Follow-up: Taxes, Fairness, and Obama’s Accomplishments

We had a lucky 13 people last night, and a better mix of liberals and conservatives than we’ve had in a while.  Thanks to new member Ted and to John for articulating their conservative positions and standing by them.  Please come back anytime.

I promised to respond to Ted’s comment implying that the well-off pay most of the taxes.  This is a common misconception, and it is repeated by many well-meaning people who are repeating it in good faith.  But, it is false.  I’ve done a lot of posts in the past related to who pays how much and what it means.

Here’s a link to a recent post I did that explains a bit about who pays what in taxes and at what level of government it goes to.  The post makes it clear that, when all taxes at the federal, state, and local levels are included, each income group in the United States pays about the same share of their income as the other groups.

How can this be, since the federal income tax is so progressive?  Part of it is what I said last night: Only about 40% of the USG taxes are income taxes (see op.cit. post for a nice pie chart on sources of federal revenue).  Also, see this post in which I more directly refute the “only rich people really have a significant tax burden” idea.  It points out (with source) that about three-quarters of U.S. households pay more in payroll taxes than in income tax.

Also, here’s some brand spanking new analysis of just how regressive state level taxes are.  In all 50 states, the poorest 20% of households pay a greater share of their income in state taxes than does the top 1%!  In most states, the bottom 20% are taxed at more than twice the rate as the richest 1% and in five states they pay more than five times the rate!

I can’t think of anything to add offhand on our actual topic, Obama’s report card.  But, here are some details on Obama’s very important college loan program reforms.


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