Economics

Total Tax Burdens: Rising on the Richer, Falling on the Poorer

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Some thought Rand Paul was being tricky on David Letterman last week in merely discussing the share the wealthy pay of income tax. David Henderson at the EconLog takes a look at the distribution of total federal taxes by via Congressional Budget Office data and finds:

The bottom quintile paid 4.3 percent of income in taxes,
. The top quintile paid 25.8 percent of income in taxes,
. The top decile paid 27.5 percent of income in taxes,
. The top 5 percent paid 29.0 percent of income in taxes, and
. The top 1 percent paid 31.2 percent of income in taxes.

That's about percentage of income paid; when it comes to overall burden, the rich have continued to pay more over the past decades as well, as per this CBO chart, which shows "Share of Total Federal Tax Liabilities" by household from 1979, when the top 1 percent paid 15.4 percent, to 2006, when they paid 28.3 percent.

The same 79-2006 comparisons for top 5 percent: 29.6 to 44.7; and for top 10 percent, 40.7 to 55.4.

For the lowest quintile of earners in the U.S., that share of total federal tax liabilities has fallen from 2.1 percent in 1979 to 0.8 percent in 2006.

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  1. I should note that in 1927, during the Coolidge administration, only the richest 2% payed any income taxes.

      1. That’s the yee old 1920’s spelling.

        1. you meant “ye olde”

          1. Looks like we have ourselves a little competition here…

          2. Before you go flapping your gums, you ought to know your onions! I was swimming in that Jerry gas in France, when your sad sack pa knocked up that bug-eyed Betty ma of yours in his flivver. Whadda a palooka!

            1. You meant “Hun gas”.

    1. I should note that in 1927, during the Coolidge administration, only the richest 2% payed any income taxes.

      Wow.

      And that was a Republican administration that taxed only the income of the wealthy.

  2. No, no, no. The rich should pay 100% of their income in taxes. The government will give back some portion of that income based on such rich person’s need.

    1. How does it go again?

      “From each according to your abilities, to us according to our whims.” Have I got that right?

      1. It’s something like that.

        Ever notice what’s missing? The from are the people who produce, and the to are, well, everyone who wants money (either back or in the first place). Who moves everything from the from and to the to? And who decides the proper allocation?

        I know this is the big weak point that everyone calls out, but it’s interesting that it’s missing from the slogan itself.

        Workers of the world, unite! The only things you have to lose are your chains, though I wouldn’t worry about that, as we have some new, less bourgeois chains for you to wear.

        1. Actually, it’s supposed to be an organic process based on good faith. This is really the folly of Marxism–even if you can somehow solve the central-planning nonsense–the entire system is still predicated on everyone being wholly selfless and working as hard as possible, consuming only the minimum amount of resources need to maintain maximum efficiency, and always operating in 100% good faith in all matters.

          Sound like any humans you know?

          1. Sounds exactly like Michelle Obama to me. Could one find a more selfless woman?

          2. Does that happen during the Dictatorship of the Proletariat or later, when government just totally vanishes without a trace?

            1. It takes a while for people to kill enough people for everyone left to be perfect.

              1. Maybe if we stopped having individual brains and were all tied into one single brain, this system could finally work.

                1. Sounds like a scam to me. Or Swedish.

                  1. I think they may be working with a single superbrain, yes.

                2. I can never remember if a bug scientist is an entomologist or an etymologist. Anyway, a bug scientist once said of Communism “Wonderful theory, wrong species.”

                  1. We are working on it.

          3. If I — hopefully correctly — remember one thing from the book “We” by Zamyatin, it was the class of criminals who were designated as Those Who Were Late To Work.

            Someone’s gotta produce, after all.

          4. Sounds like someone’s been reading Time Will Run Back.

        2. The only things you have to lose are your chains, though I wouldn’t worry about that, as we have some new, less bourgeois chains for you to wear.

          Are they vintage? That would be so totally worth it.

          1. Heavy iron, steampunkish fun.

      2. “From each according to your abilities, to us according to our whims.” Have I got that right?

        Actually, the market does work from each according to his ability, to each according to his need. If I have great ability fixing cars, and you have great need to get your car fixed, we make a transaction and my ability is transferred to your need.

        The difference is, because it’s not an infantile approach like Marxism, capitalists recognize that none of these transfers take place without coordinating incentives.

        Of course, every communist realizes this at some point, too. That’s where you get your gulags and such, trying to replicate the market’s incentive structure.

