Only The Rich Pay Taxes
Top 50% of Wage Earners Pay 96.09% of Income Taxes

Originally Published on

The IRS has released the FY 2000 data for individual income tax returns. The numbers illustrate a truth that will startle you: that half of Americans with the highest incomes pays 96.09% of all income tax. This nukes the liberal lie that the rich don't pay taxes. The top 1%, who earn 20.81% of all income covered under the income tax, are paying 37.42% of the federal tax bite.

Think of it this way: less than four dollars out of every $100 paid in income taxes in the United States is paid by someone in the bottom 50% of wage earners. Are the top half millionaires? Noooo, more like "thousandaires." The top 50% were those individuals or couples filing jointly who earned $26,000 and up in 1999. (The top 1% earned $293,000-plus.) Americans who want to are continuing to improve their lives - and those who don't want to, aren't. Here are the wage earners in each category and the percentages they pay:

Top 5% - 56.47% of all income taxes; Top 10% - 67.33% of all income taxes; Top 25% - 84.01% of all income taxes. Top 50% - 96.09% of all income taxes. The bottom 50%? They pay a paltry 3.91% of all income taxes. The top 1% is paying more than ten times the federal income taxes than the bottom 1%! And who earns what? The top 1% earns 20.81% of all income. The top 5% earns 35.30% of the pie. The top 10% earns 46.01%; the top 25% earns 67.15%, and the top 50% earns 87.01% of all the income.

The Rich Earned Their Dough, They Didn't Inherit It (Except Ted Kennedy)
The bottom 50% is paying a tiny bit of the taxes, so you can't give them much of a tax cut by definition. Yet these are the people to whom the Democrats claim to want to give tax cuts. Remember this the next time you hear the "tax cuts for the rich" business. Understand that the so-called rich are about the only ones paying taxes anymore.

I had a conversation with a woman who identified herself as Misty on Wednesday. She claimed to be an accountant, yet she seemed unaware of the Alternative Minimum Tax, which now ensures that everyone pays some taxes. AP reports that the AMT, "designed in 1969 to ensure 155 wealthy people paid some tax," will hit "about 2.6 million of us this year and 36 million by 2010." That's because the tax isn't indexed for inflation! If your salary today would've made you mega-rich in '69, that's how you're taxed.

Misty tried the old line that all wealth is inherited. Not true. John Weicher, as a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank, wrote in his February 13, 1997 Washington Post Op-Ed, "Most of the rich have earned their wealth... Looking at the Fortune 400, quite a few even of the very richest people came from a standing start, while others inherited a small business and turned it into a giant corporation." What's happening here is not that "the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer." The numbers prove it.