Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Do the rich pay their “fair share”?

The answer to this question should start with an agreement on an accepted definition of fair. But those who assert that the rich do not pay their fair share have not provided such a definition.13

Here is how the federal income tax burden was distributed in 2009 (the most recent year for which data are available):14 
So what is a “fair share”? The U.S. tax system is more progressive than that of any other advanced economy. Higher-income workers already pay a substantially disproportionate amount of the income tax relative to their share of income. The top five percent pay 44 percent more in taxes than the bottom 95 percent, while 47 percent of tax filers pay no tax at all. The bottom 50 percent of filers pay only 2.3 percent of taxes, and the bottom quintile gets money back.

Based on these facts, how does one make a case that the rich are not paying their fair share?

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