  3. I wonder if that data includes social security? What is the total burden when all taxes are included?

    Libertarians should push for that lowest quintile to pay no taxes whatsoever. It obviously wouldnt cost that much in terms of tax revinue and would totally short-circuit the left’s usual mantra of “Libertarians only want tax breaks for the rich” that they never tire of trotting out.

    1. Yes. Broken down by total, individual income tax, social insurance tax, coporate income tax, and excise tax.

    2. Wonder no more: “This page contains CBO’s most recent estimates of federal effective tax rates (taxes as a percentage of income) across household income groups for the four largest sources of federal revenues–individual income taxes, social insurance (payroll) taxes, corporate income taxes, and excise taxes–as well as the total effective rate for the four taxes combined.”

      1. Hello? Two threads where someone has posted basically verbatim what I posted a 1/2 hour earlier.

        Does everyone have me incifed now? 🙂

        1. What did you say? I wasn’t listening.

    3. It obviously wouldnt cost that much in terms of tax revinue and would totally short-circuit the left’s usual mantra of “Libertarians only want tax breaks for the rich” that they never tire of trotting out.

      It would cost a buttload, not in terms of taxes collected, but in further unhinging any connection between who pays taxes and who receives gov’t largess. At least a few workers get a wake-up call when they get their first paycheck and see that money was stolen without their consent.

      And do you seriously think that the left will stop fuming about “tax breaks for the rich” every time anyone talks about trimming, or not raising, top marginal tax rates?

    4. “Libertarians should push for that lowest quintile to pay no taxes whatsoever. ”

      I think you’re right. One of the best ways to give a liberal pause is to ask them to think about all spending as the margins of spending, and then ask if it’s worth taking a single-mother’s money to pay for THAT. Then go down the list until they say yes. This has actually worked for me in conversations with die-hard liberal soak-the-rich spenders.

      1. Not sure I understand. Wouldn’t their response always be, “That’s why the rich should pay even more.”

        1. Yes. There’s lots of room to increase tax rates on the rich.

          Just look at the Laugher Curve.

  4. Looking at the table, it looks like we have implemented the negative income tax with the Individual Income Tax.

    Quartiles are -6.6%, -0.8%, 3.0%, 6.0% and 14.1%.

    1. quintiles, not quartiles.

    2. Earned Income Tax Credit

      If you’re going to distribute wealth, it’s probably the least damaging way to distribute it.

      1. That should be “redistribute” in both cases above.

  5. I am sure those numbers are wrong. I just don’t know how.

    1. Well, when you watch TV and read magazines you still see rich people owning expensive items and doing rich people stuff, so it is plain to see they aren’t paying enough taxes.

    2. “I am sure those numbers are wrong. I just don’t know how.”

      The ten stupidest things David Letterman thinks about how the economy thingy works:

      4) The money the government spends mostly comes from poor people.

      3) Taxing money away has no adverse consequences in the real economy.

      2) Spending it doesn’t have any adverse effects in the real economy either!

      1) Anybody who thinks raising taxes is bad is just a bible-thumping hick!

      1. Letterman is typical of the average Leftist dolt.

        They think rednecks are stupid, but they are about 100x more stupid.

        Move to France already you wannabe-socialist fucks.

  6. Can we have a flat tax, so that there is no need to discuss this shit? Something close to 0%?

    1. Yes. A 100% flat tax. No deductions.

      1. How Marxian.

        1. It’s either that or Somalia, you know.

        2. No, because under my proposal, the government simply keeps all of the money, instead of wasting time or corrupting our fearless leaders by trying to determine the “need” of everyone.

          1. Ah, something along the lines of the North Korean plan.

            1. Yes, that sounds about right.

  7. This looks like false data. Are you sure it really is “X percent of income” rather than “X percent of AGI”?

    1. Follow the links in the posts and all will be revealed. Here:

      http://www.cbo.gov/publication….._rates.pdf

      The denominator is: “Comprehensive household income [which] equals pretax cash income plus income from other sources.”

      1. Thanks. Ah, I see that the numbers rob quoted include corporate income taxes attributed to households according to their share of capital income.

        And the numbers appear to not include capital gains which have not been realized.

  8. “Some thought Rand Paul was being tricky on David Letterman last week in merely discussing the share the wealthy pay of income tax”

    “tricky?

    What’s tricky about it?

