotlikoff has termed, an economic meltdown (which, by the way, seems to be approaching a point of no return). Kotlikoff's answer is to scrap the tax code and make visible the true cost of government by paying for it the way that America's working men and women are paid - when something is sold. While most would no doubt say that the likelihood of this happening is remote, it should be noted that a plan for a national sales tax (a/k/a FairTax) has been re-introduced into Congress every year since 1999, and in the current session has a co-sponsorship of 71 members of congress (House / Senate) more than 17x the number who are co-sponsoring the "Flat tax" (which, of course, keeps the tax code, and theIRS, intact for future distortion). Whether the signal will sufficiently pierce the noise remains to be seen.

Posted by: Ian | Oct 7, 2007 1:01:49 PM

What are the numbers as a % of income (rather than absolute dollars?)

Posted by: Loyola 2L | Oct 8, 2007 12:01:51 PM

No matter what the income distribution, no one should have to pay more than 33% of their income. The top bracket should be lowered further, from 35% to 33%.

Posted by: GK | Oct 8, 2007 1:54:14 PM

Ian asks - "What are the numbers as a % of income..."

Why does this matter? The pure point of this factoid is that the government is formed on the backs of the rich. The benefits of government: the common defense, many social programs, scientific research grants resulting in new knowledge, roads and transportation, etc. are shared by all. But they are largely paid for by a relative few.

You may think this fair (because the rich can pay) or not (because the non-rich are freeloading). However, criticizing the successful in America for "not doing their fair share" as Hillary, Obama and Edwards all do is screamingly, obviously wrong. Personally, I think it reasonable to ask the very well to do to contribute more to the common good out of simple Christian ethics. I have no real problem with the figures given.

I do have a problem with the Left's take on all of this though.

The government has grown at an enormous pace. The rich have contributed *trillions* to the social programs so favored by the progressives. And the payback is screaming denunciations by the likes of John Edwards and holier-than-thou lectures by the likes of Obama. What is wrong with this picture?

Posted by: MarkB | Oct 8, 2007 2:38:54 PM

Maybe we should be paying the bottom 75% more (which might happen if we enforced our immigration laws) or do you believe the top 1% is producing 21.2% of this country's products, goods, and services?

Posted by: Ed | Oct 8, 2007 3:04:08 PM

Loyola: Check the last page of the linked PDF.

Posted by: DensityDuck | Oct 8, 2007 3:39:34 PM

I've got a question, though. Say I'm a doctor or a lawyer earning near the top 1% AGI. My competition all earn about the same. And we're likely to demand a certain lifestyle, which means we're all going to want about the same income after taxes.

Don't we all, then, raise our fees until we attain that aftertax income or can't raise them more? So a portion of those taxes are simply being passed on to our clients. Taxpayers on the other end of the spectrum generally have more generic skills to offer, so they generally can't do the same.

I'd like to know if this has been taken into account in these studies of tax distribution, and if not, to what extent it muddies the waters. It might give lie to the whole idea of a progressive tax.

Posted by: scooby | Oct 8, 2007 3:49:58 PM

Markb, since that top 1% own the businesses that create those products, goods, and services: the glaringly simple answer is: yes they do.

Posted by: ogre | Oct 8, 2007 3:53:14 PM

As investors, entrepreneurs and business owners, they probably are producing 21.2% or more of this country's products, goods, and services. It is to them we owe our great economy.

That being said, the tax as is now stands is much too progressive. Everyone who earns an income needs to be a part of the system; needs to feel they have a stake in the action. And I mean that in a positive way. If you're recieveing an entitlement, that is not a postitive means of engagement and should be discouraged except for exreme cases.

Paying taxes out of pocket (or through deductions from your paycheck) IS a direct link to the actions of our government--for better or worse. Such linkage should make each paycheck recepient care more about just how our elected officials spend our money.

Posted by: joated | Oct 8, 2007 3:59:38 PM

"...or do you believe the top 1% is producing 21.2% of this country's products, goods, and services?"

Quite a bit more than that, probably. Remember, we aren't talking about everyone digging holes with shovels. Some of the folks build bigger and better shovels, organize workers and machines into more efficient working units, and devise better hole-digging techniques and ways of getting holes dug where your average shoveler would never be able to manage it.

