I do agree with Dan Blegen [“Lesson in Statistics”, Letters, Dec. 17, City Weekly] that we should compare the percentage of taxes paid by any particular group to how much is made by that group. The IRS makes this rather simple, as it posts the statistics on its Website (IRS.gov).
In this case, statistics from tax year 2007 were the latest available. Had those statistics been consulted, we would have learned that the “top 1 percent” of earners (by adjusted gross income, or AGI) pay in fact 40.42 percent of the total tax while earning only 22.83 percent of the total income in America.
More interesting is that it only requires an AGI of $410,096 to place someone in the “top 1 percent.” If we look at the “top 5 percent” where it only takes an AGI of $160,041 to qualify, we see that 60.63 per- cent of total taxes were paid by a group that made only 37.44 percent of the total income. Certainly seems like the rich are paying their fair share.
Conversely, the bottom 50 percent of tax returns (AGI under $32,879) make 12.26 percent of the income, but pay only 2.89 percent of the total taxes.
Maybe it’s time for the class warfare mantra to stop?