Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I Got An Uncle Lives In Taxes. Dollars, Taxes!

His defense of this rate is rather illuminating:

"I pay all the taxes that are legally required, not a dollar more," Romney said at the debate. "I'm proud of the fact that I pay a lot of taxes."

Interesting factoid in the article, however. The average American pays an eleven percent tax rate.

I found the table which underlies this statement on the taxfoundation.org website, quoted in the article. While it does indicate that all Americans pay an average of 11.06% of income in Federal income taxes (note the distinction), the breakdown is rather...eye-popping. I'm not sure Mitt wants to be associated with it.

For instance, the bottom 50% of taxpayers earned about a billion dollars, and paid about 2% in income tax. OK, so far, not bad, right? After all, there's earned income credits and other refundable tax credits that offset withholdings.

The breakpoint for this income split is about $32,000 a year, by the way.

The next 25 percent, from the top 25% to the bottom 50%, pays three times as much in taxes, but only earned an additional $600 million.

Think about that: altho the income for the group was higher (nominally 60%, but let's double it, since it represents only one half the population of the first group, so let's say 120% higher), the taxes went up geometrically.

It gets worse. The next 15%, from the top ten percent to the top twenty-five percent, earned only $100 million more than that middle 25%, but paid nearly 50% more in gross taxes as a percentage of that income!

In other words, of that $100 million in incremental income, nearly half went to just federal income taxes alone!

And it continues onward and upward. But here's the thing: the incremental increase in the average tax rate slows down the higher up the income scale you go. That is the opposite of progressive. That's almost regressive.

The bottom 50% pay about 2%.

The next 25% pay about 6%, a difference of 4% nominally, but a tripling of the rate paid.

The next fifteen percent pay 8.25%, slightly more than 2% nominally, but only a rate of increase of less than 50%.

The next 5%, the five to ten percent range, pay 11.5%, slightly more than the national average and an increase of 3% nominally, but a rate of increase of only 40%.

The next four percent, from 1% to 5%, pay 16.4% nominally, but a rate of increase of only 30%.

The top one percent pay 24%, or a rate of increase of 50%. Finally, some normalcy restored.

But wait! The rate of increase in income?

Bottom 50% earn 13.5% of the entire adjusted gross income of the United States (AGI). Next 25% earn 20.7%. Next fifteen, 22.6%. Next five, 11.5%. Next four, 14.8%. Top one percent: 16.9%

So while we can see that the rich do pay more in taxes, it is the middle classes who bears the greatest tax burden, in terms of the increment to their taxes paid versus the increment to their incomes, in the nation.

Mitt is not paying his fair share. No one in the top 1% is.