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A Thought Experiment About Taxes


The next time you’re hangin’ with friends ask them this question:

Of all the money earned by all Americans and reported to the IRS as adjusted gross income, approximately what percentage is earned by the 1%?

Then ask this follow-up question: 

Of all the money collected by the IRS in taxes, approximately what percentage is paid by the 1%?

I’ve been following these numbers for several years.  They vary by a point or two from year to year, but they’re always roughly the same. If I were a betting man I’d bet that the guesses from your friends would be far from reality, and your friends might be SHOCKED, and maybe even a little embarrassed or ashamed, and rightfully so, of their own attitudes toward taxes and “the rich”, to learn the answers:

20% and 40%

That is, the top 1% earns about 20% of the total sum of all income earned by all Americans and pays about 40% of all taxes collected by the IRS from all Americans, or about DOUBLE their “fair share.” 

The actual numbers for 2012 are as follows: The top 1 percent (1.3 million filers) paid a greater share of income taxes (38.1 percent) than the bottom 90 percent (122.4 million filers) COMBINED (29.8 percent).

The top 1 percent of taxpayers paid a higher effective income tax rate than any other group at 22.8 percent, which is nearly 7 times higher than taxpayers in the bottom 50 percent (3.28 percent).

The top 1 percent and the other brackets down to 50% pay into the system a higher percentage than the amount they earn.

The bottom half earns about 11% of all income and pays only about 2.8% of all taxes collected.  

The bottom half is carried by the top half, and each bracket in the top half is subsidized in increasing amounts by the bracket(s) above it.

And what do liberals want, always and forever?

MORE!!  More more more!

And what do they say about people who say “enough is enough,” and “how about spending less than we collect”?

They’re mean, heartless, selfish, out of touch, even evil.

Click here for a Summary of Income Tax Data from 2012

Click here for a recent article on this by Walter Williams

Rounding the 2012 data for ease of memory:

The top 1% makes about 20% of all income reported to the IRS, and pays about 40% of all revenue collected by the IRS.

The top 5% makes about 30% of all income and pays about 60% of all revenue collected.

The top 10% makes about 50% of all income and pays about 70% of all tax revenue.

The top 25% makes about 70% of all income and pays about 85% of all tax revenue.

The top 50% makes 90% and pays 97.2%

All the rest, essentially half the country, makes the other 10% and pays only 2.8%

This is what makes most political campaigns by Democrats in general and Bernie Sanders in particular so specious.  They’re based on fear mongering about those “mean” Republicans, and they not only rely on, but exacerbate, widespread ignorance among the general population of the truth about taxes.

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