Cheerleaders for grand fortune conveniently ignore all context when they trumpet the statistics on the share of federal income taxes that rich people pay.
Is America’s tax code “unfair” to America’s rich? The rich — and our elected leaders who cater to them — desperately want us to believe that deep pockets pay far more in taxes than their “fair share.” And their evidence? One simple stat: The richest 1 percent of Americans currently pay about 40 percent of the income tax revenue the IRS collects.
This same 1 percent collects 20.6 percent of the nation’s income.
For the wealthy and their cheerleaders, case closed. The rich, they argue, are doing the rest of us a favor. They deserve a break. More specifically, they deserve the extravagantly generous break the GOP tax “reform” bills now pending in Congress would if enacted deliver.
But let’s not close this case just yet. Let’s take a moment to contemplate why we have these particular numbers and what they really mean.