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Thread: WSJ: Taxes—Who Really Is Paying Up

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    WSJ: Taxes—Who Really Is Paying Up

    >Even as President Barack Obama pitches the "Buffett rule" to ensure that millionaires pay at least a 30% tax rate, some commentators are decrying the fact that about half of U.S. taxpayers don't pay any federal income tax.

    But our tax system is more complex than any sound bite or simplistic headline can illustrate.

    Some multimillionaires do pay a lower effective income-tax rate than some middle-income taxpayers; receiving a chunk of your income via long-term capital gains rather than a paycheck is just one reason that happens. But the top 20% of income earners paid 70% of federal taxes in 2007, according to the most recent data available from the Congressional Budget Office.<

    http://ht.ly/aiSZV

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    And you fall right into the trap. Everyone pays taxes. It all goes to the beast.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nivek View Post
    And you fall right into the trap. Everyone pays taxes. It all goes to the beast.
    The difference is that everyone is also given the promise that the beast will give those taxes back in the future. Not so with FIT.

    (disregard for the moment the probability of getting those future payments)

  4. #4
    That's why Michael Dell takes most of his compensation in the form of stock options and just a relatively small salary.

    Buffet has done the same for decades.

    He ought to be campaigning for middle class tax cuts.

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    But the top 20% of income earners paid 70% of federal taxes in 2007, according to the most recent data available from the Congressional Budget Office
    what percentage of overall wealth do the top 20% of income earners have?

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    Quote Originally Posted by YoLaDu View Post
    what percentage of overall wealth do the top 20% of income earners have?
    Since these are income taxes, the better question is what percentage of overall income do the top 20% make. I'll start googling.

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    According to the Tax Foundation, quoting IRS sources, the top 25% (they didn't have the top 20%) made 66% of Adjusted Gross Income but paid 87% of taxes.

    Summary of Latest Federal Individual Income Tax Data

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    As the top brackets have been reduced over the past 30 years, the % the top pays has increased. Lowering the top brackets will merely exacerbate this situation, not reverse the trend.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dolemite View Post
    >Even as President Barack Obama pitches the "Buffett rule" to ensure that millionaires pay at least a 30% tax rate, some commentators are decrying the fact that about half of U.S. taxpayers don't pay any federal income tax.
    You do realize that when you speak of these 50% not paying federal income tax, this is mainly people over 65, right?

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    You do realize that when you speak of these 50% not paying federal income tax, this is mainly people over 65, right?
    yep, for many senior citizens, a) Social Security benefits are exempt from federal income taxes.

    b) the other big chunk is families using the GOP led child tax credits to greatly reduce their taxable income.

    in 1997, a married couple with 2 children that earned $24,000 or more paid some federal income tax.

    1. Enter the $400 child tax credit in 1997.
    2. Enter the 1999 increase to $500 per child.
    3. Enter the 2001 increase to $600 per child - not to mention Congress introduces the 10% income tax bracket, which lowered by 5 percentage points the lowest income tax rate.
    4. Enter the 2003 increase to $1000 per child.

    In 2003, a married couple with 2 children that earned $47,400 or less paid no federal income tax.

    c) another reason is due that may people's incomes declined dramatically in 2008/2009, dropping them out of the taxable income range. You can't get blood from a turnip and i don't rememeber any politican from either party proposing an adjustment to tax policy to recapture tax revenue lost from those people who were unfortunate enough to become poorer.

    So many ways to reduce your taxable income. We all take advantage of it, regardless of how much we ultimately end up paying or not paying.
    Last edited by YoLaDu; 04-17-2012 at 10:34 AM. Reason: getting it all neat and organized for y'all

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    The fall back comment that 50% of the population doesn't pay federal income taxes is just an argument to piss of the other 50%. I imagine there are some people in the Not-Pay-50% that should be paying federal income taxes. And I also agree that no one should receive money back. At best your federal income tax bill should be zero not a credit. I think that both cases above are the exception and not the rule.

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    I read that article yesterday. I think it was a response to the nytimes article on the French economists' take on American income disparity. I read the nytimes article first. When I read the wsj article, I wondered whether the idea that 50% doesnt pay income tax supports the thought that income disparity is increasing at alarming rates. If that is the case, why would you expect anything different than a smaller percentage paying a greater share of the income tax? I have to think that the real answer is that the tax code was not created with the idea that massive income disparities exist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by clear lake horn View Post
    According to the Tax Foundation, quoting IRS sources, the top 25% (they didn't have the top 20%) made 66% of Adjusted Gross Income but paid 87% of Federal Income taxes.

    Summary of Latest Federal Individual Income Tax Data
    And also remember, from the notes in your link:

    (3) The only tax analyzed here is the federal individual income tax, which is responsible for about 25 percent of the nation's taxes paid (at all levels of government). Federal income taxes are much more progressive than payroll taxes, which are responsible for about 20 percent of all taxes paid (at all levels of government), and are more progressive than most state and local taxes (depending upon the economic assumption made about property taxes and corporate income taxes).

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    Quote Originally Posted by clear lake horn View Post
    Since these are income taxes, the better question is what percentage of overall income do the top 20% make. I'll start googling.
    You're right to clarify, of course, but i'd love to see facts on wealth too. Income isnt the same as wealth. i dont think we have data readily available on wealth, since we only pay taxes on income, but there is some very research that shows that the top 1%ers are a very 'transient' group - meaning they only pop into the bracket with a major event. yes, income is concentrated, but not concentrated into the same people. Bob may only make $100,000 this year, but next year his company IPOs and he gets into the top 1%, before returning to his normal income level. One year he's part of that concentrated income, and the next he's not.