This is the way that average holes-dug-per-labor-hour goes up, and everyone benefits. The folks who innovate, manage, and organize like this deserve to get more than those who just keep sticking their shovels into the ground. And while the non-innovating shovelers may get pissed about seeing these folks getting wealthy, they are, through essentially ZERO effort of their own, reaping benefits, though more slowly, of the average rise in hole-digging efficiency.

Which is why I'm better off than my grandpa was, in terms of standard of living, even though he was a smart and hard-working dude, and I'm comparatively lazy. My paltry efforts today achieve more than his harder efforts fifty years ago, because the systems around me maximize the effect of my labor to a greater degree than was possible way back when.

I didn't design those systems, but I benefit from their existence. Is it so horrible to contemplate allowing those who did design and implement those systems to get wealthy doing so? In fact, should I not encourage more people to do the same thing, so that I can reap still more unearned benefits?

Put another way: a man comes up to you and says, "I've worked out a deal with space alien, after learning his language. He needs two hole-diggers, and will magically triple our hole-digging efforts. Dig with me today; we'll each dig one hole, which the space alien will make into three each, of which you will give me one, so that I'll get four and you'll get two for every hole we dig. What do you say?"

Do you say, "Hellz, no! It's three each or nothin'." Or do you say, "Two holes for each one I dig? I'm so in!"

Bear in mind that if you hold out for three, someone else probably won't. Multiply this situation by, oh, eleventy million and we come to the present day, where some folks are really cashing in, and others are better off than they have ever been but to a lesser degree and certainly are poorer if they only compare themselves to the richest folks, and finally there are a small few who have gotten stuck on bargaining strategy one (we call them socialists) and are just perpetually disappointed and bitter.

Long polemic short: yes, they contribute more, and should get more, and we should encourage them and ride their greedy, energetic backs all the way.

Now get off my lawn.

Posted by: John | Oct 8, 2007 4:08:20 PM

The linked PDF quite clearly states that the top 1% of payers pay 23.13% of their AGI, while the bottom 50% of payers pay 2.98% of theirs.

I understand that this calculation uses Adjusted Gross Income and that people will choose to slice and dice the data to suit their desired result, but it seems pretty obvious that the rich are pulling their weight.

A hypothetical for discussion: if a person creates a whole pile of wealth, through skill, creativity, hard work, and/or blind luck, how much of that created wealth should that person be allowed to keep? How much should he share with his employees? How much should he share with the State? Are these numbers changed if the person creates a small pile of wealth as opposed to a mountain?

Posted by: Squid | Oct 8, 2007 4:19:42 PM

I have never been offered a job by a poor man or woman.

Posted by: tyree | Oct 8, 2007 4:24:54 PM

So, someone working hard and making $50,000 a year is a "freeloader." You people have a lot of nerve. Maybe taxes aren't progressive enough.

Posted by: CT | Oct 8, 2007 4:32:22 PM

"I've got a question, though. Say I'm a doctor or a lawyer earning near the top 1% AGI. My competition all earn about the same. And we're likely to demand a certain lifestyle, which means we're all going to want about the same income after taxes.

Don't we all, then, raise our fees until we attain that aftertax income or can't raise them more?"

Um, no, actually. Medical reimbursement is set by the government through the Medicare system, which is followed for the most part by private payers as well. So I can charge $10,000 for a prcoedure, but if Medicare says it's worth $20, I get $20.

And I don't "demand" a certain lifestyle; but if I busted my hump for 15 years to attain a level of expertise in a field requiring high skill, I do think I should be able to keep some of the fruits of that labor. And I don't think I should be called selfish for objecting to having a large chunk of money taken away by threat of force.

Posted by: orthodoc | Oct 8, 2007 4:41:00 PM

"The linked PDF quite clearly states that the top 1% of payers pay 23.13% of their AGI, while the bottom 50% of payers pay 2.98% of theirs."

What do the bottom 99% pay?

Posted by: anon | Oct 8, 2007 4:50:52 PM

It's dishonest to even begin a discussion such as this without including the burden of Social Security taxes. Any progressivity disappears.

Posted by: Dave | Oct 8, 2007 4:57:32 PM

...why do conservatives pretend that the federal income tax is the only tax anyone pays?

