25 Responses

  1. HenryH says:

    I think you have the percentages swapped in the two numbered paragraphs. 16.1 is 20% of 81 while 19.5 is 2% of 1,000.

    • j carlton says:

      That is correct – the top 400 paid about 19
      % of their income in tax, the bottom 50% paid less than 2% in tax. Seems to me that everyone should pay something… and, the top 400 could pay more – it is the 1954 code as amended that is the problem here… Overhaul is way overdue!!!

  2. Joseph Seher says:

    There seems to be an arithmetic error:
    1. If the top 400 taxpayers paid $16.1 billion on $81 billion of income, their tax rate is 20% – not 2% as reported in Note 1, above.
    2. If the bottom 50% of taxpayers paid $19.5 billion in taxes on $1.05 trillion of income, their tax rate is about 2% – not 20% as reported in Note 2, above.

    While the numbers were transposed, the point remains that the wealthy are paying their fair share of tax.

  3. Erik says:

    While your analysis may be correct, your bottom line lacks a shred of analysis for this claim: “so that we can all send them “Thank You” letters to express our gratitude for shouldering such a disproportionate share of our collective tax burden.”

    If you want to make this claim, then you should define what a “proportionate” share should look like? Did the top 400 payers potentially benefit from free trade liberalization laws that disproportionately affected the bottom 50%? Did the top 400 payers potentially engage in rent seeking activities that secured a portion of that income that made the economy less competitive? Perhaps the top 400 payers are potentially underpaying their true tax burden through tax shelters and other strategies? These questions may (or may not) lead to answers of what is proportionate or (dis) proportionate; however, by not choosing to ask any of them- your conclusion is essentially worthless.

  4. MountainHome says:

    “…dismiss any notion of the rich not paying their fair share of taxes.” This is true and yet our politicians need to have someone to point their finger to so the blame does not fall on their shoulders. Hitler and Stalin had their enemies for the people to hate and now it’s the rich.

    It’s frustrating so I keep telling friends to just read a book out that’s a thriller only because it’s of real events happening nowadays.


    Ultimately, the people do have to take a stand against the political lies and be shaking hands and not shaking fists at each other so all can unite by finding common ground. This avoids the divide and conquer the people by corrupt politicians.

  5. Moran b eeghuzzar, King Polack says:

    Anybody ever hear of a progressive tax system? That asshole in California with his Prop 13 is responsible for the degrading of America. He is a hero to us anti-Americans, him, Benedict Arnold, the Rosenbergs, all neo-cons,, AEI, etc.

  6. Kyle says:

    If the top 400 taxpayers have more wealth than the bottom 50% of Americans, why shouldn’t they pay the same (or more) taxes? Without comparing the income/wealth of the two groups, your point is misleading at best (though really, it’s more worthless than anything else).


  7. uwp says:

    And that first group has over 160 million per person after taxes, while the second has just under 15k. Yes, obviously we need to tax the filthy poors more. Those lucky duckies!

    If you include Payroll/SS/Med it woud look even worse.

  8. John Chrystal says:

    Too bad more of those 400 richest folks are killing their own golden goose!

  9. dave morris says:

    Um, if the top federal rate is 35%, how come these 400 free-loaders paid only 20%? Nearly all their income should have fallen into the top bracket. Sounds like a good case for closing some loopholes.

    • Shea says:

      The capital gains tax (for money made off stocks and bonds, etc.) is only 15%. Many of these people also reduce their tax liability by donating to charity. You can be almost certain that if you’re making $50 million a year it’s not coming from your hourly paying job, to which the 35% tax rate applies.

      • Corey says:

        Shea just explained why Obama’s buffet rule wouldn’t even hit buffet.

        Its all a con to tax the piss out of small business…. and who is Warren Buffet’s biggest competitors?? That’s right, small mom and pop businesses.

        Part of the tax cuts of 2002/2003 was to allow small business owners to claim their business taxes as personal income to escape the impossibly high corporate tax rate…. Paying the 34% is a lot better than paying 39%

        But thats not good enough for Obama and democrats, they want even MORE money from small business owners, and the Buffet rule is what they came up with.

