It’s no longer enough to try to pay for massive upper income tax cuts by gutting the social programs that help the poor. The latest front in the war on the poor revolves around taxes. An obnoxious group is prancing around claiming that they are part of the 53 percent that pays taxes, and they want to raise taxes on the other 47 percent, the “freeloaders”. Yes, the cat is out of the bag! Republicans want to raise taxes on the poorest, to keep low (or cut further) the taxes on the richest. Obscene?
But let’s break this down. This notion that 47 percent do not pay taxes is simply false. People are looking only the federal income tax. They ignore payroll taxes, which raise about as much in revenue, and tend to burden poorer people more. They ignore the state and local taxes which also tend to be regressive. They ignore a lot. Jonathan Chait presents the the total picture. The bottom line is that taxes are really not that progressive at all. The richest one percent gets about 20 percent of the income and pays about 20 percent of the taxes.