The Wall Street Journal reports the top 20% of earners in the U.S. pay 84% of the country’s income taxes.

The bottom 40% of earners are net tax recipients. They receive payments from the government (i.e., the actual taxpayers). They receive this cash—through things like the Earned Income Credit—even though they have no income tax burden.

  The much-maligned top 1% of Americans (about 3.2 million people) earn 17% of all U.S. income… but they pay almost half of all income taxes (45.7%). And the top 5% account for two-thirds of the entire U.S. income tax burden.

Thus University of Michigan economics professor Mark Perry gives thanks to some groups you’ll never see praised outside his Carpe Diem blog:


As we analyze and compare tax burdens, I would like to personally express my sincere gratitude to:



A) The 3 million Americans in the top 1% with incomes above $615,000, for shouldering almost half of the total U.S. income tax burden with only 17% of the total income.



B) The 16 million Americans in the top 5% with incomes above $261,000, for bearing almost two-thirds of the income tax burden with only 29% of the total income, and



C) The 65 million Americans in the top 20% with incomes above $134,000, for shouldering almost the entire tax burden (84%), with only about half (51%) of total U.S. income.


Thank you entrepreneurial, hardworking, successful Americans in the top 20% for shouldering such a disproportionate share of the total federal income tax relative to your income—you’ve helped to ease the tax burden on the rest of us in the bottom four quintiles.

Bottom line: Consider this data the next time you see a report slamming the “evil 1%-ers.” I wonder… do those desiring greater income equality also desire greater tax equality?

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