Study: Top 20 Percent of Income Households Pay 87 Percent Of Taxes

160px-IRS.svgThe Joint Committee on Taxation in Congress has issued a new report on tax burdens across the United States.  The Committee used data from the Tax Policy Center and divided the public into five income groups.  What they found was that the top 20 percent of earners paid 87 percent of the taxes in the country.  The remaining 80 percent covered 13 percent of the burden.  The data could challenge the common mantra of politicians that the top earners do not pay their fair share.  Though the concentration of wealth should be considered (and a recent study found that one percent of the world’s wealthiest individuals control two-thirds of the world’s wealth), the figures in the United States shows an increasing tax burden in the top 20 percent range.  We have previously discussed such studies and the disconnect between the rhetorical and the statistical in tax debates.

The 165 millions households were divided into income brackets of roughly 65 million each.  The top 20 percent represents incomes of $150,000 or more. That bracket represents 52 percent of the income but carried 87 percent of the tax burden.  Conversely, the lower 60% of households with up to about $86,000 will pay nothing in federal income tax — down from 2 percent last year.  This does not include state or sales taxes.

518 thoughts on “Study: Top 20 Percent of Income Households Pay 87 Percent Of Taxes”

  1. When income is taxed the tax is included in the cost of the goods and services provided by the income earner. The consumer of those goods and services pays the income tax of the producer of those goods and services.

    Income tax is a sales tax.

    Corporate income tax is included in the cost of goods and services provided by the corporation. The consumer of those goods and services pays the income tax of the producer of those goods and services.

    Income tax is a sales tax.

    There is only one individual who pays any and all taxes: the consumer. Who else?

    I bought a car. Much of that purchase went to paying income taxes of the employees who produced that car. That panhandler who bought a McDonald’s burger paid the income taxes of the employees of McDonald’s.

    I bought a car. Much of that purchase went to paying income taxes of the corporation who produced that car and of the corporations that sold components to the car manufacturer. That panhandler who bought a McDonald’s burger paid the corporate income taxes of McDonald’s.

    Income taxes, both corporate and individual, are a sales tax, a value-added tax.

    Income taxes are totally regressive. Sales tax is regressive. VAT is regressive.

    It cannot be avoided.

    Duties are a sales tax included in the price of the product.

    Of all these sales taxes the only “visible” one is the one added on at the point of purchase; the rest are included in the price. (Even that should go, in my opinion. You should pay what the price tag says — no more, no less. All taxes already included.)

    Even property taxes are a sales tax. They are a sales tax on the selling price of property.

    There is only sales tax.

    ———Impossible Dream———
    So let’s simplify it. Let’s call it what it is.

    The federal government could be funded by measuring of the economic contribution to the total US economy by each state and taxing that at the same percentage rate. No tax preparation by either individuals (sorry H&R Block) nor corporations (sorry tax lawyers and accountants). Fifty states free to collect the taxes they owe any way at all consistent with the US Constitution. Fifty economic experiments. The IRS consists of a couple of thousand accountants busy making sure each state measures their economic contribution the same way.

    In a stable economy the above tax rate could be driven by federal spending of all kinds including so-called entitlements. What is spent one year is collected as taxes the following year plus 1% to be applied to debt reduction.

        1. ghsteele, sales taxes are levied on sales. They are triggered when a commodity is transferred from the retail vendor to the consumer. Income taxes are levied on income. Their economic impact is not a function of how you allocate your income.

      1. I think what ghsteele is trying to say is that all taxes eventually are paid by the consumer which is reasonably true. The consumer is both the rich guy and the poor guy. Those on the left need to think about that because when the price of toilet paper goes up it is the poor guy who has to reckon with using less toilet paper or less of something else.

        1. I think what ghsteele is trying to say is that all taxes eventually are paid by the consumer which is reasonably true.

          No it’s not. There is consumption and there is savings.

          1. NII, I think you should read what I said a bit more carefully. You are an economist and ghsteele is not. You might want to categorize these things better than him, but I think my comment is a reasonable interpretation of what I think he is trying to say.

            Money is used to purchase things. The prices of anything purchased, even an investment, rise based on many factors including taxes. It might not meet your standards of economic word usage, but the concept is quite valuable.

  2. “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”
    — Ralph Waldo Emerson

    1. That is quite different than what you said before, and I quote your words: ““consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Take note of the additional two words” A foolish” Your former statement was consistent with a personality disorder. The latter statement is consistent with Emerson.

        1. Nah, not foolish to quote Emerson, but perhaps you were foolish to misquote him badly while characterizing yourself as having a personality disorder.

          1. Read the quotation again and really try to think. How it applies to you.

            1. I looked at your first quote and your revised quote. Your revised quote that was contextually complete was a good quote from Emerson. (“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”)

              Your first quote “consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” left out the necessary context and immediately reminded me of you. Yep, I looked again and I see you. Yep, yep,…

                1. David, I am doing the right thing, flogging you for lack of consistency and being foolish.

  3. Try the percentage paid by the top 5% or the top 1%. This surfaces every once in a while and is quickly buried as the left doesn’t like it known who really benefits.

    1. Progressives want it exposed as often as possible. The 1% arranges to avoid most federal taxes.

      Scoflaws of the worst sort.

      1. If you pay your taxes according to the codes specification, you’re not a scofflaw.

          1. No, there is no ‘legal / moral’ distinction here. Tax liability is a convention of positive law.

          2. I am unclear. If your CPA and the US tax code says that you owe X, you are morally wrong unless you pay X plus Y?

            What do all of the tax preparer advertisements have in common? They all say something along the lines of don’t pay a penny more than you owe, or maximize your tax refund. That is called frugality in the middle and lower classes, but immorality in the upper class. Since when does fiscal responsibility become a sin based on scale.

            Do you know what the requirement to be a philanthropist is? Significant money used for good. We’ve all heard of government waste. Perhaps rich people feel they would do a better job with their money than the government would.

            You know who used to use the whole “1%” warfare against the rich? The Nazis. The 1% were the Jews and the rich capitalists. They said such groups were not working for the common good, and were morally reprehensible, among other claims easily recognized as absurd. And yet, we see the same rhetoric used today. I abhor such divisive warfare tactics. We are supposed to learn from the past, to never repeat our mistakes. How short our memory has become. Look at how the 1% argument worked out for Venezuela. For Ukraine in the 30s. When has targeting the successful with hatred ever led to anything other than tragedy?

            We should be judged as individuals, on the basis of our character. Someone’s character is not defined by being rich or poor. Either man could be a scoundrel or a saint.

      2. “The 1% arranges to avoid most federal taxes.” yet they pay 40% of the tax.
        “The 1% arranges to avoid most federal taxes.” yet 80% pay only 10% of the tax.

        That is what progressives don’t want to be exposed.

        Scofflaw is spelled with two f’s, but unfortunately for your position, they comply with the law. Can you say the same for the 80%?

        1. You are wrong about the 1%.

          And, by the way, consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

          1. What is wrong with the statement, “The 1% arranges to avoid most federal taxes.” yet they pay 40% of the tax.

            “consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”

            Inconsistency is consistent with a personality disorder.

            1. I want to see a link to an authoritative site which states that the top 1% pay 40% of the tax total.


                “According to a projection from the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, the top 1 percent of Americans will pay 45.7 percent of the individual income taxes in 2014—up from 43 percent in 2013 and 40 percent in 2012 (the oldest period available).

                The bottom 80 percent of Americans are expected to pay 15 percent of all federal income taxes in 2014, according to the study. The bottom 60 percent are expected to pay less than 2 percent of federal income taxes.”

                “Whatever the measure, the numbers show just how dependent the U.S. has become on the earnings of the wealthy. The U.S. is more dependent on the income tax than other countries, with 37 percent of total government revenue coming from the income tax, compared with 24 percent in other countries. Those countries depend more on consumption taxes and other sources of revenue.

                With U.S. income taxes more dependent on the wealthy—and those incomes more dependent on the stock market—the U.S. government should hope for a continued rise in stocks to keep its coffers full.”

                If we depend upon the wealthy to keep the country running, but progressives want to change the tax code to punish investment, what would the consequence be?


                “Many Americans don’t have to worry about giving Uncle Sam part of their hard-earned cash for their income taxes this year.”

                “Despite the fact that rich people paying little in the way of income taxes makes plenty of headlines, this is the exception to the rule: The top 1% of taxpayers pay a higher effective income-tax rate than any other group (around 23%, according to a report released by the Tax Policy Center in 2014) — nearly seven times higher than those in the bottom 50%.

                On average, those in the bottom 40% of the income spectrum end up getting money from the government. Meanwhile, the richest 20% of Americans, by far, pay the most in income taxes, forking over nearly 87% of all the income tax collected by Uncle Sam.”

                “The top 1% of Americans, who have an average income of more than $2.1 million, pay 43.6% of all the federal individual income tax in the U.S.; the top 0.1% — just 115,000 households, whose average income is more than $9.4 million — pay more than 20% of it.”

                Tell me again how the rich don’t pay their fair share?

                1. Again, Karen, state and federal income taxes account for 1/3 of public revenue. No more.

                  If you want people to pay fair shares, get rid of deductions and exemptions which benefit particular commercial and industrial sectors.

                  1. “Fair” means everyone gets treated the same. That means that everyone pays the same rate, and that social services increase so that the net gives the desired and needed help.

                    Otherwise, the rich are not being treated as fairly as the poor.

