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Forum Post: The rich don't pay their fair share of taxes ???

Posted 5 years ago on June 11, 2012, 10:43 p.m. EST by commonsensefolks (-55)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

We hear all the time that the "rich don't pay their fair share of taxes" (123,000 Google search results for that phrase). Here's an analysis using recent IRS data that suggests otherwise.

  1. In 2009, the top 400 taxpayers based on Adjusted Gross Income earned $81 billion as a group, and paid $16.1 billion in federal income taxes (see chart above).

  2. In 2009, the bottom 50% of taxpayers, a group totaling 69 million, earned collectively more than $1 trillion and paid $19.5 billion in federal income taxes (see chart above).

Bottom Line: A small group of 400 of America's most successful earners in 2009, about the number of residents living in a typical apartment building in Washington, D.C., paid almost as much in federal income taxes as the entire bottom half of America's 138 million tax filers, which is a population equivalent to the combined number of residents living in America's 29 least populated states, plus the District of Columbia. What makes this disparity possible is the fact that an estimated 47% of individual income tax returns filed in 2009 had a zero or negative tax liability.

When you have only 400 Americans paying almost as much in federal income taxes as the entire bottom 50% of American filing income tax returns, I think we can dismiss any notion of the rich not paying their fair share of taxes. In fact, the IRS should publish the names and addresses of the Top 400 (or to protect anonymity, agree to provide a forwarding service), so that we can all send them "Thank You" letters to express our gratitude for shouldering such a disproportionate share of our collective tax burden.




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[-] 2 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 5 years ago

I think the more concerning story here is that a mere 400 Americans have such a huge slice of the pie.

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 5 years ago

I agree 100%

[-] 2 points by elf3 (3897) 5 years ago

If the wealthy hadn't monopolized driving out all other businesses that might have employed people and then hadn't proceeded to cut so many of our jobs and send labor overseas, then there'd be enough people working to share the burden - people who can't find work have been forced to dip in and become a burden by collecting unemployment and many more need welfare. It's kind of funny now that the wealthy have benefitted so greatly off of sending all our jobs overseas - that they would complain about being forced to pay taxes on all those extra earnings achieved by screwing the common man and our society in general. The economy is a circle and now it's come back to bite corporations in the ass - oops - maybe you should bring some of those slave labor jobs back from China and start putting members of your society to work again - then you won't be asked to share the burden of finding something to do with all us displaced economic refugees. Also if they didn't have to bail out all these corporations and banks all the time - I'm sure taxes might go down. Take people off unemployment again taxes go down. It's economics stupid. If you want to monopolize and use slave labor to drive up profit margins all while selling to American consumers (the worlds largest consumer economy ...while it lasts) - then you have to pay something forward - hmm like jobs and decent pay? Otherwise we'll be glad to get rid of all the monopolies, open our own businesses and put each other to work. (Butcher Baker Candlestick maker screw Dow and Wal-Mart) We don't need you here - we'll be glad to let you close shop and go where you're headquartered you've ruined our economic system all you're doing is siphoning off of us and then complaining about your own fall out and how it would be so much easier if you could pollute everywhere and get rid of labor laws. Your failure to realize the economy can only function when consumers have jobs and decent pay is not our problem - corporate monopolies created this - I have no problem with them paying to clean it up especially given their dramatic success in the face of the average American's failure in the last 20 years due to the problems they created by driving out our employers; (In your efforts to drive away competitors you've also driven away the businesses that provided jobs to your consumer base) - only a matter of time before it all collapses - there is no way in hell an economy can function this way. Get rid of monopolies bring back jobs and decent pay and progress can begin again. That seems like common sense to me.

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 5 years ago

The top 10% of income receive 47% of all household income in the US.

The top 10% of wealth own 75% of all wealth in the US, and 83% of all financial wealth.


I think they can afford their current tax burden. Anyway. We can fix unmployment WITHOUT more government spending or taxation of the rich, through the accelerated work week.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 5 years ago

Those 47% who payed no income tax already live in comparative poverty and by your definition of justice they deserve to live more deeply in poverty?