        They know the majority of their voters don’t know the difference between a capital gains and an income, so they play off their ignorance to gain the power to steal from small businesses while claiming they are only taxing the super wealthy.

  10. Mary says:

    So you are saying that 400 individuals paid as much in taxes as the bottom 50%…the math simply doesn’t work. In 2009 there were 144,103,000 individual tax returns filed. OK, 50% of 144,103,000 would be 72,052,000- so there is the bottom 50%. You’ve compared the tax filings of 72,052,000 individuals to 400 individuals, —what happened to the other 71,652,000 individual tax filers?? They are not represented on this chart. If the chart is incomplete it is worthless. When you really look at the math, this chart proves the point that the rich are not paying their fair share.”

    • Bill says:

      Mary, Are you really that stupid? The math works because those are the official IRS numbers.

      • Mary says:

        I did say this, someone said it to me and I didn’t know exactly how to reply to this person. I was looking for the best answer so I could reply to this statement.

  11. Yes, I did have the average tax rates for the two groups switched. It’s been corrected.

  12. Giosue says:

    You’re graph is misleading. You’re saying that, as a whole, the amount of tax paid by the wealthiest 400 is equally distributed, so each of them pays 20% of their income? bull crap. When their income is so terribly higher than those 50% poorest, of course the actual numbers add up by the percentage alone which they tax, which has historically been less than the average poor/middle class individual. That’s why I say you’re graph is misleading. The math is wrong. Not even adding the fact that only the lower 50% are represented, how about the other 50%? I’m sorry but your little graph is off

  13. Cory says:

    This post goes back to the tired argument of “The rich pay more dollars in taxes than the lower 50% of Americans”. But that is not the issue. The issue is that overall, with tax shelters, offshore accounts, income from investments being taxed at half the rate as income from physical labor, etc., the rich are paying less as a percentage of their income in taxes than the upper 48% of Americans and the lower 50% are the working poor. I’m not faulting them for being rich, I’m faulting them for being greedy and unethical.

    By the way, if I recall properly, only about 10% of those on the Forbes Richest 400 in America list are self-made. The rest are heirs to parents and grandparents fortunes who’ve never really had to work a day in their lives for their money.

    Unless your personal income is greater than $700,000 a year, you are brainwashed if you are being an apologist for the the mega-wealthy.

    • Tom Chenault says:

      How much money they make or have are none of your business. In addition, income taxes destroy the economy and create more poverty. A simple sales tax, on non-essentials, would get more from the “rich”, who you are so envious of and wish to punish.

      In addition, it is not your place to decide what is “greedy.”

    • Sorry Cory…you are brainwashed of you believe anything you just typed. Rich people don’t get rich by abusing others. They create wealth(expand the pie) through hard work and innovation. For that reason, I don’t care about trust fund babies. Taking all of their money would be mean almost nothing to the other 139M people working in this country. Besides, you democrats have been voting the Kennedy’s into office for years. When was the last time one of them worked in anything that remotely resembles the real world?
      Finally, please tell me the last non-rich guy that offered you a W-2 position. Logic tell me to be thankful for every rich guy and “aspiring-to-be-rich” guy for putting their butts on the line and creating businesses that the rest of us can work for.
      And for the record, taking advantage of Federally provided tax-deductions is not “unethical”. The government put deductions in the tax code to promote certain behavior. Because the bottom 50% of America pays almost Zero Federal taxes, it only makes sense that deductions would be taken primarily by “The Rich”.

      Logic has no agenda!

    • BADKarma says:

      Here’s a novel concept: Maybe if the tax code was fair, simple, and easy to comprehend, those “evil rich evil evils” would not feel the need to shelter so much of the money THEY EARNED. Jealousy Socialists such as yourself should consider relocating to a country where you’d feel more comfortable – North Korea, Venezuela, or Greece, for instance – and leave America to people who like it here.

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