                    Now, investment income is taxed lower, because there is the desire to spur investment. If taxes were too high on investment, then you would require a larger return to even break even. That would obviously diminish investment.

                    I support a flat tax, at a far lower rate but without all the exemptions. It has to be low enough to repatriate overseas investment money that escaped our draconian tax laws. It has to be easy enough to figure out that any dunderhead can pay his own taxes without needing a CPA. It has always bothered me that if a CPA makes a mistake on your taxes, you are the one who can be held criminally liable. The common man cannot even understand our own tax code. Sometimes, the IRS investigators cannot even agree on it. I think one rate for all is fair, as long as benefits increased to keep the net the same. That way, everyone is in the same boat. You don’t have a majority punishing a minority. It is so much easier to vote for someone else to pay more taxes than it is to vote for higher taxes on yourself.

                    We should all be in the same tax boat. No more us and them. No more taxing the rich more and more and being resentful of the haul. No more of the poor not being connected to how our nation is run. It’s like farming. Until you plant a garden or raise your own eggs, you don’t have more than an abstract notion of how food is produced. Everyone should be pulling together. Even the lowest income level in Japan, if I recall correctly, pay 5% taxes.

                    Now, I’m not an economist, and my opinion is in the minority. There are always unintended consequences, and there could be valid reasons why mine is but a pipe dream. However, I like the concept of everyone pulling together at least in some degree in financing the country. Maybe, if everyone put something into the pot, more would care when it was wasted. Why would anyone who got a full refund or paid no taxes at all care if others paid taxes that were wasted? It would not have a personal meaning to them.

              3. So, in summary, it comes to this:

                The successfully keep the lights on in this country. If taxation ever inhibits financial success, then that source of revenue diminishes. We would get a higher percentage on a diminishing return.

                Successful people are like the golden goose. You need to ensure they have an environment in which to thrive, so that we can get their tax money to go waste…I mean spend, on vital infrastructure and benefits programs. You need to maintain the proper balance between everything goes, and the people and environment suffers, and socialism, in which the environment suffers and people starve. The way to do this is to ensure robust individual rights. An employer does not have the right to abuse his or her employees. There needs to be reasonable regulations over a framework designed to nurture success. If you have a good idea and business model, then the sky’s the limit. Would anyone say that IBM and Apple should have been restricted to a Mom and Pop shop, because all corporations are bad and success is immoral? Or are we glad that IBM and Apple became roaring successes! Did we all benefit from exponential success, and has the evolution of technology taken a great leap forward? That happens in epochs, where there are periods of time when the evolutionary clock speeds up for a while. You see a proliferation of evolutionary ideas, some dead ends, some becoming wildly successful. The same holds true in innovation. Do not strangle innovation in a misplaced sense that it will somehow benefit mankind to limit individual success.

                For example, make it difficult to start up a company, and you will get less startups.

                1. Some affluent people are quite productive, others are talented rent-seekers.

                  1. I agree. Some poor are hard working men and women of strong character. Some are not.

                    I believe that everyone should be judged as individuals based upon their own character and actions.

                    I’ve known rich people who would give the shirt off their back to help a friend, and who go above and beyond to take care of their employees. I’ve known others who are morally deficient, such as the one I’ve nicknamed “the devil” who drugs all of the horses in her barn. I was acquainted with a famous actor whom I ran into many years later, who was such a down to earth guy. He asked about my family and remembered all the people from the barn. He must have to remember thousands of names in the business, but he was just an all around good guy who treated everyone the same, whether they had manure on their boots or they were on the red carpet. Just another Dad on the bench by the arena during lessons.

                    People are individuals, and we come in a wondrous variety of superficial, and deeper, traits.

  4. We all know that Republican politicians are hiding from their constituents, avoiding town hall meetings. So Trump fan, Pelser (GOP) who is running for Congress conducted an on-line event. Of course she planted questions, because that’s what Republicans do.

    1. Re the online event by Pelser,..
      There’s likely to be more events like this, more forums like this, that replace the traditional town hall meeting, or “meet your candidate” type of gatherings.
      Incidents like the Gabby Gifford shooting, the attack on the Congressmen at the baseball practice, the interruptions and shouting down of candidates at gatherings will probably influence how politicians interact with the public.
      It’s not a great mystery ( for most) to figure out why we’re seeing these kinds of changes.

  5. Mr. Turley, no doubt, is busily preparing his article to defend the FBI’s flagrant violation of the Fourth Amendment along with his defense of the Deep State’s heinous attack on the attorney-client privilege. Pending receipt of Mr. Turley’s leftist Deep State propaganda, here is some competent legal analysis on this latest anti-America action:

    1. According to TNYT the FBI had a “series of search warrents”.

      1. A series of search warrants? Ohhh, I see? I guess the FBI would never use a Deep State judge to get their rubber-stamped documents, huh?

