The rich do not pay the most taxes, they pay ALL the taxes [income taxes, that is]

This interesting little chestnut from CNBC:
Buried inside a Congressional Budget Office report this week was this nugget: when it comes to individual income taxes, the top 40 percent of wage earners in America pay 106 percent of the taxes. The bottom 40 percent…pay negative 9 percent.

You read that right. One group is paying more than 100 percent of individual income taxes, the other is paying less than zero.

It’s right there in Table 3 on page 13 of the report. The numbers are based on 2010 IRS and Census Bureau figures.
Here’s the chart referenced in the above article:

The CBO report can be read on the CBO website here.

(How does one pay “negative” income tax? Because of refundable tax credits)

Greedy so-and-sos. They obviously need to start paying their fair share. The bottom 40% of Americans are clearly over-taxed. :shrug:

Curious. This bypasses all of the taxes that the poor pay. Simply to prop up a false impression of our country. Sad.


How’s that? The table above showed social insurance taxes. The table above included excise taxes (like gas, tobacco). The table above showed corporate taxes. What (federal) taxes did it not include?

It shows that despite making 14.7% of all before-tax income (and 17.1% of after tax income) in the country (from table 1 of the linked report), the bottom 40% pay 4.2% of all taxes.

So what did the report bypass? How did it create a false impression of the country?

As a person in that lowest 40%, I assure you that the decreased wages of the past 30 years make this sort of tax subsidy necessary, if you are trying to raise a family. It’s difficult to raise a family on one salary anymore, and I think it makes a lot of sense that the federal government doesn’t add to this burden. (Remember, this lowest 40% is paying state and local income taxes, along with property tax, sales tax, etc.)

I understand. And I agree that a lot of the use taxes at the state level will impact those who spend a higher percentage of their income on day-to-day expenses than others.

But pardon me for noting the irony of the constant calls from the left for more “fairness” at the federal level in light of the numbers above. It should be noted that in today’s world, among other rights, the right of economic initiative is often suppressed. Yet it is a right which is important not only for the individual but also for the common good. Experience shows us that the denial of this right, or its limitation in the name of an alleged “equality” of everyone in society, diminishes, or in practice absolutely destroys the spirit of initiative, that is to say the creative subjectivity of the citizen. As a consequence, there arises, not so much a true equality as a “leveling down.” In the place of creative initiative there appears passivity, dependence and submission to the bureaucratic apparatus which, as the only “ordering” and “decision-making” body - if not also the “owner”- of the entire totality of goods and the means of production, puts everyone in a position of almost absolute dependence, which is similar to the traditional dependence of the worker-proletarian in capitalism. This provokes a sense of frustration or desperation and predisposes people to opt out of national life, impelling many to emigrate and also favoring a form of “psychological” emigration.
[RIGHT]- John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis [/RIGHT]

[LEFT] (Also see S.Th. II-II-61-2)

Oh, I don’t defend any politician’s rhetoric. :thumbsup:

This is a social justice issue. The richest pay most of the taxes, as they should.

When one considers that fully employed people at places like Walmart, and married enlisted in the US Military require public assistance, just to feed and clothe their children (which by the way translates to corporate welfare for Walmart by reducing the wages it must pay), it does not seem so unfair that a person who can afford multiple luxury homes, cars that command 6 and 7 digit prices, and so on… should bear a larger tax burden.

The well documented fact is that the middle class is disappearing, while the top class is growing richer.

If your point is that the current state of things is unfair to the rich, or that they are suffering hardship from it, compared to the poor, then you will need to do more than simply point out that the rich pay more in taxes than the people who can’t afford decent medical care, or a college education for their kids.

The “rich” pay all of those too PS. Not sure what point you are trying to make.

I suspect that the point is that a person or family who is not even making a “living wage”, that is someone who cannot afford to pay for food, shelter, education, healthcare, insurance, and transportation on the wage which they earn, finds that 4% of their income paid in taxes is a much more difficult burden than it is say… for the person who wears a solid gold watch, flies in a private jet, spends $20K-$1M to refuel a boat, to pay 50% of their income in taxes.

Somehow having to fly first class and eat caviar does not seem like deprivation to me, as it does not to be able to get good medical care.

