Sept. 13, 2004


I have received many e-mails and phone calls that ask the question: Could you supply me with facts so I can win arguments with my spouse/colleagues/friends/sworn mortal enemies?

Yes. Beginning today, I will post regular tutorials in the Snow Campaign School. Each entry will address a specific question, and provide links to resources that will give you the ready information to astonish all those who come your way.

The facts on taxes: Who pays? 

Let’s begin with taxes. You no doubt have heard a lot about the allegation that our tax code discriminates against the middle class, “favors” the rich, and leaves the “lumpenproletariat” struggling to make ends meet.

Wrong, wrong and wrong!

“The Rich Get Richer …”

Let’s start with the question of who pays what. A big chunk of “wealthy” tax filers aren’t individuals at all, but businesses. As a consequence, tax hikes on top earners sock businesses. You can find the numbers here (

Meanwhile, there’s no support for the claim that the middle class is getting fleeced. The tax cuts pushed through by Team Bush not only have taken 7.8 million families off the tax rolls (, they also have shifted more of the overall tax burden onto those atop the income ladder. Here’s a graphic representation. ( Also check this release from the Joint Economic Committee of the House of Representatives

The short version of the story is this: Roughly half of the public (54 percent) shoulders 100 percent of the income tax burden. The other 46 percent of working-age Americans get more from the federal government than they contribute. A whopping 44 million Americans don’t pay a penny in taxes ((! Then there are the millions who receive more in benefits and tax breaks than they pay in taxes: (

To recap, the rich don’t get it easy. The top 1 percent of earners pays 31.6 percent of income taxes; the top five percent, 52.6 percent; and the top 20 percent, 82.1 percent. The rich are getting soaked. So is the middle class. Nearly half the country, meanwhile, contributes little or nothing – which is a bad thing, not a good one, and a reason why the system needs radical reform. But that’s for another day.

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