Posted by: Perek Rince | Oct 8, 2007 5:11:42 PM

They didn't include FICA (Social Security), right? FICA takes a flat percent of earnings up to about 90k, and should be flat all the way up. Sure, "You get that back someday", but it's still a tax because you have to pay it now, and other taxes presumably offer some benefit. (Not only that, but some of the FICA is being used for the general fund, and not likely to be paid back anyway.) Then there's all the other kinds of taxes, and one thing most people don't think of (but an economist has to): the expansion of the fiat money supply. That brings more buying power to the wealthy than a hard currency system, so the current system of monetization of debt etc. is in effect a regressive tax on the rest of us.

Posted by: Neil' | Oct 8, 2007 5:52:27 PM

Kevin Drum thinks this viewing only 37% of the total tax bite is so stupid, it does not deserve much of a response. But Kevin's readers leave lots of good comments.

Posted by: pgl | Oct 8, 2007 5:56:11 PM

Kevin Drum has the rebuttal here

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2007_10/012212.php

Worth going and seeing the graph, I would say.

Posted by: JC | Oct 8, 2007 6:07:34 PM

I'd like the location of the IRS code (law) that taxes
the labor of american citizens. Which book is it located in.
Bueler?
Otherwise we're no more than indentured/bonded servants
to the federal government that was developed to be our
servant, not our master.

Posted by: nbpundit | Oct 8, 2007 6:22:13 PM

"I've got a question, though. Say I'm a doctor or a lawyer earning near the top 1% AGI. My competition all earn about the same. And we're likely to demand a certain lifestyle, which means we're all going to want about the same income after taxes.

Don't we all, then, raise our fees until we attain that aftertax income or can't raise them more?"

Um, no, actually. Medical reimbursement is set by the government through the Medicare system, which is followed for the most part by private payers as well. So I can charge $10,000 for a prcoedure, but if Medicare says it's worth $20, I get $20.

And I don't "demand" a certain lifestyle; but if I busted my hump for 15 years to attain a level of expertise in a field requiring high skill, I do think I should be able to keep some of the fruits of that labor. And I don't think I should be called selfish for objecting to having a large chunk of money taken away by threat of force.

Posted by: orthodoc | Oct 8, 2007 6:36:52 PM

This study leaves out social security and medicare taxes. These programs make up 40% of the federal budget. If you look at income+SS+medicare taxes the disparity isn't nearly as large.

Posted by: dav | Oct 8, 2007 6:44:10 PM

They didn't include FICA (Social Security), right? FICA takes a flat percent of earnings up to about 90k, and should be flat all the way up. Sure, "You get that back someday", but it's still a tax because you have to pay it now, and other taxes presumably offer some benefit. (Not only that, but some of the FICA is being used for the general fund, and not likely to be paid back anyway.) Then there's all the other kinds of taxes, and one thing most people don't think of (but an economist has to): the expansion of the fiat money supply. That brings more buying power to the wealthy than a hard currency system, so the current system of monetization of debt etc. is in effect a regressive tax on the rest of us.

Posted by: Neil' | Oct 8, 2007 7:30:50 PM

Hey genius, guess what. Not all taxes are income taxes! Amazing, isn't it!?!
In fact, when you include all taxes, the overall liability is only mildly progressive! So stop with the conservative talking points, and do so truthful analysis for a change, okay?
For example: For individuals and families in the lowest fifth, with an average income of $7,946 (including just $25 in dividends), the cumulative tax rate was 18 percent. For the top fifth, with an average income of $116,666 (including $1,188 in dividends), the rate was 19 percent.
Source: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F06EFD61230F932A15752C0A9659C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all

Posted by: John | Oct 8, 2007 8:07:50 PM

This reminds of a quote by the great American author Mark Twain - "There are lies, damned lies and statistics." First off the #1 tax most people pay is FICA not Income Tax, which is capped at the first 90,000. So a Visual Basic programmer earning 90,000 a year as a contractor is paying twice the amount Bill Gates is as an employee of MS. Really progressive? Secondly, much of actual income the top 1% make isn't taxed as income, instead it is taxed at lower rates for dividends and capital gains. What we have in this country is reverse Robin Hood Socialism, not Austrian Economics.

