Please visit my other blog and my NEW discussion blog at

Monday, August 3, 2009

Check please!

This is one that has been brewing in me for a while. You can hardly hear a discussion or debate about taxes nowadays without hearing someone talking about taxing the rich. Our problems would be over if we could just get those rich people to pay their taxes - right? I have done some research on who does and does not pay taxes in the U.S. Here are the results: I just saw this headline relating to 2007: Top 1% of income earners pay 40.4% of taxes. You got that? For the tax year of 2007 - the top 1% of taxpayers paid over 40% of the total income taxes. FYI - that is more than the lower 95% paid! 1% of the population paid more than 95% of the population. (the other roughly 20% of taxes were paid by the 4% from 95% - 99%. Now, these folks did earn over 22% of the income. (they are the highest 1% after all) But, even making 22.8% of the income, you wouldn't think would require them to pay over 40% of the taxes, would you? (another tidbit - to reach this top 1% level, you have to be a Warren Buffett or Bill Gates - right? Not really, the average income for the top 1% was $410,000 - a lot of money, but not millions) Now for some years that I have detailed figures for: (if you are still there) In 2005 top 1% - made 16.6% of the income - paid 33.7% of the taxes top 5% - made 31% of the income - paid 54.1% of the taxes top 10% - made 42.1% of the income - paid 65.8% of the taxes top 25% - made 64.7% of the income - paid 83.6% of the taxes top 50% - made 86.1% of the income - paid 96.4% of the taxes bottom 50% - made 13.9% of the income - paid 3.6% of the taxes Now, there are a lot of wealth distribution questions that can be raised by those figures, but that is not the point of this post. (in a true capatalistic market - it should not be the point of any discussion, but I digress) Another discussion that is made is how the Bush tax cuts gave breaks to the wealthy. These figures for 1995 (Clinton era - pre Bush) may surprise you: top 1% - made 14.6% of the income - paid 30.3% of the taxes top 5% - made 28.3% of the income - paid 48.9% of the taxes top 10% - made 40.8% of the income - paid 60.8% of the taxes top 25% - made 64.4% of the income - paid 80.4% of the taxes top 50% - made 85.5% of the income - paid 95.4% of the taxes bottom 50% - made 14.5% of the income - paid 4.6% of the taxes Oddly similar, huh? But this was BEFORE the rich got their tax cuts - how could that be? If any of you are still there - I may be the only one that finds this stuff interesting - here's more: I have heard the argument = "that is just income taxes, the rich don't pay income taxes; they get tax breaks" Here are figures for ALL taxes (sales, SS, captial gains, etc): top 1% - pay 28% of ALL taxes top 25% - pay 69% of ALL taxes (sorry, I did not write a year, but looking above it wouldn't have changed much anyway) Now, back to the tax cuts for the rich that let them off the hook - In 1980 the top tax rate was 70%. The top 5% of income earners paid 37% of taxes. compare that to the 2005 numbers where the tax rate was less than half of that! Regan cut the top rate to 28% in the 80s. Tax revenues WENT UP!! In 1981 the total income taxes collected were $517 billion (top rate 70%). In 1990, with the top tax rate at 28%, the taxes collected were $1.03 trillion. Almost a double tax revenue with over a 50% tax CUT. Lowering taxes increases revenue - every time it has been done, that has been the results. Raising taxes ultimately LOWERS revenue. That is why you should be VERY afraid of all the tax increases that are being discussed at the national and state levels. Now some final thoughts for you to remember - 1) the rich DO pay their share of taxes, and then some 2) corporations and business do NOT pay taxes - their customers and employees do 3) there is NO government money - just borrowed money or your tax dollars 4) borrowing your way to prosperity is not possible - neither is taxing your way there Discussions? fyi - except for the 2007 figures which are from a news story,the tax numbers are from the IRS website - you have to dig around a LOT - but they are there