    1. It’s considered tricky because you look only at the income tax and ignore the payroll taxes (FICA and Medicare). But this is one of those eat-your-cake-and-have-it-too arguments. If you say, we should count payroll taxes, then their true character is exposed: a tax on income to fund pensions for current retirees. But when convenient, it’s not a tax, it’s your “contribution” to fund your own pension. Sure it’s more honest to count them as income taxes, but when has honesty been integral to discussing the ponzi scheme called social security.

      1. No tricks, see above. Those numbers INCLUDE payroll taxes.

      2. Today Maddoff called the US government a ponzi scheme.

        I think that’s the pot calling the giant, huge cauldron black.

  9. We know that the rich do not pay their fair share by virtue of the fact that they are rich.

    If they paid their fair share then they wouldn’t be rich.

    So we must tax them and tax them to spread the wealth around, and when there is nobody left to loot … uh, let’s not talk about that part.

    1. Re: Sarcasmic,

      If they paid their fair share then they wouldn’t be rich.

      I asked Tony once (I believe it was him) what would happen afterwards once there were no rich people to steal from. I haven’t seen his answer primarily because the post went down the memory hole… But I can guess what his reply would have been:

      “Then there would be no need to tax the rich”

      1. Remember that the rich are taxed not to bring in revenue, but as a matter of fairness.

        The biggest problem this country has is income inequality.
        It makes the Tonys feel inadequate about themselves.
        Poor Tonys.
        So inadequate.
        Tony – If you read this I do have sympathy for you. It’s in the dictionary between shit and syphilis (both of which I’m sure you are quite familiar with considering your lifestyle).

        1. You disappoint. I thought you were gonna eventually come to a point on the gay marriage thread. Turns out you’re just a bigot.

          1. No Tony, I’m an asshole. There’s a difference.

            I don’t hate you because you suck dick. I have some very good friends who are cock suckers. The difference is that they are honest and they are not thieves.

            They also happen to be quite a bit more intelligent than you, and they are more apt to think than to feel and then rationalize later. That’s what separates them from you. They are human beings while you are just an animal.

            1. There’s no virtue in thinking first and being wrong about everything.

              1. “There’s no virtue in thinking first and being wrong about everything.”

                You’re certainly an authority on that.

            2. He’s still angry at his rich parents.

      2. “Then there would be no need to tax the rich”

        100 years ago no matter how rich you were it would take weeks to travel to Australia, there was no TV, no internet, cars sucked and would constantly break down, you had to dig holes with a shovel, roads as well, there was no penicillin so if you got an infection you were literally probably going to die and your child was likely to die at child birth and if they survived that was likely to die before the age of 16.

        Rich people in 1911 were poor by today’s standards.

        By 2111 standards there are no rich people today.

        1. Of course, at least 50 million people are living in “food insecure” households in this country. (See link for an explanation of the terms and data.) Not having enough food is an objective measure of poverty.

          1. Statist cocksuckers like you don’t get to complain when the government fucks up a wet dream and causes food prices to rise.

          2. >>”food insecure”

            Right, so when you see this bullshit term you know that some Lefty pinheads were sitting around lamenting the fact that we don’t have any people starving here because of the evil rich conservatives, and we don’t have many people truly hungry here because of the evil rich conservatives, so yeah, that’s it! – let’s be outraged by all the “food insecure” people we have here because of the evil rich conservatives. Problem solved!

          3. From your link: “Food security is a term used to describe what our nation should be seeking for all its people ? assured access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life, with no need for recourse to emergency food sources or other extraordinary coping behaviors to meet basic food needs. … Food insecurity refers to the lack of access to enough food to fully meet basic needs at all times due to lack of financial resources.”

            So, based on these definitions, it seems like a person who gets food stamps or goes to a food bank is ‘food insecure.’ That is, even though they can actually get food because of government programs or charity, you’re acting like this is a dire problem.

          4. Low Food Security: This term replaces “Food Insecurity without Hunger.” Generally, people that fall into this category have had to make changes in the quality or the quantity of their food in order to deal with a limited budget.

            So if the price of gas goes up and I replace grilling steaks with brats and burgers every other weekend, my family is food insecure? Because, god knows, my budget isn’t unlimited and I changed the quality of my food.

            1. Wow, I cooked for myself last night rather than go out to eat like I always do. I’m food insecure! Where do I go to get my check from the government?

