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Taxes, fair share, and 1 percenters



Pieter Brueghel the Younger, "Paying the Tax Collector" Appropriate metaphor for taxes. Oil on panel.

By many estimates, roughly half of the American population doesn’t pay taxes. However, the left’s mantra is that the rich need to pay their fair share, which they claim is more than the rich are now paying. So, just how much in taxes do the top 1 percent pay and how much do they earn?

Taxes: actual facts cites the 2007 CBO report and says:

The top 1 percent in 2005 were those households with income of at least $307,500, and they got 18.1 percent of all “comprehensive” income, which includes all cash income plus the cash value of such benefits as Medicare and food stamps.

As for taxes, CBO calculates that the top 1 percent paid 27.6 percent of all federal taxes, including:

  • 38.8 percent of federal individual income taxes
  • 4.0 percent of federal social insurance taxes (Social Security and Medicare)
  • 58.6 percent of corporate income taxes (indirectly, through stock ownership)
  • 5.5 percent of federal excise taxes (on such things as gasoline, tobacco, alcoholic beverages and telephones.)
Share of total Federal taxes paid by the top 1 percent of earners

Share of total Federal taxes paid by the top 1 percent of earners, 1979-2005. Source: FactCheck/Congressional Budget Office

To sum up, the top 1 percent earning at least $307,500 annually pay 38.8 percent of federal individual income taxes, 4.0 percent of Social Security and Medicare, 58.6 percent of corporate income taxes, and 5.5 percent of federal excise taxes. That’s a lot of taxes.

BUT…approximately half of our American citizens do not pay any tax at all. Is this fair? The left would say it is. They would further argue that the rich need to pay more, since they have more.

Well, I don’t think our tax system that doesn’t require half of our citizens to contribute is fair. I would argue that the half that doesn’t pay taxes should. No, I don’t think they should be over-burdened, but they should pay their fair share – whatever that may be – and I can assure you that it’s not zero!

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RoseAnn Salanitri is a published author and Acquisition Editor for the New Jersey Family Policy Council. She is a community activist who has founded the Sussex County Tea Party in her home state and launched a recall movement against Senator Robert Menendez. RoseAnn is also the founder of Veritas Christian Academy, as well as co-founder of Creation Science Alive, and a national creation science speaker.

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Tonto USA

My tax rate was at about 15%. I figure if EVERYBODY paid their “fair share”, say at 10%, I’d get a tax cut and we could wipe out the debt in a couple years. 10% cut on cigarettes, recreational drugs and liquor would certainly irritate some people….but, as the socialists always say, “it’s for their own good”.


24% of the USA population is under under the age of 18. Most of these people do not work therefore do not pay taxes. That takes a huge chunk out of your half of americans that do not pay taxes. I wonder what the percentage of people who earn an income that do not pay taxes? I wonder how many S corporations there are that people set up and use to not pay taxes.


What is frustrating about dealing with lefties is that they are always trying to change the terms of the discussion and act so innocent when they are caught doing it.
What is the OWP complaint? Is it about taxes that EVERYONE pays?
Can we just stop trying to put us on the defensive for EXPOSING the misinformation and propaganda of the left OWP movement?
The issue is Income Taxes, and they specifically complained about Oil Companies paying little or no INCOME taxes.
So, what about these OTHER taxes? Did Oil Companies, et al. pay these OTHER taxes? Yes. Did the individuals PAY these OTHER TAXES? Yes.
Stop the facade!
Courage and Godspeed.


I’m sure you knew this going in, but you’re only including income tax. There are many other federal taxes that these people are paying (payroll, gas, property, excise, etc…).

These people are paying taxes, and from here on out we can both be sure you’re a liar if you say otherwise.

I notice you haven’t been approving my comments. The truth must hurt you as much as it does your ideology.


“roughly half of the American population doesn’t pay taxes”

So, considering payroll and gas taxes (among others), on a scale of 1-10, how true would you say that statement is?

I’m interested in seeing if you can come to terms with the truth over your narrative.

Nathaniel Roubideaux

I don’t have the stomach to read all the various comments on this issue that I suspect are strewn around comments sections for several articles. I’ll only say that to assert that Obama has any intention to raise taxes to “confiscatory levels” is sensationalism of the worst sort. Before I get into savaging this assertion, I’m going to ask you to provide evidence of its truth rather than arguing by assertion.

What evidence do you have that Obama intends to raise taxes to “confiscatory levels?” Do you know what the effective tax rate is now vs. under Bush and previous administrations?


“Those are the taxes that Obama seeks to raise to confiscatory levels.” Confiscatory levels? Consider this:

“In 1982-1986 the top marginal tax rate was 50%. In 1987 the tax rate dropped to 38.5%, so for the majority (7 out of 8 years) of Reagan’s terms the tax rate for the wealthiest Americans was well above the top tax rates of today. In fact the wealthy only kept HALF or less of their money under most of Reagan’s presidency, yet that was enough to stimulate the economy according to many conservatives who credit the tax rates for the economic expansion of the 1980s.”



