Top 1% Of American Income Earners Paid Nearly As Much In Taxes As The Bottom 95%


The latest data from the IRS for the 2010 tax year shows that America’s lop-sided tax burden continues. From Professor Mark Perry:

According to new IRS data, the 1.35 million taxpayers that represent the highest-earning one percent of the Americans who filed federal income tax returns in 2010 earned 18.9% of the total gross income and paid 37.4% of all federal income taxes paid in that year. In contrast, the 128.3 million taxpayers in the bottom 95% of all U.S. taxpayers in 2010 earned 66.2% of gross income and that group paid 40.9% of all taxes paid. In other words, the top 1 percent (1.35 million) of American taxpayers paid almost as much federal income tax in 2010 ($354.8 billion) as the entire bottom 95% of American tax filers ($388.4 billion), see chart above. And it’s that group of top income earners (with income above $221,000 in 2010 to be in the top one percent), that Obama and the Democrats want to tax even more.

According to our friends on the left, “the rich” don’t “pay their fair share” and so should face income tax hikes. But when the top 1% of income earners are paying nearly as much in income taxes as the bottom 95% of income earners, isn’t that more than their fair share?

Not only is that actually very unfair, but it is leading to a government bubble. We’ve seen bubbles in the housing market, and the student loan market, and both were the result of a disconnect between consumer and costs. Because home loans and student loans weren’t, and aren’t, priced appropriately (thanks to government subsidies) too many people bought them which created the bubble.

In the case of taxation, government isn’t being priced appropriately. We are growing government, but hiding the cost either by lumping it on a small portion of the populace (“the rich”) or by not paying for it at all (our $1 trillion annual budget deficit).

If we want end the government bubble, we must start taxing Americans more evenly for the government they’re getting.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • Rob

    You realize its a rate, right? The rich pay far more in taxes.

  • Rob

    The problem is, people already have access to the basics if they want them. The vast majority of homeless are that way because they’re either severely mentally ill or they have substance abuse problems. And even most of them can find shelter. We are also a country where the poor people are fat Every state has a public education system, and no hospital can turn away anyone who needs care.

    The problem is that despite these things, you liberals want to keep growing the welfare state, beyond even what we can afford to pay for.

  • Rob

    Actually, private hospitals that receive federal funds can’t. Which is all of them.

    You should try knowing what you’re talking about.

  • Rob

    OK, pretty much all of them.

    You’re still wrong.

    • PlacidAir

      No Rob — you’re so back-assward, you probably can’t even find your own ass to wipe it. Those who have 95% of the benefit of something, should darn well pay 95% of the cost of it.

      • Rob

        So now you’re arguing that the richest 5% percent consume 95% of the health care?

        I think you’d better not accuse other people of knowing what they’re talking about.

  • Rob

    Wealth isn’t a zero sum game. There is no set amount of wealth in the world.
    Your premise is faulty