        A series of search warrants to look at EVERYTHING and to BREAK the attorney-client privilege and to ATTACK a US PRESIDENT automatically means that the judge the FBI used was a corrupt Deep State shill–as corrupt as the FBI and the DOJ themselves. There are plenty of anti-Trump Deep State judges that can be relied upon to violate the law. It’s been happening a lot lately.

    2. Did the FBI raid Hillary’s attorney’s office or his home when she took that bribe from Tyson Chicken to begin her life of crime or when she destroyed 30,000 e-mails as electronic evidence using BleachBit to end it?

      Comey, McCabe, Rosenstein, Mueller, Strzok, Page, Ohr, Ohr and the rest of the FBI/DOJ “deep state” are treasonously corrupt and are doing their best to block the road that leads to Obama and his entire gang.

  6. Read about utility theory, no, not electrical utilities, but John Stuart Mill and other political economists. Then maybe you will begin to see why the income tax is insufficiently progressive, which is a technical term in taxation theory.

    The quintile report under discussion doesn’t go far enough, an example of lying with statistics.

    1. I don’t see where Mill, Say or other economists would call such numbers lies.Why don’t you tell us what Mills and others said. You seem to be throwing out names which indicates that you really have a lack of understanding and are hiding behind names.

      1. Perhaps they would be kinder to call the statistics misleading. Take the top quintile and divide it into 4 income levels; what do you discover? Then take that top 5% of incomes to divide into fifths; now what do you see?

        Continue until you are convinced that the top income earners receive almost no utility from their last marginal dollars. See what the utilitarians suggest should be done.

        1. We have a standard way of providing numbers so we can compare them from year to year. You can add commentary but can’t call the process statistical lying.

          80% of the population pay only 10% of federal income taxes. The only question at this time is whether this number is reasonably accurate and it is. Your comment has nothing to do with this discussion.

          You want to make a claim go ahead, but first admit you were wrong in categorizing this set of numbers and lying statistics.

          1. Ok, it is misleading statistics. Recall what Mark Twain is attributed with stating.

            1. David, it’s not even misleading statistics. The numbers weren’t contrived. They are real numbers produced by the government in a way that one can compare the numbers from year to year.

              You might find other meanings. You might not like what you see, but the numbers are as real as this type of number can be at the present.

              90% of the people pay 10% of the taxes. Instead of complaining about the numbers tell us what you find to be wrong with the numbers. Do they pop your preconceptions?

            1. Linda – would you like to tell us how many slaves there are in the US today?

            2. In your Stalinist world, all people except the elite are slaves. Life, liberty, and property cease to exist so one doesn’t pay taxes rather the government divvies out benefits as it sees fit.

              1. The donor class’ concentration of wealth has strangled economic growth. The Kochs’ most successful political 5 years- the recent anemic 2.25% average annual growth rate.

                1. I will ask you the same question I asked Diane. If I invent a product that reduces automobile gasoline consumption to one-quarter of what it is today and sell it making billions, how has that made you worse off? How does that not benefit the economy?

                  Obama was satisfied with around a 1.8% growth. It seems our growth rate under Trump will be around 3% and if we could take some of the 80% that are able-bodied persons and convince them to work perhaps the increase could hit 4%.

                  Now answer the questions in paragraph one.

    2. The problem is the “expenditure theory” in your Communist Manifesto – it needs to be annihilated. The Founders established severely limited government. They made central planning, redistribution and social engineering unconstitutional by way of limitations on Congress’ power to tax solely for “general Welfare” and the right to private property.

      1. The richest 0.1% should stop using federal and state Congresses to redistribute wealth to themselves.

        1. “The richest 0.1% should stop using federal and state Congresses to redistribute wealth to themselves.”

          That comment is reflective of your Stalinist world where government or the elite own everything and divvy up the money to you. In the country you reside and hate, there is a Constitution that recognizes property as your own. Can you see the difference?

        2. They don’t. Affluent people are affluent because they have salable skills. Wealthy people are wealthy because they they deferred consumption from an ample income stream or they’re the legatees of people who did. Where affluence and it’s sequelae are problematic is when they result not from free-exchange but from rent-extraction, and that requires either a market structure and commercial law which allow collusive practices among producers, a corporation law which allows executive compensation through something other than arms-length transactions, or regulatory architectures which create rents either directly or intermediated through social custom. The beneficiaries of this would be a corporate elite so small the census of it might not break into six digits (and, by the way, the tech, media and entertainment, and casino banking portions thereof are run by Democrats), the legal profession (BigLaw primarily), higher (more administrators than faculty, but both), those in professional guilds into which entry is controlled by bogus credentialing, those working in certain industry in which compliance costs or tax preferences matter a great deal (e.g. oil, real estate, and insurance), and the meatheads running public employee unions (and many of their clientele). With the exception of the last three commercial / industrial sectors named, these are Democratic constituencies.

