Taxes, fair share, and 1 percenters

Pieter Brueghel the Younger, "Paying the Tax Collector" Oil on panel.
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By many estimates, roughly half of the American population doesn’t pay taxes. However, the left’s mantra is that the rich need to pay their fair share, which they claim is more than the rich are now paying. So, just how much in taxes do the top 1 percent pay and how much do they earn?

Taxes: actual facts

FactCheck.org cites the 2007 CBO report and says:

The top 1 percent in 2005 were those households with income of at least $307,500, and they got 18.1 percent of all “comprehensive” income, which includes all cash income plus the cash value of such benefits as Medicare and food stamps.

As for taxes, CBO calculates that the top 1 percent paid 27.6 percent of all federal taxes, including:

  • 38.8 percent of federal individual income taxes
  • 4.0 percent of federal social insurance taxes (Social Security and Medicare)
  • 58.6 percent of corporate income taxes (indirectly, through stock ownership)
  • 5.5 percent of federal excise taxes (on such things as gasoline, tobacco, alcoholic beverages and telephones.)

Share of total Federal taxes paid by the top 1 percent of earners

Share of total Federal taxes paid by the top 1 percent of earners, 1979-2005. Source: FactCheck/Congressional Budget Office

To sum up, the top 1 percent earning at least $307,500 annually pay 38.8 percent of federal individual income taxes, 4.0 percent of Social Security and Medicare, 58.6 percent of corporate income taxes, and 5.5 percent of federal excise taxes. That’s a lot of taxes.

BUT…approximately half of our American citizens do not pay any tax at all. Is this fair? The left would say it is. They would further argue that the rich need to pay more, since they have more.

Well, I don’t think our tax system that doesn’t require half of our citizens to contribute is fair. I would argue that the half that doesn’t pay taxes should. No, I don’t think they should be over-burdened, but they should pay their fair share – whatever that may be – and I can assure you that it’s not zero!