A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Who Pays the Most Taxes?

Top 1% of wage-earners pay 34.27% of taxes

Top 5% of wage-earners pay 54.36 % of taxes

Top 10% of wage-earners pay 65.84% of taxes

Top 25% of wage-earners pay 83.88% of taxes

Top 50% of wage-earners pay 96.54% of taxes

The bottom 50% of wage-earners pay less than 4% of taxes.

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Cross-Posted at RedBlueChristian


preacherman said...

I am just glad I live in Texas and don't have to pay State Income taxes. I did live in California for a time and that state definatly has the most taxes than any other place I have lived. In Cali I payed State income tax, tax on groceries, taxes on vehicles ($800 for tags from being out of state), taxes on almost everything you can possibly think of taxing.
Thank you Allan for sharing these statistics with us. I know it helps this close to the election.

Anonymous said...

Just have to say that I have so loved your truth-meters on the left hand side of the page. It is so helpful to remember that both candidates have so issues with truth about themselves and each other. Thanks!

Country Parson said...

The payment of taxes is skewed because income distribution is skewed. It's hard for the poor to pay taxes. So called redistribution is not about taking $$ away from the wealth to "give" it to the less wealthy or poor. It's about restructuring the system to permit greater opportunity for greater prosperity among those who are not in the top 1,3 or 5%. The long term effect would also be a greater distribution of taxes paid across the whole of the population. Parenthetically, I'm always amused by those who delight in low state tax rates and always vote against any increase, but rage against poor roads and lousy schools.

elm said...

Help me to interpret these statistics...does this mean that the middle class is taxed the most at this point?

Anonymous said...

I believe these statistics are only pertinent to income taxes. A better gauge would be to measure percentage of income spent on all taxes (sales tax, state income tax, property tax, FICA, etc). I think you would find that the total tax burden in this country does hit the lower 50% of the population pretty hard... unless you live in Alaska, where their socialist system taxes the oil industry and gives every man, woman and child a $3200 check. :)

Blessings to all!

Allan R. Bevere said...


Yes, the payment is skewed because income is skewed. The point of listing this is two-fold:

First, to make the point that the Democrats are being disingenuious when they intimate that the wealthy pay so little of the federal income tax in this country, and that it is the middle class that bears the brunt. The top twenty-five percent of wage earners pay almost 84% of the taxes. That hardly sounds like they are getting off easy.

Second, to make the point that the Republicans are being disingenuous by suggesting that Barack Obama is going to introduce some new kind of redistributive tax system that penalyzes the rich and takes the burden off the middle class. We already have that system in place. Obama is just proposing to change the numbers to some extent.

The other thing in reference to the whole issue of the greater distribution of taxes, is that business will simply figures its higher taxes into the cost of doing business-- so the higher taxes the "rich" pay just gets passed on to the middle class and the poor. That is indeed the reality of it.

So, in practicality there is no greater or fairer distribution. Consumers pay for the higher taxes levyed against business in higher prices (inflation), which hurts the poor more than anything. And for those smaller businesses who have trouble raising their prices because of narrow profit margins, they will cut costs by cutting what is most expensive for them-- wages and jobs.


No, the middle class is not taxed the most-- the rich are. I am not suggesting that is fair or unfair; what I am saying is that it is a myth to believe that the middle-class is getting soaked with taxes and that the rich are gettig off easy (ala the Democrats); and that the tax scale is not in some way already redistributive, but will become so if Barack Obama gets elected (ala the Republicans).


You are absolutely correct; the point of my post was simply to highlight how the Federal income tax burden is distributed (since that seems to be the focus of public debate in this election, but the other factors you mention are even more significant. Other than the FICA and federal excise taxes, the federal government has no authority over these other state taxes, except for the regular practice of extortion by Congress, in which they say if states want federal money for their projects or if they won't enforce a law of Congress, that by the Constitution they cannot make the states enforce, they just threaten to hold federal funds from the state. Yet, it costs money to enforce these federal laws, so the state finds the money through other taxes.

The way to fix this is to dispose of all taxes except for the flat income tax. If that were in place, there would be no argument over whether or not the rich are paying their fair share, and the taxes that hurt the middle class and the poor the most (the ones you mention) will disappear. But that will never happen because the tax system is the most important mechanmism by which the government has power over the people-- and Congress will never let go of that power.

Thanks for the great comments one and all.

Allan R. Bevere said...


Just let me add to my previous point for emphasis-- the top 1% of wage earners pay over one-third of income tax. That's an amazing number. It may be fair for them to do so, but it can hardly be argued that the 1% most wealthy among us are not footing a large part of the tax bill.

Anonymous said...

My Goodness! Why is there so much complaining on a Christian Blog about taxes? Didn't Jesus already make his teaching clear in this matter? Matthew 22:15-22 is as clear as a bell. Are we trying to "entangle him in his talk" to make him denounce taxes for us?
I don't mind if people think their taxes are too high, but Jesus made it clear that taxes are NOT a spiritual matter, and that we should pay them. It's purely secular. God hasn't taken sides about taxation anymore than on the SuperBowl.