    3. Data points:

      —The percentage of tax revenue paid by corporations in the US has steadily fallen since the 50s, thus skewing the 20/80% stat.

      —The top marginal tax rate for individuals used to be 90% under Eisenhower, and 70% under Nixon.

      —As income inequality grows, the revenue naturally needs to come from those that are earning the lions share…

      I find it very sad that this state of affairs is tacitly being used to bolster arguments to further shift the tax burden onto those whom can least afford it, the bottom 80%.

      1. The bottom 80% can least afford it?

        Maybe, a la Professor Wax, they have made some very bad life decisions. Does that mean that the rest of us need to give up the fruits of our labor?

        When roughly half the deliveries in this nation are paid via medicaid … you have to question the decision making ability and the personal choices and accountability of the parents of those children.

        Newsflash – I know plenty of people in the top 10% who can barely afford taxes … after paying for mortgage, property tax, insurance, tuition, automobile costs, food etc.

        1. Knowledgeisgood – just had the landscapers at the house cutting the grass, killing weeds, trimming trees and bushes, etc. 2 men, 1 hours work, $90.

        2. Maybe, a la Professor Wax, they have made some very bad life decisions. Does that mean that the rest of us need to give up the fruits of our labor?

          Some of them have, some of them haven’t. The ‘fruits of your labor’ are accruing to you due to factors which implicate your virtue, due to contingency, and due to a natural lottery. Not impinging on them is much more a function of social utility than some sort of categorical imperative.

      2. “least able to afford it” is exactly how predators operate. A proposed regressive tax on sales instead of income and fees for roads and bridges, etc. force workers to pay for infrastructure that primarily benefits business owners. The owners then use that money for attacks against democracy and to fund lavish lifestyles.

          1. As I drive to the grocery, Walmart trucks use the road, too. Six Walmart heirs have wealth equivalent to 40% of Americans combined.

            1. I don’t know where you live, but without the roads, you might be driving all over the country to pick up the supplies you need. Fortunately for you, Walmart and others have already accomplished that task.

              That you don’t like capitalism is clearly understood, but don’t you think the people of Venezuela would love to have a Walmart to shop in today?

              1. The richest 0.1% despise free enterprise which explains their use of public policy to create industry monopolies and oligopolies.

                1. It’s hard to develop a long-lasting monopoly in a free market system where government isn’t involved. But, you wouldn’t know that.

                  Back to the roads that you think were built solely for the use of the rich when you use them all the time when you shop at Walmarts that conveniently brought everything to your doorstep. How about the airways? How are we communicating? People made a lot of money on the airways, communication systems, computers etc. and without those same people, you wouldn’t be able to write your nonsense.

            2. Six Walmart heirs have wealth equivalent to 40% of Americans combined.

              The Walmart family is entrepreneurial. The numbnutzes from Chrysler and GM who went to Congress in 2009 looking for financing from the Treasury were paid 8-figure sums of money because executive compensation at that level is not an arms-length transactions. They’re fleecing their shareholders to a degree a previous generation of corporate titans would not. The Walton’s are the shareholders. And they made their money in retail trade, a business which has few barriers to entry and slim profit margins.

              You don’t care for WalMart, don’t shop there.

                1. It’s not predatory pricing. It is the marketplace bringing prices down so you can afford to buy all sorts of things. Yes, those rich people are really bad. They are rich, but you have a cell phone, a refrigerator, air conditioning. Go to Venezuela and see what they have.

                2. Linda – what is the difference between predatory pricing and competitive pricing?

                3. You mean they lose money on every sale, but make it up in volume?

      3. Don Joe, The bottom 80% are paying only 10% of federal income taxes. Are you trying to say that the tax system is not progressive? That would be foolish. Are you saying that 80% of the population should pay zero?

        I feel pretty sure if someone said that 80% was paying 40% you would make the same complaint and then say 80% paying 25% would be a lot better. At least that is what your reply seems to say. I don’t think you know what you want.

        1. Allan, as Crazy Squeaky points out, we’re talking about federal income taxes. The 80% in question pay local property tax, bear part of the cost of property tax if they’re renters, bear with vendors the cost of excises, tariffs, and final sales taxes, and pay Social Security taxes. Part of the burden of corporate taxes is born by consumers as well. State and federal income taxes amount to about 34% of all public revenue. The distribution of burdens among income strata in re the other 66% is regressive (though I think there is some dispute about that among econometricians in regard to property taxes).

          You can achieve a situation wherein 87% of personal income tax collections emanate from the top quintile as follows: assess a flat tax on that portion of a household’s income which is in excess of a general personal exemption. The per-person exemption would have to be high enough to exclude somewhat north of 60% of the population from the taxpayer pool. The mean rate a given household would pay would start at 0% and approach asymptotically the common marginal rate.