Posted by: Jmaximus | Oct 8, 2007 8:43:45 PM

federal individual income taxes != all taxes

Posted by: jefff | Oct 8, 2007 8:47:08 PM

FICA was not legislated and is not thought of as a tax, although it is collected alongside income taxes. FICA is something you pay, are credited with and get back when you retire, like a pension. If you raise the limit from ~$90,000 then you must raise the benefits for high earners- at least if you're principled you must.

Of course sales tax & government fees are regressive, so its true income tax progressivity is not the whole story.

Posted by: guy in the veal calf office | Oct 8, 2007 9:38:41 PM

How is that calculated?

Does that include all taxes? federal, state, local, real estate, sales tax, etc?

Posted by: Hudson Valley | Oct 8, 2007 9:48:09 PM

Why was my comment changed? I never wrote "federal individual income taxes != all taxes" I wrote "This reminds of a quote by the great American author Mark Twain - "There are lies, damned lies and statistics." First off the #1 tax most people pay is FICA not Income Tax, which is capped at the first 90,000. So a Visual Basic programmer earning 90,000 a year as a contractor is paying twice the amount Bill Gates is as an employee of MS. Really progressive? Secondly, much of actual income the top 1% make isn't taxed as income, instead it is taxed at lower rates for dividends and capital gains. What we have in this country is reverse Robin Hood Socialism, not Austrian Economics."

Posted by: Jmaximus | Oct 8, 2007 9:57:45 PM

I am amazed at the ignorance of some of the commenter's here! Social Security is not a tax, at least not according to the Democrats. It is an insurance policy and what your paying is an annuity, unless they are lying and it is a tax.
In which case the top 1% still pay more than you do in absolute terms and as a percentage. Let see the top 1% is largely business owners and professionals whose practices are almost always businesses as well. So not only do they pay the 6.2% S.S tax as employees of the firm but they pay the employer matching portion as well for themselves and their other employees. They also pay the Medicare tax as well (1.45%) as employee and employer on 100% of the salary with no limits for themselves and all their employees. Plus your unemployment and workers compensation premium. And your health insurance and other benefits to the extent they offer them. The benefits employees get but are not taxed on.
So business owners always pay more in all taxes than the staff even if the business is losing money and does not pay income tax. It is rather obvious on an S corp. but the principle is still the same on a publicly held C corp.

There are only two kinds of tax payers: net payers and net consumers. Any business owner or professional that is in the top 1% can easily do without Social Security and Medicare.However there is no opt out option. So to the guy who said no one earing 50 grand a year is a free rider; guess what you probably are. Especially if you take any tax deductions. Think not? Divide the federal budget in to a per capita figure. Compare that figure to all the federal taxes you pay and you are coming up short. And that is not adjusting for deductions and direct cash or in kind benefits that you may be getting or if your family income is 50k and you are claiming dependents as well, in which case there can be no doubt to a metaphysical certainty that you're a free loader. Please write the check for the shortage ASAP. When your total Federal net tax contributions are in the six figures or more then you can talk. Until please restrain yourself from making stupid
utterances and be greatfull that the top 1% are covering your debt.

As for progressive taxes, that is an immoral Marxist canard. What it is, is just pragmatic greed masquerading as a virtue. In our theory of government, everyone benefits equally so why should those in the top pay more for the same services and benefits that the bottom get? There no special lanes on the interstate highways for the top 1%. The FBI doesn't provide them with special protection and neither does the Army. And so on. In just about every other area everyone pays the same price, top or bottom for the same item. The supermarket charges all comers the same price. So does the gas station and the corner retailer. The top pay more because they can be forced to pay more and for no other real reason than that so let's keep the sanctimony down to the minimum.

Posted by: cubanbob | Oct 8, 2007 11:45:56 PM

I remember when President Bush (current) was pushing for Social Security reform. All we heard were lots of noise about why all the various alternatives wouldn't work. I then saw him make a speech on national television where, among his suggestions, was the removal of the "upper limit" so that all earned income would be subject to the tax. I clearly remember when that particular item was mentioned, he had a very slight grin.... I think he knew two things. The first that a change like that would improve the finanacial position of social security considerably. Second, that it would go nowhere.

That particular suggestion was met by deafening silence from BOTH sides of the aisle.

