Economy, Regs, & Taxes

Wealthy Are Indeed Paying Their 'Fair Share'

Based on leftist rhetoric, the CBO says we should be in taxpayer nirvana.

Nov. 19, 2014

For years, the leftist mantra when it came to taxes was basically “soak the rich.” The statement was always couched in the belief that the wealthy could afford it. But the so-called rich were never paying an amount these do-gooders (who, in a lot of cases, rarely paid income tax because they lived off a family trust fund) determined was the proper tithe to the state. Barack Obama called it the “Buffett Rule,” believing the proper amount the top 1% should be paying is 30 cents on the dollar.

So according to new figures released by the Congressional Budget Office, we should be in taxpayer nirvana – the top 1% now pays 24% of all taxes. Moreover, a further dissection of the numbers to account for government wealth transfers shows that the entire burden of paying for the government falls squarely on the shoulders of the richest one-quarter or so of taxpayers.

Mark J. Perry writes for the American Enterprise Institute, “In fact, the richest 20% of Americans by income aren’t just paying a share of federal taxes that would be considered ‘fair’ – it goes way beyond ‘fair’ – they’re shouldering almost 100% of the entire federal tax burden of transfer payments and all other non-financed government spending.”

Worth pointing out, too, is that the CBO was using 2011 data to determine these figures. Obama’s 2013 tax increases – moving the top 35% bracket back to the pre-Bush tax rate of 39.6%, and the next bracket up to 35% – have increased the marginal rate top brackets pay. And while the Left argues we’ve had much higher tax brackets in previous eras, such as the Jimmy Carter-era 70% bracket that Ronald Reagan eventually reduced to 28% before leaving office, other changes in tax law have eliminated many of the shelters that reduced the effect of these bygone punitive rates. We’re left with the most overly progressive tax system in the industrialized world, despite Democrat claims that wealthy Americans still don’t pay their fair share.

Many of those who fall in the high tax brackets have S corporations or other business entities that create jobs for millions of Americans – as opposed to the trust fund babies who openly root for higher tax rates. At some level, punitive higher rates reduce the incentive to make more money because it’s only going to be taxed away. Remember the promise that only those who earn more than $250,000 would see a tax increase? Many business owners took that seriously.

So now that we have numbers to prove the wealthy are paying more than their fair share, we can expect a tax break to level the playing field, right? Don’t hold your breath, because despite the shellacking the Democrats took in the midterms the class envy card still plays well. Note that four red states voted to increase their minimum wage in the same election Republicans took control of the Senate.

The math is simple: The top 1% may have a lot of money to spend, but there are millions more in the lower classes who will vote for what they think is their self-interest – wealth transfers from those who “can afford it.” And they wonder why they remain impoverished.

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