      3. Taxing people out of their current life station is not on the table, and would be ridiculously counterproductive.

        Since I believe in being honest I will say, yes, this country needs its wealthiest people to be slightly less wealthy. It’s not like they got where they are through ingenuity and hard work. They gamed the system in their favor. So it’s not immoral to tax them a little more.

        Wealth isn’t about absolute numbers anyway. It’s about comparing yourself to your peers. If everyone at the top had their wealth reduced by the same amount, absolutely nothing whatsoever would change about their life station or feeling of superiority for having the most toys. And we’d be able to pay for a functioning society again.

        1. It’s not like they got where they are through ingenuity and hard work. They gamed the system in their favor. So it’s not immoral to tax them a little more.

          The stupid. It hurts.

          1. Well, obviously gaming the system takes ingenuity. But when poor people allegedly do it you call it parasitism.

            1. Game the system? Seriously? You’re willing to say that every (or even most) rich person gamed the system and their position has nothing at all to do with ingenuity or hard work (except ingenuity in gaming the system)?

              1. Re: adam,
                Tony’s epistemology is entirely based on class envy, adam. Rich people simply can’t have made their fortunes by hard work alone, since for Tony, “hard work” means toil and not intellect, knowledge, good sense of timing, arbitrage, invetiveness or innovation.

                1. If CEOs made their money by hard work alone, does that mean they’ve been working 300 times harder than their average worker, up from 40 times the average worker pay in 1980?

                  You guys assume these vast conspiracies for poor people to suck the teat of government, but don’t entertain the possibility that the rich can do it to. Much more effectively, as all evidence suggests.

                  1. If CEOs made their money by hard work alone, does that mean they’ve been working 300 times harder than their average worker, up from 40 times the average worker pay in 1980?

                    Absolutely not. This concept was explained in the 1800’s by Carl Menger and Eugene Bohm-Bauwerk.

                  2. It’s not about how hard they work, it’s about the level where they don’t think they’d get a better deal elsewhere, but the shareholders think they’re getting a good deal in terms of value of leadership. Maybe the shareholders are either misrepresented or idiots, but that’s a separate question.

                    There’s a reason that actors and pro athletes make a fuckton of money — their contribution is amplified dramatically by technology (mass media, specifically), and marginal increases in capability can have huge repercussions on a venture’s success. There’s no reason to think that the rise of super-CEOs isn’t the result of similar mechanics (but with the megacorp being the relevant lever instead of media tech).

                    Of course, just like athletes and actors, sometimes a CEO’s capabilities are way overhyped and he gets a contract he doesn’t deserve. Companies might get a better deal by hiring people as generic executives, and demoting (ie, benching) underperforming CEOs rather than firing them. The CEO would have to weigh whether the hit to his rep would be worth staying — because if he isn’t getting fired, there’s no golden parachute. But what the hell do I know, I’m some random internet commenter, not a Board member.

                  3. and with this, you make the assumption that all types of work are equal in value.

              2. Of course adam. We all know Bill Gates gamed the system. He never did anything for anybody.

            2. I agree with you if you’re talking about the CEOs and BODs of GM, Chrysler, Amtrak, Redflex, NFL/NBA/MBA owners, and any other corporation whose business model is “bilking taxpayers with government consent”, but in general, your everyday rich person just works hard and pays taxes (and hopes to not get audited).

        2. Re: Tony,

          Taxing people out of their current life station is not on the table, and would be ridiculously counterproductive.

          That’s what taxation does, Tony, always: By curtailing choices, people have to do with choices they would probably never do otherwise, regardless of the tax burden.

          Since I believe in being honest I will say, yes, this country needs its wealthiest people to be slightly less wealthy.

          Like, how much is “slightly”?

          It’s not like they got where they are through ingenuity and hard work.

          Really? You know them all?

          They gamed the system in their favor.

          Ah, so you’re a soothsayer?

          So it’s not immoral to tax them a little more.

          What’s immoral is to tax them at all, never mind “a little”.

          Wealth isn’t about absolute numbers anyway. It’s about comparing yourself to your peers.

          Oh? According to whom? You?

          If everyone at the top had their wealth reduced by the same amount, absolutely nothing whatsoever would change about their life station or feeling of superiority for having the most toys.

          SOMETHING will happen if their wealth was reduced at the same time, Tony – YOU would end up being poorer.

          Societies are not funded with plunder. The Romans found out this the hard way.

