Every time President Obama speaks to a crowd of supporters about his jobs bill he always says that it is not too much to ask for millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share in taxes. He once defended his plan to raise taxes on the rich claiming it is not class warfare, it is math. Mr. Obama’s math has raised some eyebrows, because every fact check report that has come out on the subject says millionaires and billionaires in the United States already pay more in taxes, and pay more than their fair share.
Progressives argue that the wealthiest Americans need to be taxed more, because they are not paying their fair share, but always fail to elaborate what exactly a “fair share” means. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), millionaires and billionaires already pay more in taxes. In fact, the highest tax bracket is expected to pay 29% of their income for 2011 taxes. Middle income brackets will pay 12-17% of their income. A progressive tax system already exists in the United States even with the Bush-era tax cuts. Despite what people hear from the mainstream media these cuts have given tax breaks and lowered taxes for more people than just the wealthiest Americans.
According to data from the IRS, the wealthiest 1% of Americans actually pay 40% of the total amount of income tax taken in by the federal government. President Obama seems to believe this isn’t enough. Ten percent of income earners in the United States contribute to 70% of total tax revenue. Why is such a small percentage of Americans carrying such a heavy tax burden? Part of it may have to do with the fact that roughly 47% of American households do not owe any income tax come tax time. In fact, some within the 47% get even more money back from the federal government because of tax breaks.
Within the progressive ideology there is an argument that even if the wealthiest 1% of income earners in the United States pay nearly double (in terms of percentage) in taxes lower income families still pay a higher proportion of their salary, which any economist or mathematician will agree is absurd. No matter how much a person makes 17% is always going to be a smaller proportion than 29%. Progressives simply don’t like the fact that the wealthy are wealthy, because no matter how you look at it, whether you look at percentage, proportion of income, or actual dollar amount the rich pay more. It is a blatant lie to suggest otherwise.
Shouldn’t President Obama be advocating real fairness? The biggest problem seems to be that 47% of American households are not paying an income tax. If we are going to speak of fairness perhaps we should be looking into a flat tax system that eliminates loopholes and entitlements and simplifies the tax code. Everyone pays an equal rate. Everyone is treated equally under the law. That’s true fairness.