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The Tax Code Is Already Steeply-Progressive


Posted by Ryan Ellis on Monday, September 19th, 2011, 1:00 PM PERMALINK


Small business tax hike.  President Obama is calling on higher-income households to pay their “fair share.”  The first point is that the majority of all small business profits face taxation in households making more than $200,000 per year.  To raise taxes on these households is to also raise taxes on jobs-creating small businesses

The income tax is already steeply-progressive.  Most income taxes are already paid by households at the top of the income scale (Source = IRS):
 

Earnings Min. Income Threshold % All Income Taxes Paid
Top 1% $380,000 40%
Lower Half $33,000 3%


While the top 1% of income earners pay 40% of all income taxes, the lower half of income earners pay almost nothing.  For all intents and purposes, there is no income tax burden on the lower half of income earners.

The income tax has gotten more progressive over time, not less.  According to the IRS, the income tax has gotten more progressive over time:
 

  1986 Today
Top 1% 26% of all income taxes 40% of all income taxes
Lower Half 6% of all income taxes 3% of all income taxes


Even when payroll taxes and other taxes are included, the tax code is extremely-progressive already (Source = CBO):
 

  Average Earnings % of All Taxes Paid
Top 1% $1.87 million 28% of all taxes paid
Lowest 20% $18,400 <1% of all taxes paid


What do you think?  Is the tax code progressive enough today, or do we need to raise taxes?


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