Also, remember, that while the occasional rags to riches story is part of the hype extolling the “american system,” the reality for most is that the rich conserve their wealth, and they remain rich. The poor do not generally have an opportunity to become rich, or even to rise out of poverty to the middle class, as the middle class shrinks due to declining real net income. In spite of the disproportionate tax burden, the net income of the rich is increasing rapidly at this time, because technology and cheap labor is raising profit margins by reducing costs. This trend displaces the middle class jobs which once existed, and puts the wages which the middle class once earned into the pockets of the resource owners (and also into the tax coffers).

One reason that the rich continue to pay more in taxes is that they are not collecting the wages which they once paid for themselves in profits. The government is now burdened with redistributing some of that wealth in the form of social services.

I believe that things are not perilous yet, but they could be in my lifetime. We may see some radical and violent changes, if the middle class continues to erode in the same way that it has been eroding. When people can no longer afford to support their own children, then anarchy and violence may erupt. History does have repeating themes which we should heed.

I am very pleased that Pope Francis is speaking out on this issue.

Are you insinuating that Walmart (or Target or Kmart or Best Buy or Macy’s or any other retailer) would pay their people better if there were no welfare programs?

If your point is that the current state of things is unfair to the rich, or that they are suffering hardship from it, compared to the poor, then you will need to do more than simply point out that the rich pay more in taxes than the people who can’t afford decent medical care, or a college education for their kids.

No, my point is that it is ironic that people like you say they don’t pay their fair share. I just wonder what fair would be to people like you?

Would it be fair if all of their property was confiscated by the government and redistributed? 75% of their property? 50% of their property?

Mark, I am saying this with no malice, because I find you posts interesting, but why is it so important to you to post items and thoughts that are more politically decisive than spiritually unifying?

The Church doesn’t support any type of government.

What it is concerned about is the freedom of religious belief and practice.

I remember Pope John Paul II saying some remarks similiar to Pope Francis’ when the former was elected. Later after some more exposure to Western economies after growing up in Poland, JPII said that the best ‘economic’ system – his personal opinion – was the free market with a strong moral voice.

I also remember reading that Mexico, and not the USA, was the center of learning for the New World. The Spanish colonialists through the leadership of the church there, primarily Bishop Zumarraga, was responsible for educating the native Indian peoples, and giving women and girls the right to an education hundreds of years before North America provided that right.

Indians were teaching at Mexican universities in the early 1500’s. There came about a well being of most people there. However, in time the clergy began to be perceived as wealthy, contradicting the Gospel, which in turn led to the Masonic Revolution and later persecution and martyrdom of good priests and Mexican Catholics. After that, the country became poor, and now today the condition in parts of Mexico are horrific due to the drug cartels.

I remember St. John Vianney in time being responsible for closing down the bars in Ars, France, and then the end of poverty.

The middle class is the one now carrying the highest tax burden. The average American is $10,000 in debt. Jobs are going overseas; now even our produce such as chicken is being sent to China for processing and sent back here for consumption…that plan now in the making.

I think those who are the most rich now are the transnational corporate heads and Washington, DC is the richest city. The transnationals are essentially in identity nationless. Their profits compared to combined low and middle income ,makes ours a blip.

My retired husband just found out he lost his medical insurance provider, his pension cost up $15 but must pay out of pocket until he gets expenses covered, and Medicare Advantage is intended to be phased out which is providing exceptional care for its patients vs Medicare, of whom many doctors no longer want to serve because of lack of compensation.

It takes 3 incomes now to raise a family. And to think the young people will take on the huge national debt, pay through insurance the sick and infirm, college debt…they are already economically destroyed. How can they even afford to have a family of their own.

I heard our administration say just so many years back that it would be the elderly who would have to sacrifice. So there goes our veneration and care of the aged.

The young and the old…what care for them???

And the rich who subsidize our taxes…they can always leave our country and go someplace else to live without impunity.

Anyway, I see the present changes happening in our country the work of a death culture that will destroy the future of our young and take away care of the old, the weak, the infirm.

This is the world news forum. That’s why the “politically” anything posts.

Would you have me post kumbaya stuff instead?

Take a look at some of the threads here:

Court in India criminalizes homosexuality. Those who are in favor of sodomy would decry that bill as divisive.

U. S. Fast food workers strike. That, by its very nature, is divisive, as it puts the poor, oppressed, fast food worker against the wealthy, greedy franchise owner.

The trouble is that when there is not a common frame of reference, everything is divisive. Sadly, there is not a common point of reference even within the Church. Or on CAF.