    Simplifying a bit, wealth comes from inheritance, savings of ordinary income, and investment growth. Bums who inherit but dont produce, could have high worth and no tax. medium-to-high income earners may have very little wealth, relatively, but pay a much greater share of taxes. those who generate wealth through investment growth would have higher wealth, regardless of their income.

    Point is, i think there's this big myth that the high income earners, as a rule, have incredible wealth. i bet the top 1% of income earners include lots of people who's net worth is less than their income in that year. for those who arent consistently in the top 1%, after you remove taxes and living expenses, the windfall year doesnt really make them wealthy.

    I dont know what this all really means, but it seems to me that we tax the only way poor people can become wealthy - income, while leaving those who have wealth alone so long as they dont do anything productive with it. seems pretty inefficient. not sure that means any other system would be better, but as a start i'd love to stop referring to high income earners as 'rich' or 'wealthy'. income and wealth arent the same thing.

    any shag economists here to tell me why i'm wrong?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by clear lake horn View Post
    The difference is that everyone is also given the promise that the beast will give those taxes back in the future. Not so with FIT.

    (disregard for the moment the probability of getting those future payments)
    This wont be the first promise broken.

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    Quote Originally Posted by YoLaDu View Post
    what percentage of overall wealth do the top 20% of income earners have?
    Wealth is not taxed. Says in article top 20% have 60% of the income.

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    Wealth is already taxed, when it's earned as Income.

    Thus, taxing wealth is double taxation. That's why the death tax should be abolished. That money has already "paid its fair share" when it was first earned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ousuxndallas View Post
    Wealth is already taxed, when it's earned as Income.

    Thus, taxing wealth is double taxation. That's why the death tax should be abolished. That money has already "paid its fair share" when it was first earned.
    what a compelling argument.

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    Arguments about the tax rate always miss the real point. Which is that no one should be paying an income tax at all and that the federal government shouldn't be the bloated, inefficient, corrupt POS that it is.

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    here's the problem folks:
    sixty years ago, when Republican President Dwight Eisenhower lived in the White House, corporations paid 32 percent of federal government’s tax receipts; last year they paid 9 percent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gil Bang View Post
    here's the problem folks:
    I dont that that says what you think it says

  22. #22
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    There's no point anymore in trying to explain the difference between long/short-term capital gains tax v. ordinary income tax. The Democrats will keep ignoring this face and keep using the phrase "Fair Share." I think the days of a "living estate tax" (where each tax year, a 'snapshot' is taken of your total estate and you have to pay in 3% of it in cash to the IRS) will arrive within the next 10-20 years.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by TheCruiser View Post
    There's no point anymore in trying to explain the difference between long/short-term capital gains tax v. ordinary income tax. The Democrats will keep ignoring this face and keep using the phrase "Fair Share." I think the days of a "living estate tax" (where each tax year, a 'snapshot' is taken of your total estate and you have to pay in 3% of it in cash to the IRS) will arrive within the next 10-20 years.
    Wait until they start taxing the windows in your house.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ousuxndallas View Post
    Wealth is already taxed, when it's earned as Income.

    Thus, taxing wealth is double taxation. That's why the death tax should be abolished. That money has already "paid its fair share" when it was first earned.
    I don't think the baby boomers deserve to inherit anything since they were the ones who let the country go commie. Let their inheritances go to pay down the national debt they rang up.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by YoLaDu View Post
    In 2003, a married couple with 2 children that earned $47,400 or less paid no federal income tax.
    I would be interested to know how many of these people received a "return" larger than any actual contributions they made.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dry Elbows View Post
    I would be interested to know how many of these people received a "return" larger than any actual contributions they made.
    "But right now, the fact (is) that according to the Committee on Joint Taxation, 51 percent -- that is, a majority of American households -- paid no income tax in 2009. Zero. Zip. Nada. … Actually, to show how out of whack things have gotten, 30 percent of American households actually made money from the tax system by way of refundable tax credits -- the Earned Income Tax Credit, among others. So 51 percent of American households paid no income tax in 2009, but 30 percent actually made money under the current system."
    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-me...households-pa/

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gil Bang View Post
    what a compelling argument.
    Good enough for me. $#@! the Death Tax

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Armybrat View Post
    Wait until they start taxing the windows in your house.
    I thought we were supposed to break all our windows to help support the economy.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCruiser View Post
    There's no point anymore in trying to explain the difference between long/short-term capital gains tax v. ordinary income tax. The Democrats will keep ignoring this face and keep using the phrase "Fair Share." I think the days of a "living estate tax" (where each tax year, a 'snapshot' is taken of your total estate and you have to pay in 3% of it in cash to the IRS) will arrive within the next 10-20 years.
    The Dutch and probably other enlightened Europeans already have a wealth tax. I wouldn't be surprised if we end up with something like that.

  30. #30
    Inflation is the most regressive tax of them all, the proceeds all go to the top 0.001%, and we don't vote on it. I did not see any mention of that tax or appraisal of its fairness in the article, so I conclude that the author is not paying attention.

  31. #31
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    gasoline taxes are also incredibly regressive but Obama lets those hike up and up...

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by TexonLongIsland View Post
    I thought we were supposed to break all our windows to help support the economy.
    Frederic Bastiat likes this post.

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