Posted by: Jim N | Oct 9, 2007 8:28:06 AM

I think that it only makes sense that the top 1% pays as much in taxes as the lower 95%. "Why?", you may ask. Well I would like to see the percentage of their incomes paid in taxes versus the lower echelon. Also how many of the top 1% is well over the $360,000 annual income mark. I like the spin on the statement. Of course a person making 1 million dollars per year is going to pay more in taxes, even if they pay only a 1/10 of what a person making 30,000 a year would pay.

It's a ridiculous statement made to afford the rich another tax break. put a flat tax out there, get rid of the social ssecurity cap at 90K and we'll be able to fix the federal budget in no time at all. It might help if we weren't fighting this ridiculous war either. Where in the hell are the fiscal conservativeswaving their fist in outrage at this?

Posted by: Dana | Oct 10, 2007 9:42:02 AM

Excuse me, 25% of the people get 67% of the wealth. That bothers me. And the top 1% have 21%. That really bothers me; nobody should have that large a share of the pie. But let's get back to the subject of the taxes they pay. Most in that top 1% were born into privilege to one extent or another. Even the ones who reflect the Horatio Algier story have gotten one heck of a lot from this country, and from the sweat of the many workers who continue to have little. The richer you are, the larger apportionment of taxes you can afford without actually suffering things like the fear of losing your home, and greater income taxes have certainly not prevented the truly rich from occupying large mansions and driving (or even collecting) fancy sports cars.

When you're truly rich, your larger percentage of taxes is annoying, and causes you beat your fists against your leather chair and cry "Boo hoo, unfair, boo hoo". When you're poor, your smaller percentage of taxes is nevertheless downright scary if you end up owing at the end of the year, and even while your taxes are being withheld, that's one step closer to homelessness, even though you may well be working overtime.

The top 1%, from the look of your percentages, is paying about twice their "fair share" of taxes in terms of percentages. So what? They're making twenty times as much a year, not to mention everything they've already accumulated and inherited.

Let's be honest. Taxes suck for everybody. If we want them lower, we have to stop paying for pork barrel programs, particularly the largest pork program of all, the Iraq War. Because if you want to keep all that spending AND have the lower 75% percent of the income population pay for more of it, we're probably going to find ourselves with an uprising of newly homeless people on our hands.

Robin Hood robbed from the rich to give to the poor. The Federal Government robs from the rich AND from the poor to give to the pork. The fact that they rob more from the rich than from the poor reflects two basic principles, one, that you cannot squeeze blood from a turnip, and two, that the horror stories caused by attempting to do so can generate reams of negative publicity.

Oh, boo hoo, the poor are so coddled compared to the rich, think I'll go for a ride in my Lamborghini to make myself feel better... Oh, I forgot, I have a six year old Mitsubishi with a dent in it. That I'm still paying for. Oh well. I'll just close my eyes and look forward to the day when I am forced to pay disproportionately large taxes, hopefully twice as large a percentage as everyone else!

Posted by: ravingmoderate.com | Oct 15, 2007 11:27:19 PM

This whole argument that it's unfair to have the top 1% paying 1+x% of taxes is a canard. Even under a flat income tax, if the top 1% of earners are making 20% of the nation's income, they'll pay 20% of the nation's income taxes. The only way to have each 1% of earners pay 1% of taxes is to institute a head tax, and I don't know anyone who thinks that would be fair or good for the economy. And if you think the wealthy ought to pay less, then guess who's going to have to pay more.

As for the idea that a progressive system is unfair: I don't know anyone who really believes in a flat tax either. All income tax proposals invoke an exemption for the first x-thousand dollars of income. That creates a two-tier system: zero up to the exemption, and some rate thereafter. The justification is that it's unfair to tax people who can barely feed themselves on their income.

But if that's true, why is it fair to tax each dollar above the threshold the same way? Isn't that first dollar of income above the threshold far more painful for a poor person to pay tax on than someone who is making far above that threshold? Why not ease into the "full" rate? And there's your full-fledged progressive system.

We have the third lowest tax revenues as a percentage of GNP among industrialized countries. We should stop whining and realize we're paying the minimum necessary to maintain our society, flawed as it is. And if the wealthy are going to pay less, guess who's going to have to pay more.

