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Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Income v. Tax Burden
First, this story appeared in today's St. Paul Pioneer Press: "Income gap jumps in past 20 years: Top 20% earns half of U.S. wages"

Contrast that with this analysis in NRO's Kerry Spot (posted 08/13 11:41 AM):
While many characterize the CBO report as evidence that the tax cuts shifted the burden of taxation to the middle class, CBO data show precisely the opposite effect. The tax cuts actually made the tax system more progressive. The highest 20 percent of earners now pay a larger share of federal income taxes than they would have without the tax cuts, while the share of income taxes paid by all other income groups fell.

The overwhelming majority of federal income taxes are paid by the very highest income earners. The top 1 percent of income earners pays 31.6 percent of all income taxes, the top 5 percent pays 51.4 percent, the top 10 percent pays 63.5%, and the top 20 percent of income earners pays 78.4 percent of all federal income taxes. The bottom four-fifths of income earners pay just over one-fifth of all federal income taxes.
So, just to be clear, the top 20% earn 50% of the wages and pay 78% of the taxes. And this is fair? I'm sorry, I can't get too miffed about the income gap when the top income earners are carrying this country on their backs.

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