          1. NII, I have similar thoughts as you do. The problem with the discussion is that too many on the left are nutty and don’t think. Federal income taxes are not regressive though one might have an overall complaint about how ALL taxes are levied. I think all able-bodied Americans should pay some tax. I want everyone to have skin in the game.

            When I consider a tax system I consider what happens to the working family of four as one of my more important considerations. They are being destroyed. The children are being destroyed.

            I like flat and/or consumption taxes. I don’t like deductions even for charitable adventures. Too much gaming occurs. I am less concerned with how much I need to pay in taxes and more concerned with how my money is utilized. I spend my money far more carefully than our government does.

            Overall taxation in this country is likely very progressive compared to most others. What we really need is to reduce all taxation for taxes lead to rent-seekers and rent-seekers lead to higher taxes. Just think why the richest counties in the country mostly surround Washington D.C.

            Are property taxes progressive? That depends upon the state and locality. In the most desirable areas, property assessments will be higher than in less desirable areas. At a 2% property tax that millionaire living in a home worth $10 Million pays $200,000 while his poorer neighbor in a home valued at $100,000 pays $2,000. The big difference may be location and the rarity of construction rather than a big functional difference. I would call that progressive taxation. That millionaire who spends $1 Million on consumption where a tax is 10% has a tax bill of $100,000 while the $100,000 earner has a consumption tax of $10,000 and that too is progressive in my mind.

            We can’t make things “fair” by promoting equal outcomes. The only thing we can reasonably do is to have laws that permit everyone the legal right to compete under the same laws.

            Though as an economist you might start screaming, I could see a federal tax law that was both a flat tax and a consumption tax thereby creating lower rates for both taxes that helps to eliminate nonpayment of taxes. The flat tax could have a high deductible as you suggest. I have no objection to the ideas behind the negative income tax of Friedman or the negative income tax described by Charles Murray. I have no problem with safety nets as envisioned by Hayek since we are such a wealthy nation.

              1. We disagree though perhaps the disagreement is more definitional.

                1960 2 parent families 88% Today 64%

                The intact family leads to an increase in both high school and college graduation and positively affects employment rates at a later date.

                1. That’s a result of social and cultural factors. It has little to do with economic factors other than affluenza.

                  1. It has to do with economic factors as well. I don’t know why you think differently. Every time a person receiving benefits doesn’t get married because the benefits stop is just one economic consideration.

                    1. Allan, what happened to the illegitimacy rate when time limits we’re put on AFDC / TANF and the rolls reduced by 2/3? Answer: bupkis. There is a theoretical relationship between economic incentives and such behavior. You might be able to discover it empirically. On the ground, family formation is so insensitive to economic incentives that the relationship is difficult to detect and of negligible importance.

                      Look outside the welfare population. The majority of first-born children are so out of wedlock. Many are legitimated post-partum, but, still, roughly 40% of the first-born children start out in irregular circumstances and that doesn’t change. These are working class people who have nothing to do the sort of agencies which have distributed TANF, AFDC, Section 8, and other means-tested bon bons. North of 40% of hispanic children are born illegitimate and 30% of white-Anglo children are. At the same time, a grand total of 1.3% of the population is collecting TANF.

                      Aside from that, you have the destruction wrought by divorce. You had a complete flip in the social ecosystem between 1967 and 1979 and the attrition rate of extant marriages tripled. Do you really fancy that suburban housewives throwing over their husbands was a phenomenon whose origin was to be found in welfare policy?

                    2. ” The majority of first-born children are so out of wedlock. Many are legitimated post-partum,”

                      That creates a two-party family with a mother and a father at home. I only provided one example.

                      I am not denying other causes. I said: “It has to do with economic factors as well.”

                    3. Allan, ‘families are being destroyed’ implies a common and detectable social phenomenon. This one is not.

                    4. “‘families are being destroyed’ implies a… ”

                      “Families are being destroyed” can imply more than one cause.

          2. DDS – a certain percentage pay no taxes and are either on welfare or SS or SSI. The property tax they pay may be second-hand through their landlord, not personally. Gasoline taxes made be paid if you drive or second hand if you take public transportation. Figuring this stuff out could drive an economist nuts. 🙂

            1. It won’t drive any economist nuts. For those who do that sort of work, it is their livelihood.

  7. If Trump fires Mueller, it is proof that Trump is likely guilty of everything that has been speculated.

    1. That is only because you never think. Mueller is acting as if this country is a banana republic. He should be fired and investigated. He never cared when he wrongly accused other people in the past without evidence while trying to project a favorable image of himself. His history stinks.