The lower 50% live on just $7 to $12 an hour while the 400 live on $100,000 an hour. Those 69 million are the bottom of the pyramid on which the 400 sit. Does Pharaoh support the slaves or do the slaves support Pharaoh?


[-] 0 points by SparkyJP (1646) from Westminster, MD 5 years ago

It's not just the rich that don't pay their fair share ....... it's corporations too!

The 30 American Companies That Paid Less Than $0 In Income Tax Over The Last 3 Years

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/these-are-the-30-american-companies-that-paid-less-than-zero-income-tax-from-2008-2010-2011-11#ixzz1xYI35KKy

[-] -1 points by commonsensefolks (-55) 5 years ago


They collect from the end consumer and pass it on to the IRS. They're nothing more than a pass-through entity to skim a little more from individuals for Uncle Sam. It's just that simple.

[-] 1 points by elf3 (3897) 5 years ago

That is so on the mark !!!!!- thanks for pointing that out easy to forget they account for tax in the cost of the product (and then some) - they all are also all driving up the cost of oil by shipping goods from China to the US every day, then they have to account for the gas increase/ cost by adding surcharges. They account for that too ...we're paying for it all.

[-] 0 points by SparkyJP (1646) from Westminster, MD 5 years ago

What are you talking about, sales tax? Companies DO and ALWAYS HAVE paid income tax (until recently). GE's average tax rate over the last 3 yrs has been -45.3%. That's "negative" 45.3%. That means that almost 1/2 of their earnings came from the American tax payer and OUT of the US Treasury. WTF ???

'08-'10 Profit: $10,460,000,000

'08-'10 Tax: $-4,737,000,000

'08-'10 Rate: -45.3%

[-] -1 points by 1sealyon (434) 5 years ago

You shoud rejoice that these corps paid no taxes. Corp taxes are regressive and hurt the poor more than anyone. The Gov should have to look you in the eye when they take your money instead of hiding it in corp, import, vat, and other blind taxes.

[-] 0 points by SparkyJP (1646) from Westminster, MD 5 years ago

Your argument holds no water and is pure spin. If they make their money here, they can damn well pay their taxes here too. This is prime example of corporate welfare.

[-] 0 points by 1sealyon (434) 5 years ago

Corporate taxes are passed on to the consumer via higher prices. They hurt the poor particularly because the tax falls on traditionally untaxed goods like food, clothing, and other life essentials.

[-] 0 points by CommonSense2345 (-5) 5 years ago

Thank God! Finally someone with a brain! Keep common sense alive my brother! My parents grew up behind the Iron Curtain and they hate communism and socialism more than anything. It's funny how those who lived under socialism hate it the most.

[-] 0 points by notaneoliberal (2269) 5 years ago

What a stupid post. They pay a "disproportionate" rate because they have a disproportionate income. In fact, since most of this tax is paid at capital gains rate, it is disproportionately low.

[-] 0 points by JusticeF0rTrayvon (-58) 5 years ago

So, if I understand you correctly, a proportionate tax would be a flat tax, so everyone pays the same percentage of income as taxes?

[-] 0 points by notaneoliberal (2269) 5 years ago

As soon as everyone has the same amount of expendable income.

[-] 0 points by JusticeF0rTrayvon (-58) 5 years ago

How is expendable income calculated?

[-] 0 points by notaneoliberal (2269) 5 years ago

By using addition and subtraction.

[-] -1 points by JusticeF0rTrayvon (-58) 5 years ago

Real funny. What do I subtract from my income to obtain my expendable income?

[-] 1 points by notaneoliberal (2269) 5 years ago

You subtract basic necessities.

[-] -1 points by JusticeF0rTrayvon (-58) 5 years ago

That brings up an interesting point, because I am nearly self-sufficient, growing my own food and such, obtaining my own fuel to heat my house, and educating myself for free. A good portion of my expenses is money paid to the government for various things. I don't mind paying for services I use, such as roads, but why should I pay for other people to do things I do for myself without outside help?

