by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
But each year, the nonpartisan Tax Foundation puts out its Facts & Figures report, a trove of data on taxes, both at the federal and the state level. This year’s edition, which uses 2015 tax-year data, reminds us why President Trump’s tax reform was so badly needed: The U.S. tax code is highly progressive when it comes to income.
The much-maligned “1%” of all income tax payers, it turns out, earn just under 21% of all adjusted gross income; but they pay 39% of all income taxes, and have an average tax rate of 27.1%, nearly twice the average of 14.3% for all taxpayers. That’s 1.4 million people out of 141 million total. To say they’re “not paying their fair share” is, on the very face of it, false.
D’oh. Even if you believe that they still aren’t kicking in enough to satisfy you, remember that tax policy shouldn’t be about penalizing some people and rewarding others. It should be fair and neutral. That’s the goal. Rather than wanting to demonize the successful, let’s applaud their efforts and success.