      1. Well, that settles that. Since you have access to all of the evidence in the hands of the Department of Justice that was shown to the Judge who issued the search warrant to seize evidence from Michael Cohen, and since you have all of the other evidence in the hands of Mueller. And apparently you have access to Trump’s tax returns and know exactly what he did (or didn’t do) on his trips to Russia. And you know that none of this evidence points to improper conduct by Trump and that Mueller is disregarding the evidence which he and his team have in their possession. I am so thankful that there are so many knowledgeable people on this blog who know absolutely everything!

        As for Linda, well, I sure wouldn’t want her on any jury if she would vote to convict Trump of criminal activity just because he fired Mueller. I certainly don’t like Trump. And I fear he will leave a wide path of destruction in his wake. (That is why some people voted for him, thinking he would be a Category 4 hurricane, destroying lots of things but leaving the infrastructure intact, not understanding that he appears to be a sociopathic Category 5 hurricane, destroying everything in his path.)

        But you need solid evidence of the commission of crime to convict him and throw him in the pokey. The mere act of firing Mueller does not cut it in court, although it may cut Donald’s political career short if that happens.

        Trump has spent his whole career playing in his own sandbox, and is used to bullying into submission those who try to stand up to him. The Department of Justice refuses to be bullied. That does not just include Mueller, since the local US Attorney — interviewed personally by Trump before he was appointed to his job — had to approve the application for the search warrant for Cohen’s office, etc. The steps that must be taken internally within the Department of Justice before an application for a search warrant to seize records from the office of an attorney is submitted to a judge are extraordinary. And guess what, then a judge has to approve the application for the search warrant before anything happens.

        Oh, I know, they are all conspiring to remove Trump from office. Even the judge. You’re sure about that, since you know everything.

        Both your certitude Trump has done nothing wrong, without seeing the evidence, and Linda’s willingness to convict Trump for unspecified crimes if he fires Mueller, without seeing the evidence, are two sides of a really ugly coin.

        1. Oliver, after reading just your first sentence or so one knows that you would make a great AG for a banana republic. We don’t know what evidence we may have against you so tonight at 3 AM expect your door broken down simultaneously with your lawyers, your employers, your mother in law etc. All your confidential information will be taken because we don’t know what crime you committed, but you may have committed a crime. This action will continue indefinitely even though you have already been investigated for about a year and a half and the prosecutor has announced you having no involvement in a crime.

          Mueller’s zealousness in the past has destroyed innocent person’s reputations and incarcerated them for no reason at all. His prior involvement, that closely links him to the case he is investigating, makes him unsuitable for the job for the same reasons it does for the person that appointed him.

      2. Allan,

        Granted that Muller has a checkered past. I don’t like the man; I don’t trust the FBI, nor any three letter agency. But there are problems with Trump’s administration.

        Namely, his instincts and actions seem to be self-serving beyond his political position.

        As an example:

        “Lawyers representing President Trump’s company last month wrote directly to the president of Panama, asking him to intervene in a legal fight over the Trump International Hotel in the capital — and warning that the case could have ‘repercussions’ for Panama’s reputation.

        The law firm, Panama-based Britton and Iglesias, wrote in Spanish to President Juan Carlos Varela on March 22 to ‘urgently request your influence in relation to a commercial dispute regarding the Trump hotel.’”


        “The request was extraordinary: The U.S. president’s company was asking the leader of a U.S. ally to intercede on its behalf, disregarding Panama’s separation of powers.

        It is the first known instance of the Trump Organization asking directly for a foreign leader’s help with a business dispute since Trump was elected.”

        Yes, from WAPO; still, it is reporting the fact that there is admixture between Trump the president, and Trump the business.

        Should we applaud Trump’s acumen or question his company’s actions given Trump’s political position?

        1. In what direct way is the President involved? Once you recognize he is not directly involved one has to go to the details of what is happening and take note if those details differ from what any similar company would do. Along with that one has to assess the veracity of the article because today the WaPo has a tendency to spin the news rather than report it.

          Have you had dealings with Panama? Check out how things are done.

      3. Allan,
        Your buddies, the Kochs, are the ones driving the U.S. to become a banana republic using the shadow oligarch government of ALEC.
        Mueller’s investigation like the Watergate investigation is the prevention against corruption by authoritarian regimes.

        1. What is the crime Mueller is investigating?

          In your Stalinist world, the elite can investigate whenever they want for their own purposes. If you have something they like, they can take it.

          I repeat: “What is the crime Mueller is investigating?”

  8. Money is worthless until spent.

    Eliminate income tax — switch to national sales tax. Tax collection at point of purchase per participation in the economy.

    1. Of course Bayer (like Bill Gates) prefers a regressive tax. Without income tax, the poor would be paying for almost all of the infrastructure that enables business owners to fund their lavish lifestyles and efforts to undermine democracy.

      1. Not with a properly-structured sales tax.

        There’s a lot of malicious accusation, pure ignorance, and misrepresentation in your “reply.”

        Big surprise.