[-] 2 points by notaneoliberal (2269) 5 years ago

I think you are wise to be as self sufficient as possible. I'm curious, which of those things do you believe you (we) are paying for that others could be doing for themselves? I'm not sure everyone has the opportunity in terms of available land to grow a significant amount of their own food or harvest their own fuel.

[-] 0 points by CommonSense2345 (-5) 5 years ago

1% of the population is receiving 40% of the tax burden. But since only 40% of the population pays their income tax (30% of those identify themselves as conservative), they are picking up the slack left behind by the people in OWS. They are running of money. When they run out of money, they have to lay people off and file bankruptcy. Capitalism is a cycle. Consumer buys goods; employer receives capital; employee receives part of that capital. But when you interrupt that process and prevent the employer from paying the employee you see what we are in today. People can take care of themselves if you let them.

[-] 1 points by notaneoliberal (2269) 5 years ago

You have part of the story right. For capitalism to work, the cycle you describe must continue. The part you didn't get right is the idea that the 1% is running out of money. The level of wealth disparity is at an all time high. There are tons of cash tied up in low yield treasuries. Real wages for the actual working people, are, on the other hand, dropping. Many people are unemployed. This brings the cycle you described to a crawl. Let's also keep it in mind who really created the wealth that those top 1% are paying taxes on. They are the people that made the the products that the capitalist sells. They created the wealth. So it is the worker who enables the capitalist to pay those taxes.

[-] 1 points by CommonSense2345 (-5) 5 years ago

The 1% (which is actually 1.93% and should be rounded to 2%) does not possess that much money.


[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33490) from Coon Rapids, MN 5 years ago

CommonSense2345 ???




[-] 0 points by tr289 (916) from Chicago, IL 5 years ago

Businesses that the rich own put the most strain on our infrastructure , roads, bridges and environment... And they should pay for their mess. So we should send them a letter and tell them to pay up because we who are not profiting from the destruction of our roads, bridges and environment are sick of paying for cleaning them up and maintaining them. Kthx bye.

[-] -1 points by commonsensefolks (-55) 5 years ago

What rich? 97% of businesses are small businesses. They ain't rich. They have four or five employees and you're attacking them under the guise of being "rich". Wake the hell up. The large corporations are multinationals and they're operating overseas. They're cash rich and they ain't bringing their money back into the U.S. until YOU make it financially attractive against other competing countries like Singapore, Brazil, India, South Africa, Canada and Australia.

They have a few CEO's and CIO's that are rich and MILLIONS of stock holders who aren't and are average Americans with their money invested in that company in the form of 401K's, IRA's, pensions and retirement funds.

Your idiot notion that you can punish those CEO's because you're jealous really just ends up hurting everyday workers who have their retirement and life savings tied up in those companies. And they aren't the 1%, they're the 99% who have been putting a little bit away every paycheck for their retirement.

L E A R N E C O N O M I C S .

[-] 1 points by tr289 (916) from Chicago, IL 5 years ago

lol, i don't even know how to respond to your post, the ignorance is on a level i have never seen before. You assume and insert your own opinions on your assumptions and take them as fact then go off and rant about it.

I never said small corporations should be taxed the same as large ones, you did.

Multinational corporations not bringing their cash back... Good because the only way it will ever be "financially attractive" is when the average American wage is that of child labor in a 3rd world country. Kind of off topic, it's funny that you mentioned Brazil. They nationalized their oil industry because the private oil companies were bleeding them dry.

The CEO's you wouldn't know one if he fucked you in the ass, coincidentally they are... The 401K's IRA's and pensions are based off of a highly manipulated market where the few with enough money are making massive profits and passing off the losses to you and your slowly shrinking 401K.

I don't know what else to say to you other then fuck off !

[-] 0 points by commonsensefolks (-55) 5 years ago

Good they don't bring their cash back? It's no f'n wonder we have high unemployment with people like you. Stop acting like you're too good for any job and that you "deserve" a better job.

The 401K's, IRA's and pensions ARE for the 99%. They have them today. The only thing highly manipulated is your screwed up view of reality. YOU are bleeding the country dry.