          1. Well, the Romans lasted a long time on plunder. The trick is, you have to plunder other countries, not your own. Plundering your own country is, well, fucking stupid.

        3. “It’s about comparing yourself to your peers.”

          I don’t judge myself based upon how I feel I am perceived by others.

          You do.

          What a miserable and pathetic life you must lead since there will always be people who are better than something at you and have more of something than you.

          If you judged yourself based upon what matters, your own accomplishments, then what others do and have would not matter.

          So sad.

          So pathetic.

          So Tony.

          1. I’m referencing our current understanding of human psychology, half wit. Wealth doesn’t increase personal satisfaction on an absolute scale. It only affects it insofar as you’re wealthier than the other guys. The wealthy do not need most of the country’s wealth. And they don’t deserve it, and they didn’t earn it. They took it. And you sad little lapdogs are twisting yourself in rhetorical knots defending their right to keep whatever they get their grubby hands on, the rest of humanity be damned.

            1. “Wealth doesn’t increase personal satisfaction on an absolute scale. It only affects it insofar as you’re wealthier than the other guys.”

              I would still like BMW’s and big houses even if everyone on the planet had a BMW and a big house. Your psychology argument has been exploded.

              “The wealthy do not need most of the country’s wealth.”

              That’s right, Tony. All humans really need is food and water. So why don’t you burn down your house, donate all of your savings to charity, and go live in the forest, you lousy materialist.

              “And they don’t deserve it, and they didn’t earn it.”

              Most of them earned it on the market. The others got it through, again, industry consolidation and rent-seeking, made possible by liberal economic policies. Whether they deserve the money or not is entirely opinion, so stop pretending it’s objective fact.

              “They took it.”

              That’s right. I remember when Steve Jobs hired the New York mob to come to my house and threaten to break my knee caps if I didn’t buy my MacBook. I mean, it’s not like I bought the computer voluntarily. Steve Jobs made me do it.

              “And you sad little lapdogs are twisting yourself in rhetorical knots”

              Oh the irony. It is delicious.

              “defending their right to keep whatever they get their grubby hands on”

              No, we’re defending their right to keep whatever they get their grubby hands on through voluntary exchanges. Theft and fraud aren’t allowed in Libertopia.

              “the rest of humanity be damned.”

              Your appeal to emotion is noted.

              1. Theft and fraud aren’t allowed in Libertopia.

                So while not a single perpetrator of fraud in the financial industry has been sent to jail or even asked to relinquish some of his ill-gotten loot, you guys are still trashing poor people and middle class workers. Your priorities are completely fucked up. You just say you’re against rent seeking and then continue to ignore the abuses of the rich. Because YOU have a psychological issue with the wealthy. You are the envious ones. Which is better than saying the pathetic sycophants.

            2. The wealthy do not need most of the country’s wealth. And they don’t deserve it, and they didn’t earn it. They took it.

              While this may be an imposter, you’re usually better than this, Tony. You know that this is unsupportable nonsense.

              And you sad little lapdogs are twisting yourself in rhetorical knots defending their right to keep whatever they get their grubby hands on, the rest of humanity be damned.

              Ummmm….Tony, you do realize that your solution to the disproportionate accumulation of wealth by the rich amounts to the very same thing, right? The extraction and distribution of their wealth doesn’t come from any earning or notion of “deserve”. It would only amount to forceable confiscation, which you lament against when discussing the rich. Can’t have it both ways.

            3. Dude, there’s a difference between “our current knowledge” and random b.s. repeated in a few pop-psychology filler articles.

            4. Why should “satisfaction” be the standard? Satisfaction helps us measure well-being, but it can be deceived, as you are pointing out. Fact is, if you place people in situation A (say, 18th century lifestyle), and then place them in situation B (say, 21st century lifestyle), or vice versa, they don’t need the presence of other people to tell them which is better.

              People might be better at judging comparative good than absolute good (and the differences most readily apparent will be between themselves and others in their society), but that’s no cause for thinking that there is no absolute good.

            5. “It only affects it insofar as you’re wealthier than the other guys.”

              Envy. So sad. So pathetic. So Tony.

              I don’t care about the other guys. I’m providing for my family better than I did a year ago, and that is all that matters to me.

              I am satisfied.

              Are you Tony? No?

              So sad. So pathetic.

              So needs to do something to brag about other than sucking dick.

        4. It’s not like they got where they are through ingenuity and hard work. They gamed the system in their favor. So it’s not immoral to tax them a little more.