The Reagan rates were okay then the way the deficit explosion from 2001-06 that was approved by Republicans running the White House, Senate and House of Representatives was okay.

These things only become a problem when someone else is in charge…


“Consider the source” is just another way of saying, “I don’t want to acknowledge that inconvenient fact”. Any number of sources can be cited – the fact of what the top rates were in those years isn’t going to change.

Likewise with the comment about Democrats taking over in 2007. The point was that there was no criticism from conservatives for turning a surplus into a huge deficit when they were in control of Congress and the White House. Many of the “deficit hawk” players today were moving the process along then, like Boehner and Cantor.

Your immediate pivot to “well, what about the Democrats starting in 2007” just confirms my point. It’s not a problem for the Conservatives when the Right is doing it.


Stating half of Americans do not pay income taxes is not an accurate measure of who is paying income taxes. I really would like to know how many people who earn an income at a taxable level are paying taxes.
I know someone who set up a corporation for their homebased business and writes everything off. He doesn’t have to pay income taxes. He said he should have done this along time ago. Makes me feel like a shmuck for paying taxes.


Everybody pays taxes, Terry. Payroll taxes, sales tax, etc. To claim otherwise is dishonest.


CBO data suggest that around 10% of people pay neither income nor payroll taxes. I know it’s not as sensational as lying about “half of people not paying taxes”, but it’s still a significant figure.

Terry, these people make less than 30,000 a year and most have dependents. The notion that they don’t “feel” payroll, gas and sales taxes (among others) shows how out of touch you are. So yeah, let’s hike taxes on single mothers, heads of households making minimum wage, and grandmas on fixed income.

Increasing taxes on low income people will cause more hardship than fiscal solutions. I’m sure you already know that. Do you realize what the “fair share” you want of low income American’s money amounts to? These “half of all Americans” control 2.5% of the country’s wealth.

Fergus Mason

But you admit that they are paying tax?


Yeah, like OWP would be satisfied with changing the percentage of tax on the rich?
They have stated at their rallies by their leaders that the money of the billionaires should be completely confiscated to pay off the national debt.
They have stated corporate taxes should be 100%!!!!!!!!!
yes, they have said at their rallies that the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT should simply confiscate these things to ease the financial crisis (aka Michael Moore, et al.).
Please STOP with the lame arguments!
The OWP is just a prelude to the real thing.
They want Communism and they want it now!
Why do you think the movement is called OCCUPY?
Stop pretending you would settle for less!
These are just distractions!
Courage and Godspeed.


Pres. Obama has basically demonstrated that he is not interested in the facts concerning taxation and capital gains on corporations, he is interested in “fairness”.
The baloney about a clerical worker paying more tax than a CEO, is just nonsense. No such thing ever happened or will happen.
Again, the whole OWP movement is NOT about fairness, it is about implementing Communism!
That is WHY they call themselves OCCUPY.
They deny the right of private property.
They deny the authority of any government that recognizes private property.
Stop the distractions and be honest!
Courage and Godspeed.


“Indirect taxes, yet. But not the kind of tax that hits them up close and personal, in a way that they can appreciate.”

This is probably the most shocking thing you’ve ever posted, which is quite impressive given some of your other stuff.

You’ve obviously never been poor. Congratulations, but don’t ignore the problems of those who have been or currently are poor. There are people living right on the breadline for whom every single purchase has to be weighed. Can they afford to eat or do they need to save money because it’s cold at the moment and they need to turn on the heating? Can they fix old clothes so they can put off buying new ones? Can they buy their children anything for Christmas or will it be nothing more than a cold, joyless season full of hunger?

Now you’re probably planning to say either that such people don’t exist or that they brought it on themselves. Well they certainly do exist, and quite often it’s absolutely no fault of their own: it could be a redundancy so someone like Mitt Romney can claim an extra bonus; it could be a work-related injury; it could be simple bad luck.

The point is that indirect taxes make a huge difference for a large part of the population. Please can you at least try to understand this?


So now a poor person is, ipso facto, stupid? Which part of the Bible does that come from, Terry?


For the first time, I’m actually going to say “You don’t know what you’re talking about”.

I’ve attempted to educate you about the dire situation in which some of the US’ and UK’s poor find themselves but you totally ignore what I’ve said. You said that “half the country doesn’t feel the tax anymore”. I basically proved you wrong, and now you’re trying to evade what you said.

You originally stated that half the US paid no taxes. You then moved to a position that seems to say indirect taxes “don’t matter”, then to “poor people are stupid” then to your usual conspiracy nonsense.

The FACT is that you are paying historically low taxes, and yet wonder why you have a huge deficit. Until people like you wake up and realise you have to pay to be part of a civilised society, your country is screwed.


If you won’t listen to the facts, that’s your problem. I know the tax rate is incredibly low but I won’t waste time trying to convince someone determined to make Obama look bad no matter what.

And it’s not just be saying you have to pay to be part of a civilised society. The first person to say it was Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr, the Supreme Court Justice who was wounded three times in the service of his country, and who left his estate to the government. He was a man who knew what being American was really about. You have absolutely no idea.


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