Reason.tv: Is Hillary Clinton Right That The Rich Don't Pay "Their Fair Share" in Taxes?


Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently said that "the rich are not paying their fair share" of taxes in the United States and other developed countries.

Is she right? It depends on what you consider fair. Using 2006 data, The New York Times found that the richest 20 percent of households were paying 26 percent of their income to the federal government in the form of income, payroll, corporate, and excise taxes. The average for all familes? 21 percent.

And there's 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."

Paying in a lot more than you get out? That doesn't seem fair.

The rich are different than you and me; they've got more money. And they pay more taxes.

Politicians are different too–they rarely say what they really mean. Perhaps what Secretary Clinton means is that the rich can always pay more than they're already paying.

That would explain why she and the president are lobbying to let the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of the year, a policy that would raise all sorts of taxes on all sorts of people.

Which doesn't sound all that fair either.

Produced by Meredith Bragg and Nick Gillespie.

Go here for documentation and graphs.