Posted by: Daniel | Oct 22, 2007 11:55:20 PM


I work at a hedge fund that was once 100% in the US, and now 30% of the traders have chosen to ex-patriate and become citizens of other countries for tax reasons. If you are in the top 1%, you really have options, and have to ask yourself if this country is worth the fee you pay. Many countries will accept you with open arms and no or lower income taxes.

So if the top 5% that pay half the taxes leave, what's the new 'fair share' of everyone else's taxes?

What made this country so wealthy was capitalism which provides the incentive for hard work. How did we win the the cold war, and now Russia is more capitalistic than we are?

Even if you do think the top arent paying their fair share, consider the unintended consequences.

Posted by: captainAl | Feb 17, 2008 2:54:16 AM

As a member of the working class, I'd like offer all billionaires the opportunity to exchange jobs and bank accounts if they feel they are unfairly taxed and missing out on the free ride that the rest of us enjoy. I can't promise you will qualify for the earned income tax credit; nonetheless, you can experience the warm feeling I get after making others rich through the work I do and the bills I pay. After the switchover, I can cover your share of the Federal Government's expenses just like you currently do for me. Your assets will then be protected by the US government through military power, occasional bailouts, and countless other avenues for free. Well, maybe not your assets. I don't really have any. But your way of life will be protected. Guest workers will probably keep your wages in check so don't worry about jumpin' into a higher tax bracket. Inflation is really nothing to worry about either; dollar stores can be found on every corner these days. So, hey, I recognize my freeloader status and I am ready to become a more responsible tax-paying citizen. I'll assume the burden that comes with being filthy rich; you know, paying for this great country and everything. I wouldn't expect you to do that. Ya can't get blood out of a turnip. I mean, like, I can't control sales taxes or real-estate taxes or gas taxes or tollbooth fees or whatever; nonetheless, I'll go the extra mile and promise not to make you pay for political influence.

Posted by: Little Sue | Aug 3, 2008 4:10:09 PM

Don't forget, Cap'n Al, you also get to experience all of the derision and scorn from those who reap the benefits of your hard work and intelligence. But I guess nobody who makes a lot of money actually works exceptionally hard or is more intelligent, in your accounting of things. No. None of them started from where you did and made it... couldn't be. Doesn't fit in your world of ideas. I have a feeling Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, etc. are pretty smart. Maybe, just maybe, they are smarter than you are and honestly achieved their success. Hmmmm.

To all of you who don't think the tax system is progressive and the rich get away with murder, take a look at the inheritence tax. Add that to your calculations and see where you end up.

I have no problem with charity. What I do have a problem with is forced charity. And, to top it off, the government is undoubtedly the least efficient provider of charitable aid. Thieves.

Posted by: Voice of Reason | Oct 4, 2008 9:51:27 PM

My wife and I both work. We decided to not have children and focus on our careers. We, like many others, have worked hard to prosper. We have paid for college degrees, worked long hours for promotions, etc. Since we don't have kids we get penalized at the end of the year even though on our W4 we mark 0 dependants and take out at single rate. This is the most that can be withheld from your check without adding additional amounts. With 0 dependants we still owe Uncle Sam 4k -6k additional each year! All because we have been able to work hard and prosper.

Let’s also take into account that everything you buy has taxes. Sell a car that you used part of the year and guess what you have to pay taxes on it. I mean I am all for paying taxes as long as it is fair. Should be a flat rate and everyone should pay it regardless of income. Don't penalize the folks that bust their butts for the American dream.

Posted by: KYManTaxedTooMuch | Oct 30, 2008 1:14:19 PM

One thing nobody seems to mention - There is a huge difference between "the Rich" and "High Earners". High earners are WORKING people who earn more by working and earning income- the big fat vein tho govt is tapping. The RICH are the Bill Gates and the George Soros and Barbara Strisands and Warren Buffets of the world. When is the last time Bill Gates got a w-2? You think Berkshire Hathaway sends Warrens a W-2 also, so he can pay his fair share too? I th8ink not - The Rich will keep their wealth, the working people will who are doing the most to support the ecomony and the Gov't's spending will pay.

Posted by: Phil NY | Oct 31, 2008 4:09:20 PM