Your whole premise is based on your definition of ‘fairness’. It’s not about only about how much the bottom 40% pay compared to the top 60%, it’s about their relative incomes. Since you are talking “income taxes” I think you have done a good job showing how much income inequality we have.

If we want the bottom 40% to pay your definition of their “fair share” then obviously the wages need to be raised, no? You can’t take what isn’t there.

It’s kind of like the rich kid complaining that he’s the only one being made to use the inconveniently located students’ parking lot, and that no one else has to. Well, duh, if everyone else rides a bike or walks…

Again, though, in order to be fair, how much should be confiscated from the top two quintiles?

I agree with all but one thing, which I’ll mention at the end.

Unfortunately, our government is now dominated by a political party that has dedicated itself to abortion, a parody of marriage and family, and unending introduction of programs that discourage employment.

So, the wealthy can make money on a stock market that’s founded on artificially cheap money and “slimming down” corporations. The wealthy can always make money. Always have and always will. But that’s not the problem.

The problem is that labor has been cheapened by political people who want inexpensive immigrant labor (that will someday vote dependency for itself) and a presently voting populace that’s dependant on government. And so, it discourages employment in every way. Certainly, the aged contribute little, so they are “throw away” people, just as are the unborn. The real answer to poor distribution of income is to increase the demand for labor. Always was true, and always will be. Ever since 1929 when the government first started keeping track, labor’s share of GDP is highest at full employment, but decreases relative to capital’s share as unemployment rises. So what we have now is no surprise.

Let me quibble with you a bit on China processing poultry. China can only do that at the margins. Virtually all poultry uses in the U.S. demand fresh product. Fast food chains do, supermarket purchasers do, restaurants do. They will not accept even frozen product. You can’t ship fresh product to China and back, or even from China to here without freezing it. What China can do is process some of the secondary products. Presently, for example, the Maquilladora plants in Mexico take the dark meat (which Americans won’t buy in sufficient quantity) and cut it into cubes and put it on skewers for the oriental market. That work could definitely go to China. But Mexico will be the loser on that, not the U.S. A tremendous amount of poultry product goes into dried product of all sorts, powdered, actually. But the process is so automated and inexpensive that I doubt even that production will go to China. The companies who do that are typically almost next door to the processing plants, and within minutes of production, it’s processed further.

I think the problem lies in the fact that our income tax system is horrible. It is based on the fatal conceit that we need government to tell us what to do with our money. For example, if our employer pays part of our health insurance bill for us, we are not taxed on that money. If the employer gives us cash to buy our own insurance, we are taxed. What is the sense in that. If we take out a big mortgage, we get a tax deduction. If we buy a small house for cash, we get no such deduction. If you are a senior citizen, you get a bigger standard deduction than everyone else. We have all these issues with our tax system that have no economic justification to them.

By how much do you mean total amount or proportion? If there is no ceiling to income, there should be no ceiling to income tax in terms of total amount paid. If you mean proportion, as in an exact percentage - that is not a question I think I am qualified to answer alone and, in my estimation, it is a legitimate matter for debate.

The super rich have left earning a traditional income behind and aren’t taxed at the same rate. They get most of their money from assets that appreciate in value without creating a taxable income, and get to borrow against their wealth to finance their lifestyle. They end up paying a much lower tax rate than you or I.

You aren’t going to get that kind of wealth by earning an income because it is just taxed at such a high rate, as the chart shows. So if you’re talking about the super wealthy not paying their fare share you really have to talk about those in the top 0.1%, because including those who get their wealth from a high wage kind of muddies the issue.


“people like me”… ?

I won’t respond to that sort of question.

I will say that I believe that we have a structural problem in our economy, as technology changes. The means of production are shifting more and more to the wealthy, as they continue to amass the robotics and other technology which is replacing the former middle class wage earner. I don’t hear many people talking about the implications of this phenomenon, other than to point out that the rich are getting much (not a little bit) richer as a result, and that the middle class is disappearing.

Do you see this as a social problem? Do you think that it is something which we will need to address as a society? If not, then at what unemployment rate does it become one? 15%, 20%, 25%…? What does one do with displaced workers in a society which no longer requires their services? Do you simply create a slave class of poor people to provide service to the wealthy? That seems like one possible outcome to the current trends. Or, do you also disagree with that perception?

I am of the opinion that the problem will continue to get worse, until we see some great social upheaval. I would much rather see a reasoned and measured approach to achieving what I see as basic social justice in our society.

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