That’s the red meat line of many of America’s leftist politicians and opinion makers. Most recently it’s been a constant theme of Sen. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton as they’ve competed for the Democratic nomination for President. Both seem to think that all our domestic problems derive from the rich not paying enough taxes.
It’s a good line for young crowds. However sooner or later the words collide with the truth.
A new report from the Congressional Budget office says the rich pay more than their fair share of taxes.
In 2013, households in the highest quintile received an estimated 52.6 percent of before-tax income and paid 69.0 percent of federal taxes; households in the top 1 percent received 15.0 percent of before tax income and paid 25.4 percent of federal taxes. In all other quintiles, the share of federal taxes was smaller than the share of before tax income: Households in the bottom quintile received 5.1 percent of income and paid 0.8 percent of taxes, and households in the middle quintile received 13.9 percent of income and paid 8.9 percent of taxes.
Commenting on the same topic on his blog Carpe Diem, AEI economist Mark Perry writes:
When the top 20% percent of US households are financing 96% of the transfer payments to the bottom 60% and financing almost the entire non-financed operating budget of the federal government, I’d say “the rich” are paying beyond their fair share of the total tax burden, and we might start asking if the bottom 60% of “net recipient” households are really paying their “fair share.” At the very least, we should be thanking the top 20% of Americans for shouldering such a disproportionate share of the federal tax burden, and not constantly vilifying them and proposing to increase their taxes in the interest of “fairness.”