The IRS released data today on the distribution of income taxes. It shows that the highest-earning taxpayers shoulder a considerable burden of the federal income tax.
According to the IRS, the top 1 percent of taxpayers paid over 40 percent of all federal income taxes in 2007. That is a higher share than the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers combined! They paid just over 39 percent.
The top 1 percent, those earning over $410,000, consists of 1.4 million taxpayers, while the bottom 95 percent contains 134 million.
In 2000, before the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts that some claim disproportionately benefited the rich, the top 1 percent paid less than 38 percent of income taxes, while the bottom 95 paid almost 44 percent. Since the tax cuts, the top 1 percent’s share increased over 2 percentage points while the bottom 95 percent’s share decreased 5 percentage points. Those that argue the tax cuts solely benefited the rich are mistaken.
President Obama plans to raise the top 2 marginal tax rates on those making over $250,000 a year, and Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) wants to slap a 6 percent surtax on top of that to partially pay for a government takeover of the health care system. These tax hikes, in addition to damaging the already badly weakened economy, will further shift the burden of the income tax to the highest earners.
In contrast, the bottom 40% of taxpayers pays no income taxes on average. In fact, they get money from the tax code well above anything they paid in because of refundable credits. And President Obama’s Make Work Pay credit, passed as part of the stimulus, will increase the money redistributed to these non-taxpayers.
It’s a dangerous situation when a majority of voters can get services and benefits from the government for no cost, because there is no incentive for them to limit the growth of government. President Obama’s and Chairman Rangel’s redistributive tax policies will further push the burden of income tax to high earners while giving more benefits to non-taxpayers. But as the IRS data show, the economy cannot afford anymore spreading the wealth around.