        1. Your first sentence demonstrates how little you comprehend matters economic.

          You could at least first do Econ 101. Then your comments would only appear naive rather than moronic.

    2. William Bayer, regarding your first sentence read “The History of Money”. Of course there is much more.

      1. Of course there’s much more, jackass. There’s always much more, you flaming jackass. Tell us about it, jackass. Tell us all there is to know about the history of money, you gigantic fraud.

        1. Tch, tch. If you must insult then at least be clever about it. Winnie Churchill was a master of that. Try reading his writings.

        2. William,

          Leaving lots of crumbs for finding one’s way out is usually a good thing.

          It is especially good when one’s use of nouns is repetitive and exhibits a tied tongue due to lack of vocabulary.

          You obviously excel at being steamed.

    3. Better yet, let’s have a consumption tax (VAT). Then the US will be the first country in the world to die from consumption.

  9. The reason the troll Lindas’ are talking about the Clinton Foundation-explained. Mueller is looking into $150,000 from Ukraine to the Trump Foundation.

  10. I think what’s telling in this report is that the lowest earning group up to $86K, as a group contributes net $0 to the treasury. I’m retired and our gross income is about $66K. We’re paying $5K to Uncle Sam. So, why do us <$86K taxpayers add up to net $0? Because the people in the lower half of this bracket aren't taxpayers, they're tax-rakers. Through generous and oft-fraudulent tax credits, the Treasury is being robbed.

    1. EITC is the law, so it’s not robbery. The trouble with EITC is that the formulae by which it is calculated are too rococo so credits are awarded erroneously. It’s also not audited by the IRS assiduously enough.

    2. Tax credits like those to Trump Industries… we can assume Trump is among the “1/2 tax rakers”, until his tax returns show otherwise.

      1. Linda, you can assume whatever you want. Assuming is permitted in this country though in a Stalinist regime you might be shot.

  11. The report should only be read after studying “How to Lie with Statistics”, still in print, I believe, after 60 years…

    1. The Congressional Budget Office has exactly the same data and shows the same trends. That the system which collects ~80% of the taxes from 20% of the taxpayers is nominally democratic should be little consolation. Ten of us vote on a tax regime. six vote for a regime in which they pay no tax, 2 pay 20% of the tax and 2 pay 80% of the tax. After the election, if the 4 resist, they are coerced by the state – their assets seized and they go to jail. It is theft backed by the power of the state. If any of the six simply robbed the four, they would be sent to jail. It should not be legal to do as a collective what is illegal as an individual. it certainly isn’t moral. The moral argument is no more complex than: You have it, so we’re going to take it.

      1. Labor is receiving the lowest share of national income in U.S. recorded history. The financial sector drags down GDP by an estimated 2%. Indeed theft is occurring and the thieves are the richest 0.1%.
        The majority want commonly owned goods like roads, water systems, bridges, schools- that is democracy working.
        By definition, slaves don’t pay taxes.

        1. Labor is receiving the lowest share of national income in U.S. recorded history. T

          It is not. It has been pointed out to you that this statement is false and demonstrably so from BEA data. It has also been pointed out to you that even a true statement would be misleading given the narrow range within which this metric varies.

          Stop lying.

        2. I have changed my mind. Labor obviously does not receive the lowest share of national income in U.S. recorded history, plus I don’t even understand the financial sector, so I will no longer comment on its impact on GDP.
          I am so jealous of the richest 0.1% I can’t even see straight. Why, oh why, wasn’t I born to rich parents????
          On the bright side, we have commonly owned goods like roads, water systems, bridges, schools – so we do know that democracy is working!

    2. 80% of the population pays only 10% of federal income taxes. That is a real figure. It is not a contrived number. You can say what you want about what that means, but it is a relatively pure number. Were you really a university professor in a scientific field?

      1. Yes. I also wrote a review of “How to Lie with Statistics” when I was just a senior in high school. That was Los Alamos, which makes a difference.

        But since you obviously haven’t read the book, the inadequacies just go over your head. You are in company; the defiencies of the study are beyond the vast majority, who muddle along to an unjust conclusion.

        1. “Yes. I also wrote a review of “How to Lie with Statistics” when I was just a senior in high school. ”

          Things seem to have gone downhill since then.

          I understand lying statistics and contrived numbers, but in this case, we are dealing with government figures that no one disputes. You might want to interpret the numbers in your own fashion and that is when statistics can lie, but these are relatively pure numbers and are about as good as we can get. (Do you have better numbers representing the same populations?)

          Tell us what the lie is instead of telling us your recollections of a long-ago bright future that somewhere seems to have led to some very inane comments.

        2. David Benson – I would be horrified to look back on some of my opinions as a senior in high school. I did a review of Dracula, which I am sure is comparable to your Opus Magnus.

  12. The comfort of the rich, depends on the abundance of the poor…………..Voltair.

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