Propagandistic political assertions of the left all too often go unchallenged, and become a mantra for supporters and media sycophants to repeat and believe. Sending jobs offshore, taking away social security from seniors, and tax benefits for the rich are just a few of the accusations which seem to go virtually unchallenged with facts during this political season. Data are available for the curious citizen to determine the truth about many of these accepted positions. The top 1% of American taxpayers average 32 fair shares each.
Start with a simple statement made by a senator during a recent television interview. He said that the tax reduction for the rich is being made up by taxes paid by the middle class taxpayers. Let's look at available data to see if the middle class tax filers are actually subsidizing the tax responsibility of the 'rich'.
Many sets of numbers are currently available for analysis. I've chosen to use round numbers for this example. First, the number of Americans who are potential taxpayers. Census data shows about 190 million of these. Next, the number the federal government budgets to spend from taxpayer revenue. The records show this to be about $2.4 trillion annually. This gives us a way of computing each citizen's gross tax burden (about $12,600). But numbers are available to refine the costs.
Many sources are tapped to support government expenditures. Individual income tax payers shoulder the burden by contributing about 52.5% of this budget. The remainder comes from employment, estate, corporate and excise taxes. If everyone paid the same individually, Americans would contribute about $6600 each to operate the government annually.
Tax policies aren't that simple, so some pay more and some pay nothing toward the budget. Tax forms allow family members to file a single form combining their tax burdens. The latest authorized budget figures show about 137 million filers submitted evidence of their income. Of that group, about 110 million actually paid taxes. Over 20% of lowest income tax filers contribute nothing to the income tax system. In fact, the bottom 20% receive rather than pay taxes as a benefit of the "refundable tax credit" system, and this has increased is a result of recent tax cuts signed by the President.
In round terms, each taxpayer's fair share, if we all bore an equal burden of the oincome tax, would approximate $11,550. But the 'rich' actually pick up the fair share burden for others in the middle and low income groups.
Here's how that fair share works out in real life:
The next 4% average 5 fair shares each.
The next 5% average 3 fair shares each.
The next 10% average 2 fair shares each.
That's how the top 20% support the middle and lower income taxpayers—not the reverse support touted by the senator, and believed by many.
The next 20% only average .76% of a fair share each.
The next 20% only average .27% of a fair share each.
The next 20% pay nothing.
The bottom 20% actually receive income from filing tax forms.
The left, which often seems obsessed with equality of outcome, regardless of effort, talent, or merit, makes one huge exception to this imperative: tax payments. Is that fair?
Gerald Dudley, Ph.D is a writer in Scottsdale, Arizona