Maintaining Optimism in the Face of Reality. Occasional observations on the state of the world, society, business and politics. Usually anchored by facts, always augmented by opinion.

Real Numbers on Taxes  | e-mail post

I am so very tired of hearing about the "tax cuts for the rich." George Bush is not making it up when he says everyone got a tax cut. Really. Not only that: on a proportional basis, the rich didn't even get a tax break.

For all the people who think George Bush gave an enormous tax cut to the rich (the "top 5%" Kerry always talks about), I'd like to start by calling your attention to one number: 53.7%.

What is that number? It is the percentage of the individual federal income tax burden carried by the "top 5%" that Kerry delights in demonizing in his open incitement of class warfare. That's right, the top 5% of households pays over half of the total individual tax burden. The top 20% of households tote the note for 82.1% of the individual tax burden.

Oh, and there's another number people should consider: 2.3%

What's that number? It's the increase in the share of the individual tax liability that top 5% are paying, while the lower 80% of households by income all bear a reduced share of individual tax liability.

Where do I get these numbers? They come from the Congressional Budget Office. You can read the report in HTML or as a PDF. Just to save some time, I'll pull some numbers just for the 2001-2004 period and include them here.

Share of Total Individual Income Taxes by Category Under Current Tax Law
(note the CBO report extends the projects to 2014)

Lowest Quintile-2.3-2.3-2.7-2.7
Second Quintile0.30.4-0.2-0.1
Middle Quintile5.
Fourth Quintile14.314.814.815.2
Highest Quintile82.581.78382.1
All Quintiles100100100100
Top 10 Percent67.766.667.966.7
Top 5 Percent55.25455.153.7
Top 1 Percent34.433.333.632.3

Share of Total Federal Tax Burden by Category Under Current Tax Law
(note the CBO report extends the projects to 2014) You can read the CBO note for more details, but to simplify the total burden is computed by applying excise taxes based on estimated consumption and "that corporate income taxes fall on the owners of capital and allocates those liabilities--again, both as income and as taxes--to households in proportion to their income from interest, dividends, rents, and capital gains."

Lowest Quintile1.
Second Quintile55.15.15.2
Middle Quintile1010.310.410.5
Fourth Quintile18.519.119.219.5
Highest Quintile65.364.264.163.5
All Quintiles100100100100
Top 10 Percent5048.548.547.6
Top 5 Percent38.536.936.935.9
Top 1 Percent22.721.221.120.1

One last table...

Change in the proportion of the individual income tax borne by each income group versus the proportion that the group would have paid under 2000 tax law

Lowest Quintile-0.5-0.6-1-1.1
Second Quintile-0.9-0.9-1.6-1.6
Middle Quintile-0.9-0.8-1.1-1
Fourth Quintile-0.6-0.3-0.4-0.1
Highest Quintile2.
All Quintiles0000
Top 10 Percent2.
Top 5 Percent2.
Top 1 Percent1.811.70.6

So, does anyone want to tell me how under federal tax policy the rich are really getting this great deal at the expense of everybody else?





e-mail post | Link Cosmos | [Permalink]  |  | Saturday, October 09, 2004
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