          According to you, rights are determined by written law. So even if it was true that not one rich person in the country became rich through ingenuity or hard work, there’s no such thing as gaming the system, just exercising the rights that were granted to them by the highest possible source.

        5. Hard work is irrelevant, dumbass. You could work your ass off all day making shit sandwiches and the market would leave you justifiably poor and destitute. Why? Because nobody wants a god damned shit sandwich.

          You make money by providing things that are in demand. Doesn’t matter if it takes hard work or no work.

          Your problem is you think values are determined by intentions. Well, keep paving that road to Hell. Good intentions don’t mean shit, only good outcomes matter.

          1. Tony, still adheres to the long refuted Labor Theory of Value.

          2. Oh so what high-demand product are hedge fund managers creating?

        6. “Wealth isn’t about absolute numbers anyway. It’s about comparing yourself to your peers.”

          So if everybody were equally poor, we’d all be rich?

          Sweet!

  10. “We’ve already got a progressive income tax in Vermont, and we can’t get more progressive because we’ll lose the few payers that we have. We don’t have any more tax capacity.”

    -Peter Shumlin, democratic governor, Vermont

    1. Hey Pete, guess what? It’s too late. Everybody in my generation with a decent career path is getting out. Enjoy keeping the store clerks, ski bums, and maybe a couple of nurses. The rest of us are not going to look back.

      Good luck with your economy, you’re gonna need it when you close down the power plant supplying a third of the states electricity.

      PS: Thanks for the scholarship.

  11. I thought it was something like
    Tax the rich and eat the poor til there are no poor no more

    hobo steak is an eco-friendly and recession-proof part of a balanced diet!

    1. It’s also rife with carcinogens.

      1. So you die of cancer, saving the government run health care system a few bucks. Win-win.

      2. Don’t order the hobo steak until I can find Pops!

  12. What do the numbers look like when you add other taxes and government fees?

    What do those percentages look like when comparing disposable income instead of total income?

    Poor people don’t pay much in taxes because most of their income goes to food and shelter.

  13. Poor people don’t pay much in taxes because most of their income goes to food and shelter lottery tickests, cheap booze and cigarettes.

    The poor buy food with food stamps and pay very little for Section 8 housing.

    1. The poor people I know sometimes buy flat panel TV’s and XBox’s.

      1. And HBO. But not Cinemax since they dumped the skin.

        1. Free porn. The greatest gift for the greatest number?

        2. Tell me about it. I’ve never been able to afford premium channels but it seems everyone I’ve ever met on public assistance has them.

    2. Thus, why the poor have the highest effective tax rate for Excise Taxes.

  14. Inequality is not a problem, inequality is the natural order of things. Should Paris Hilton be forced to undergo ugly-surgery with a reverse liposuction so she can be lose her size-0 look? Of course not!

    The fact that the poor pay the least and want the most is very telling. Well, this is not the land of the freeloader but the land of the free. Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Howard Stern and most people who are rich today came from humble backgrounds. They didn’t steal anything, they earned it and deserve to keep it.

    I say it’s time for a flat tax, 10% across the board.

    Shariah4America: The Muslim Extremist Extravaganza coming to DC.
    http://libertarians4freedom.bl…..ready.html

    1. I say it’s time for a flat tax, 10% across the board.

      Already there, baby. Now let’s get the gov’t to do the same.

      1. Thanks! It’s so nice when someone agrees with me. 🙂

    2. your right-wing fascist talk has to stop. you’re making me feel inadequate!

  15. May I propose the libertarian version:
    “From each according to his need; to each according to his ability.”
    The contrast with Marxism couldn’t be sharper.

    1. Hows about “to each and from each in roughly equal amounts, barring gifts and charity and shit.”

  16. A request for article writers. Please always specify whether tax rates include payroll taxes. Also if you bother mentioning the share of taxes per income x-tile, you should also mention the share of income per income x-tile. And as long as I’m being a whiny little bitch, always specify whether or not dollar values have been corrected for inflation.

    I think you reach the same conclusion, but you end up forestalling a lot of yeah-buts.

    1. The CBO study clearly says it includes payroll tax.

  17. Looking further, at the share of income tax paid, the bottom 40% pay a negative % of the total! The top 20% pay 86.3% and the top 5% pay 60.9% and top 1% 39.1 In 1979 the top 5% paid only 35.6% of the total.

