Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, during remarks at Brookings Institution (and underscoring that she wasn't speaking for the Obama administration for which she is, well, secretary of State):
"The rich are not paying their fair share in any nation that is facing the kind of employment issues [America currently does] — whether it's individual, corporate or whatever [form of] taxation forms," Clinton told an audience at the Brookings Institution, where she was discussing the Administration's new National Security Strategy.
Clinton said the comment was her personal opinion alone. "I'm not speaking for the administration, so I'll preface that with a very clear caveat," she said.
Clinton went on to cite Brazil as a model.
"Brazil has the highest tax-to-GDP rate in the Western Hemisphere and guess what — they're growing like crazy," Clinton said. "And the rich are getting richer, but they're pulling people out of poverty."
Fairness, like beauty and pornography, is in the eye of the beholder. But Madame Secretary ought to check this out. It's a chart from the NY Times that shows the share of total federal tax burden (in 2006) paid by different income quinitles. Note that the highest quintile is the only group paying a greater share of taxes than its share of income. And grok this:
In 2006, the top quintile of households earned 55.7 percent of pretax income and paid 69.3 percent of federal taxes, while the top 1 percent of households earned 18.8 percent of income and paid 28.3 percent of taxes.
And just to be crystal clear: The tax liabilities being discussed include income, social insurance, corporate income, and excise taxes. More here.
When one group proportionally pay more into a system than others, I wouldn't exactly call that fair. Perhaps what Clinton and the administration for which doesn't speak means is that the rich could always pay more. Maybe, baby, but then just come and say what you mean. There's no reason to go all Joe Montana and that Ziggy greeting card instead of simply stating your preferences, is there?
For more tax facts to make your head explode, just click below: