The Super Rich: Should We Hate Them Or Be Thanking Them?


Over at Yahoo, they’ve done a piece on the super rich that has a rather arbitrary negative slant to it. Sadly, that has become far too common of late. It’s called, Super rich see federal taxes drop dramatically.

The Internal Revenue Service tracks the tax returns with the 400 highest adjusted gross incomes each year. The average income on those returns in 2007, the latest year for IRS data, was nearly $345 million. Their average federal income tax rate was 17 percent, down from 26 percent in 1992.

….The top income tax rate is 35 percent, so how can people who make so much pay so little in taxes? The nation’s tax laws are packed with breaks for people at every income level. There are breaks for having children, paying a mortgage, going to college, and even for paying other taxes. Plus, the top rate on capital gains is only 15 percent.

Oh, those greedy rich people! They’re always getting away with murder! Of course, there are a few other details worth noting in the article that shine a different light on things.

There are so many breaks that 45 percent of U.S. households will pay no federal income tax for 2010, according to estimates by the Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank.

…More than half of the nation’s tax revenue came from the top 10 percent of earners in 2007. More than 44 percent came from the top 5 percent. Still, the wealthy have access to much more lucrative tax breaks than people with lower incomes.

Obama wants the wealthy to pay so “the amount of taxes you pay isn’t determined by what kind of accountant you can afford.”

So, let’s see if we have this straight.

Five percent of Americans pay 44% of all the income taxes. The next 50% of Americans pay 56% of all income taxes and finally, 45% of Americans pay no income taxes at all. The conclusion from looking at those numbers is supposed to be that the richest Americans are putting one over on the rest of the country?

Isn’t that kind of a bizarre interpretation? We have more than 100 million Americans who don’t pay a single dollar of the money they earn in income tax, but we’re all supposed to be angry at the 5% of the population who shoulder 45% of the income tax burden? Gee, could it be that they’re actually paying PLENTY, but we have politicians who call them greedy because they want to spend even more of their money? Could the problem really be not that the rich are paying more than their fair share, but that our government spends far too much? Instead of complaining about people who are paying so much of the tax burden in this country, maybe we should be thanking them for paying their own way AND chipping in so much extra besides — that almost half the population doesn’t have to pay any income tax at all.

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