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IRS Numbers Shred Biden’s “Fair Share” Platitudes

Posted on Friday, April 12, 2024
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by Outside Contributor
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Do wealthy Americans pay their “fair share” of income taxes?  

If “fair” is defined as a reasonable equilibrium between someone’s share of income earned and their share of income taxes paid, then wealthier Americans actually pay more than their fair share.  

That might surprise many people, but it’s the inescapable takeaway from the latest Internal Revenue Service (IRS) numbers.  

It would certainly surprise Joe Biden, to the extent that he ever engages in thoughtful self-reflection.  Oblivious to the facts, however, Biden instead continues to rationalize his relentless effort to raise taxes by insisting that he simply seeks to make the wealthy pay their “fair share.”  

With this week’s grim news that the federal budget deficit has already reached a whopping $1.1 trillion just halfway through the 2024 fiscal year, Biden’s motive for raising taxes is obvious, even if his fidelity to facts leaves much to be desired.  The problem isn’t that Americans are undertaxed, it’s that Biden and the federal government are overspending.  

As for Biden’s “fair share” rhetoric, the IRS data eviscerates his claims.  

For the 2021 tax year, the latest fully available to the public, the top 1% of income earners (Americans with incomes above $682,577) earned 26.3% of the nation’s income.  But then take a look at the portion of the nation’s total income taxes that they paid:  45.8%.  Accordingly, the portion of total income taxes paid is nearly twice as high as their portion of total income earned.  

Under what form of logic can that gross disparity be characterized as “not paying their fair share?”  Even the most stubborn leftists must experience an episode of cognitive dissonance upon the realization.  

When it comes to the top 5% of income earners (those with incomes above $252,840), a similar imbalance exists.  They earned 42.0% of the nation’s total income, but paid a lopsided 65.6% of the nation’s total income taxes.  In other words, the top 5% is paying almost two-thirds of all income taxes, while their ratio of income on which they’re paying those taxes is well under half.  

Moving down to the top 10% of Americans (those earning above $169,800), they earned 52.6% of the nation’s total income, but accounted for 75.8% of all income taxes paid – over three-fourths.  

Even Biden himself would begin to detect a logical trend here.  

Continuing to expand the income bracket survey, the top 25% of income earners (incomes above $94,440) accounted for 72.1% of the nation’s total income, but paid 89.2% of the federal government’s income tax share.  

Examining the top half of income earners in America (incomes of $46,637 and higher), they earned 89.6% of the nation’s income but also paid a disproportionate 97.7% of all income taxes – nearly all of them.  

Taking a look at the bottom 50% of income earners (Americans earning below $46,637), they accounted for almost none of the nation’s income taxes paid.  Specifically, they earned 10.4% of the nation’s income, but paid a disproportionately low 2.3% of the nation’s income taxes – approximately one-fifth of their income share.  

Accordingly, the only income group in America that pays a smaller ratio of the nation’s income taxes than their share of income is the bottom half.  

Venturing beyond the question of shares of income earned and income taxes paid, however, what about actual tax rates paid by the various tax brackets?  After all, Biden and other leftists delight in claiming that people like Warren Buffett somehow pay a lower tax rate than teachers or firefighters.  

It will probably come as no surprise that those claims are similarly unserious.  

Again according to the official IRS data, as opposed to Biden’s mental meanderings, the top 1% of American income earners paid an average rate of 25.9%.  The top 5% to 1% bracket paid an average rate of 18.9%, with the top 10% to 5% of income earners paying a 14.3% average rate.  Moving downward, the top 25% to 10% bracket paid an average rate of 10.3%, while the top 50% to 25% bracket of earners paid an average rate of 7.2%.  Meanwhile, the bottom half of American income earners paid an average of just 3.3%.  

It’s also important to note that the U.S. income tax system has become more progressive since the 2017 tax cuts under former President Donald Trump, not less.  Since that date, the share of income taxes paid by the top 1% has increased from approximately 39% to today’s 45.8%.  

Accordingly, whether one prefers a flat tax or a progressive income tax under which wealthier Americans pay a higher rate, it’s impossible to intelligently argue that the U.S. tax system itself isn’t steeply progressive.  

And because tax policy maintains such outsized impact on our economy and wellbeing, it’s important to be guided by facts, not baseless rhetoric of the sort peddled by Biden and those who relentlessly demand ever-higher taxes and more government spending.

Timothy H. Lee is Senior Vice President of legal and public affairs at the Center for Individual Freedom (CFIF.org). 

Reprinted with Permission from CFIF.org – By Timothy H. Lee

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of AMAC or AMAC Action.

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GTPatriot
GTPatriot
1 month ago

This has been known for years. The “pay fair share” BS is actually a signal to middle income payers that they will have to pay more. Everyone knows the rich pay more than they should ( and I am not one). The 87 thousand additional IRS collectors are going after the $100 K crowd which is a moderate famiy income today. The Dims will tell you that “affluence” is $75K or more which is barely subsitence.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
1 month ago

I’m paying more than my “fair share” every time I buy $5.00/gallon gas and oay 40% more every time I grocery shop.

marty
marty
1 month ago

I’d like to see a break-down of O’Biden and son/ partner Hunter (both sets of books) and family. Where are spreadsheets for “10 % to the Big Guy” ? How does Joe “loan” his brother $ 200 k on a salary of $ 179 k / year ? D J Trump donated his pay to charities, does O’Biden ? He should write a book on how” Bidum(b)nomics Works”, Of course it would be sold in the”FICTION” section !!

GTPatriot
GTPatriot
1 month ago

This is the old pay more for less crap

anna hubert
anna hubert
1 month ago

Fair share means that ordinary working tax payer will be paying more while those with political power and influence will be paying minimum And if they owe millions in back taxes it’s OK No worries Only basket of deplorables will be harassed and threatened

Theresa Coughlin
Theresa Coughlin
1 month ago

One question no one ever asks the tax the rich crowd: What dollar amount do they have in mind when they say the rich have to pay their “fair share”?

Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
1 month ago

Dont forget folks, Congres sets rates and etc. The IRS just carries out the job for Congres. But I will admit the IRS does suck. Kyle L. P. S. We ne4d just a plain ole flat tax.

Jim McDowell
Jim McDowell
1 month ago

Everyone except my drug addict son needs to pay their fair share. Joe Biden

Beth Alimorong
Beth Alimorong
1 month ago

Very good to have facts, not talking points

brian
brian
1 month ago

I want to say the IRS numbers reflect the “collected taxes” from the individual, and categorize the groups their way using the data (reported income) collected from the received tax returns.

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