The 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.