A recent poll conducted by Gallup to assess how Americans feel about the amount of taxes they pay revealed that only 55% of those polled believe their bill is fair, the lowest percentage in over a decade.
There is no doubt the tax code drowns taxpayers of every income level in needless complexity, nor that taxes are biting everyone in the paycheck after the payroll tax hike hit 77% of Americans, but a look at the data shows that if anyone should be unhappy with their tax bills, it’s the highest earners.
NTU’s analysis for the most recent year for which data is available (2009) shows that the highest-earning 1% of Americans pay an incredible 36.73 % of the income tax, the top 5% of earners pay over half of all income taxes, and the top 10% of earners pay over 70% of all income taxes.
Now, mere months after upper-income earners were slammed with a rise in the top marginal tax rate from 35% to 39.6 % in the Fiscal Cliff deal, the President is unveiling a budget that continues to craft tax policy which focuses on taxing upper-income earners at increasingly higher rates: Obama’s 2014 budget lays onto upper-income earners an additional $582.6 billion in higher income taxes, including adoption of the “Buffett Rule”, which enforces a mandatory 30% income tax on anyone earning over $1 million dollars.
Not only would this practice force upper-income earners to shoulder ever larger portions of the tax burden, but it harms economic growth by taking funds out of the private sector that could otherwise be used more productively by individuals.
In addition, as the Heritage Foundation points out in a great infographic that examines the spending side of the equation, higher spending sets a dangerous precedent that will inevitably lead to even higher taxes down the road.
Its high time politicians stopped holding the economy hostage in order to punish those who have done well, and focused some of that vigor on reducing spending so everyone’s tax bills can be lowered.