At least you lose debates gracefully.

[-] 1 points by geo (2638) from Concord, NC 5 years ago

L E A R N E C O N O M I C S . They're cash rich and they ain't bringing their money back into the U.S. until YOU make it financially attractive.

Yeah you should too. Let's stop playing the 'race to the bottom' card. With our standard of living we can not, nor should not compete with Chinese factory workers that make $200/month.

We should not give up our environmental, worker safety& health regulations so that companies can make larger profits. These regs keep us from being a 3rd world nation.

You want to bring the multinational corps (who have headquarters in the US) money back? Then level the playing field. Make Free Trade into Fair Trade. Make it an act of treason to off shore American jobs. Then we can talk about lowering the corporate tax rate that is bitched about so much.

It's not about jealousy... its about survival and what is good for this country. And what we need to survive are good paying jobs. Enough of this globalism. All it is is a massive redistribution of our wealth to others. We have been bled enough.

[-] -1 points by commonsensefolks (-55) 5 years ago

We are playing race to the bottom precisely because of the policies in place today.

If you want to level the playing field, then let it level with the global economy. You may not like the global economy, but it's a reality. Who says YOUR side of the equation is fair? Why? Because you stand on one side of the equation, so it must be right? Maybe India pays their workers $3 an hour because that's the prevaling wage for their economy. They're decades behind us in their economy. How do you think our economy functioned in the late 1800's? Much different than today. That doesn't make what other countries are doing wrong.

It's all about jealousy and pride with you. What worker safety regulations? 90% of the country works in cubes pushing paper and not producing a GD thing! What safety are you granting them? An ergonomic keyboard and Starbucks every morning?

[-] 1 points by geo (2638) from Concord, NC 5 years ago

If you want to level the playing field, then let it level with the global economy.

For over 200 years we had a tariff system that leveled the playing field and served us well.

You can defend globalism all you want. I'm highly nationalistic. I really don't care what happens in India. I care about my fellow countrymen first, the rest of the world second. You want to help the rest of the world, do it with your own money privately.... don't destroy my country in the process.

90% of the country works in cubes? You need to get out more.... really.

[-] 0 points by commonsensefolks (-55) 5 years ago

If you care about your fellow countrymen, then forget tariffs. Countries tend to respond negatively to tariffs and China and Asia own over $2.5 trillion of our government's treasuries and T-Bills. You know my point about cubes; the country produces very little and it shuffles a lot of paper.

[-] 0 points by geo (2638) from Concord, NC 5 years ago

China and Asia own over $2.5 trillion of our government's treasuries and T-Bills...

So what? It means that they are as dependent, in actuality MORE so on us as we are on them. And contrary to how its presented, the T-Bills and bonds are not the equivalent to holding a mortgage on us. It's all payable in US dollars which makes it a non-issue.

The country produces very little because we gave the Golden Goose away, we sold it for a few eggs. We bought into globalization and Faux Trade. We set loose the Financial Industry, which makes up over 40% of our GDP - it is they who produce NOTHING except perpetuate private debt.

I care about my countrymen. Any company that is headquartered in the US that outsources work overseas is committing treason. If a company opens up a manufacturing plant and performs technology transfers as per our Free Trade Agreements now, its treason.

[-] 1 points by commonsensefolks (-55) 5 years ago

It makes it a big issue because they can take those US dollars and buy our companies, land, mineral resources and real estate. You act like there are free lunches without consequences.

So foreign owned Toyota, Nissan, Mercedes, BMW and Honda having automobile factories in various U.S. states is committing treason? Listen to how crazy you sound.

[-] 1 points by geo (2638) from Concord, NC 5 years ago

Did I say 'foreign companies' in the US is committing treason? Listen to yourself or maybe reread what I wrote.

Foreign investment in the US isn't a bad thing. Foreign companies hiring and paying American workers, who spend that money on OUR economy is not a bad thing, but a good one.

US companies who don't hire American workers is a BAD thing. They are the only ones who outsource jobs to other countries, to me that is treasonous. It is selling out America.