  18. Good news for once.

    An even better system would replace all regressive taxes with a unified progressive tax aimed at consumption, and would require multi-year balanced budgets (complete with rainy-day funds), so that spending increases would normally have to be paid for with tax increases, rather than being put on a multi-generational credit card.

    1. Re: Danny,

      so that spending increases would normally have to be paid for with tax increases, rather than being put on a multi-generational credit card.

      How about no spending, and leaving the rest of the people alone?

      1. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

        That’s just crazy talk.

  19. It doesn’t matter. Tyler Cowen had an even better chart about how the bottom 20% of Americans live better than 80% of the rest of the world.

    The point is: “they” don’t read our charts. They circle jerk as much we circle jerk. At some point, we’re going to have to admit that “perceived” inequality is a type of “real” inequality because it does have real effects.

  20. In the interest of being readable, please assume that Americans who have been educated in public schools won’t know what a decile or quintile are. Just say top 10% and top 20%.

  21. OK, that really does make a whole lot of sense.

    http://www.complete-privacy.eu.tc

  22. The Congressional Budget Office figures do not match the IRS figures.

    http://keepamericaatwork.com/?p=9536

    My research shows a totally different picture and it doesn’t account for the deductions that they have.

    Same thing applies to our corporations.

    http://keepamericaatwork.com/?p=23956

    1. Wow, one link was to a retarded blog post and the second link might as well have been a picture of your cock.

      1. Please don’t give the troll any ideas.

  23. I hate statistics like that stated in a vacuum.
    I can understand the issue, and the desire to have the government financed by all citizens equally, but numbers like that in a vacuum do not represent anything meaningful.

    The problem is that the income of the top quintiles has risen more than the income of the bottom quintiles. The tax distribution reflects the income distribution.

    About the only way around that is with a VAT across the board. Then the tax is based on consumption, not on income.

    1. “The problem is that the income of the top quintiles has risen more than the income of the bottom quintiles.”

      True, and it is a shame they avoid pointing it out.

      “The tax distribution reflects the income distribution.”

      This is where you go off the rail. Credits and breaks have unfairly shifted the burden due to the creation of the negative tax growth in the bottom quintile. While the rich most certainly have shouldered an increased burden due to gathering a larger percentage of available income, they’ve shouldered an unfair responsibility to cover the burden of those removing tax from the system as opposed to contributing to it.

  24. “…bottom 20% of Americans live better than 80% of the rest of the world.” Think of wealth redistribution as a stability tax instead, allowing the best and brightest to keep most of what they create rather than the bottom 20% rising up every 20 to 30 years and destroying what everybody else spends a lifetime saving or creating. Unless you enjoy a good peasant revolt…

    1. That’s right, because the middle and lower class don’t benefit at all from the increase in labor productivity brought upon by capital investment, most of which is funded by the rich. Not at all.

    2. “Think of wealth redistribution as a stability tax instead, allowing the best and brightest to keep most of what they create rather than the bottom 20% rising up every 20 to 30 years and destroying what everybody else spends a lifetime saving or creating.”

      The last resort of the lying left: “Think of it as a protection racket”.

  25. In the last 30 years the middle and lower class hasnt recieved jack from productivity gains and have seen their buying power decrease in leaps and bounds…

    1. How much would that computer you just posted have cost 30 years ago?

    2. “In the last 30 years the middle and lower class hasnt recieved jack from productivity gains and have seen their buying power decrease in leaps and bounds…”

      Bull………………………….
      shit.

  26. Tony|2.28.11 @ 4:58PM|#
    “Of course, at least 50 million people are living in “food insecure” households..”

    You stupid shit! You should know better than to offer the crap phrase of ‘food insecurity’ on a board where people know how to find the actual definition! There isn’t a person in the world who isn’t ‘food insecure’ at least once a year!
    What an ignoramus.

  27. Every raise Ive recieved in 4 years has been offset by the rising food and energy costs. Everytime the stock market tanks, the price of food goes up, because investors dump money into commodities. Computers may be getting cheaper, but I can’t eat a computer.

    1. And yet you can afford one, and are apparently not dead of starvation. Your life sounds impossibly difficult.

      Maybe you should visit a pawn shop.

    2. “the price of food goes up, because investors dump money into commodities.”
      Uh, right.

      “Computers may be getting cheaper, but I can’t eat a computer.”
      But you seem to be able to buy a computer even with those higher food prices.
      See the claims of an ignoramus here? sure do.

