Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Top 400 Income Earners Got A Tax Break

It is extremely enlightening to look at this particular table from an IRS document that reviews the 400 tax returns with the highest adjusted gross income (i.e. the top 400 income earners). What strikes me odd is how the rate of taxes these very, very rich people paid got smaller and smaller over the years covered, 1992-2007:
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This shows the returns to the rich in "investing" in a little lobbying and bribery. Buying politicians is cheap when it can cut your tax bill this much.

All that yapping about "American taxpayers are burdened by too much taxes" sure paid off for these 400 people. What about the other 200+ million taxpayers?

Here's a bit from a comment by David Wessel in his blog on the Wall Street Journal:
In its annual update of the taxes paid by the 400 best-off taxpayers, who aren’t identified, the IRS also said that only 220 of the top 400 were in the top marginal tax bracket. The 400 best-off taxpayers paid an average tax rate of 16.6%, lower than in any year since the IRS began making the reports in 1992.

To make the top 400, a taxpayer had to have income of more than $138.8 million. As a group, the top 400 reported $137.9 billion in income, and paid $22.9 billion in federal income taxes.

About 81.3% of the income of the top 400 households came in the form of capital gains, dividends or interest, the IRS data show. Only 6.5% came in the form of salaries and wages.
You really have to pull out a hankie and shed a few tears for these guys. They didn't qualify for the top tax rate because they are "struggling" with incomes above $138 million. Yeah, I know it is tough. It only makes sense that they are taxed at a lower rate. They have it tough!

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