Monday, April 02, 2007

The Rich already pay their fair share, and then some

One of the red-meat catchphrases from the left that drives me crazy is the one about making the rich "pay their fair share". Dishonest and ignorant leftists alike try their best to make it appear that the government slakes its thirst for tax dollars by raking it in from the poor while leaving the rich largely unmolested. This sorry scenario could not be further from the truth. The IRS released its tax collection figures for 2004, and as you can see from the accompanying graphs, if someone is getting taken to the cleaners, it is not only the rich, it is the top 50% of income earners in this country. I will post the stats first, and then break down the juicier information that I gleaned from it.

This first chart breaks down the average amount of taxes paid per income quintile. For instance, the first line shows that taxpayers who made $23,700 or less paid, on average, $1,684 in federal taxes. The bottom line shows that taxpayers who made more than $99,500 paid, on average, $57,512 in federal taxes. The column on the far right shows that income earners who made less than $23,700 got back from the government, on average, $14.76 worth of government services for every $1 that they paid in taxes. The taxpayers in the highest income bracket received $0.32 for every dollar that they paid in taxes. Translated: The rich pay most of the taxes, and the poor reap most of the benefits of those taxes. Translated another way would be "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs." My kudos to the reader who can tell us who said that. For a supposedly free-market country like the United States, the answer may surprise you.

This second chart makes you cluck your tongue even more. It shows that the top 1% of income earners pay just under 37% of all federal taxes. Compare that to the bottom 50% of income earners who pay only 3.3%. And what is in my opinion the most astonishing number of all is that the top 50% of income earners pay almost 97% of all the federal taxes. So what you have is the top half of the country supporting the lower half. Keep these numbers in mind the next time someone tells you that we need to raise taxes on the rich, or that tax cuts for the rich are made on the backs of the poor.

I have a better idea, let's get rid of the income tax, and FICA, and Medicare. Our government and its people survived just fine without the income tax all the way to 1913; we could easily do it again. We survived just fine without Social Security all the way to 1935; I would rather invest my own money in something that actually turns a profit, not piss it away with a complusory Ponzi Scheme like Social Security. We survived just fine without Medicare all the way into the 1960s; now the cost of medical care is rising out of sight thanks to government subsidies like Medicare. As the late Libertarian Harry Browne once said, "What government does best is break both of your legs and give you a pair of crutches and says, see, if it wasn't for the government, you wouldn't be able to walk."

Good Day to You, Sir


Law and Order Teacher said...

I noticed this when my wife and I did our taxes. We were considered rich. After 33 years of struggling to put our children through college on our salaries (cop, nurse, now teacher for me) we had a good laugh. Then we wrote our check and the smile left our face!

Darren said...

Did you create those charts? They're significantly smaller and easier to read than the charts in your link.

If so, could I use one of them on my blog? I sense a "social justice" post in the making!

Chanman said...

Yeah, I thought I would simplify and target the info I wanted to harp on. Feel free to use the charts.