  28. Unlike most of you libertarian therorist, I live in reality, and reality is that where I live the vast gains in wealth made by the top 5% are pricing out everyone in the lower 50%. Average housing price of $400,000 4 bucks for a gallon of gas or a gallon of milk ect, ect.. Dont want Governmemt hand outs, but those taxes that are bitched about are about controlling inflationary forces, the ones that 2 rounds of bush tax unleashed with a vengence

    1. ZedZilla|2.28.11 @ 9:46PM|#
      “Unlike most of you libertarian therorist, I live in reality…”

      Yep, when busted for bullshit, claim a halo.

    2. “but those taxes that are bitched about are about controlling inflationary forces,”

      WHAT!?

  29. And I bought my last computer right before the housing market tanked.

    1. ZedZilla|2.28.11 @ 9:47PM|#
      “And I bought my last computer right before the housing market tanked.”

      So……………
      what?

      1. So it was more recent than 30 years ago.

  30. he calls BS but ads nothing of substance… Sevo, if you dont understand inflation take a basic econ class,but I will explain anyway. A rise in money supply wiyhout a corresponding rise in goods and services results in… you got it! INFLATION! Cutting taxes twice increased the money supply without a corresponding rise in goods and services. Housing bubble any one? cheap ass credit? rising commodities prices without a corresponding rise in demand or decrease in supply? If your dumb ass does not get that go back to school.

    1. ZedZilla|2.28.11 @ 11:20PM|#
      “he calls BS but ads nothing of substance”

      Sorry you have a problem with being called on your BULLSHIT. It *is* substance.
      If you have something other than bullshit, please post it, bullshitter.

    2. “Cutting taxes twice increased the money supply without a corresponding rise in goods and services.”

      Says you.

    3. But getting other countries to buy our bonds and trying to float over 1.4 trillion into the economy didn’t increase our money supply at all?

      Holy shit, dude. Tax cuts? Not even a mention of monetary policy? The housing bubble as a function of interest rates and the Fed? Cheap-ass credit because of the bundling of what were once questionable assets and computer modeling by IB’s and fund managers? Not to mention that economic growth had been increasing in foreign countries so much, we couldn’t find the assets to sell them? So they took our mortgages?

      And you’re going with tax cuts?

      I’m asking so many questions…Win The Future?

      Whoa, my economics degree is almost completely useless, but so were those comments.

      1. I meant ZedZilla’s. He’s not using nested threads.

    4. Wrong!

      Tax cuts don’t create inflation, deficits do. Government revenues following the Bush tax cuts weren’t significantly less than projected, it was the spending that went out of control. If you want to find the inflation in fiscal policy, blame that.

  31. Its amazing that on a supposedly libertarian forum so few of the commentors actually understand economics

    1. ZedZilla|2.28.11 @ 11:26PM|#
      “Its amazing that on a supposedly libertarian forum so few of the commentors actually understand economics’

      You should learn some before you embarrass yourself. Again.

    2. So does that count as a double drink?

  32. Once again the commentors have no actual substance to offer, no counter to why im wrong, not even a point to make. Just bitches being contrary. You win. I wont be back.

    1. I thought about offering a counter argument but realized your obvious lack of knowledge did a better job making my case than I could.

  33. Wow talk about totally missing the message. Of course their percentage of the income tax burden has gone up, their PERCENTAGE OF THE INCOME of the nation has gone up. (and a lot faster, I might add)

  34. Letterman’s right – Rand Paul’s numbers are WRONG. Paul says that the richest 1% pay 1/3 of the taxes – which is wrong according to the CBO data linked above. In 2006, the richest 1% paid 5.6% of the taxes.

    Rand Paul meant to say (I think) that the richest 1% pay about a third of their income in taxes.

    Letterman’s right – Rand Paul’s numbers were wrong.

    1. Neat, you can’t read a chart.

  35. Nice of you to include only a consideration of income tax, the one form of truly progressive taxation we have. Consider ALL forms of taxation, and then compare those rates to the amount of income earned by the wealthiest, and you wonder why we don’t tax the top 1% even more!

  36. any of you anti-tax dupes ever stop to think about the cost of all the things you wouldn’t give up under any circumstances? Like roads, a military, first responders, free public education, etc???

  37. ast decades as well, as per this CBO chart, which shows “Share of Total Federal Tax Liabil

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