Tax “reform” – a question for readers

Tax “reform” – a question for readers November 29, 2017; By Jericho [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Every year, Gallup asks the question, is the amount of taxes paid by low-, middle-, and upper-income people fair, or too much or too little.  Regarding the last of these three groups, the percent of people replying that they pay too little started at 77% in 1992 and 1993 (the first two years of data), dropped to 68% in 1994, and has been more or less bouncing around in the 60s since then; in 2017, 63% of Americans answered that this group pays too little.

For reference, the Clinton tax hike that bumped the highest marginal tax rate up from 31% to 39.6% occurred in 1993; was the drop in Americans who believed that the rich paid too little caused by this tax hike, or did it just coincide with it?  Tax rates dropped in 2003 to 35%, then went back up to 39.6% in 2013, but neither of these seemed to move the needle on the “too much/too little” poll question.

But before digging into this further, and because lunch break is over, I’m going to pause with a question:

What, in your view, bracketing the admittedly connected question of government spending, is the “right” total marginal tax rate (federal, state, local) for someone making $250,000?  $500,000?  $1 million or more?  Is there a point at which it’s so high as to be immorally confiscatory, or too low so as to be unfair to the rest of us?  What would a “Goldilocks” middle-ground, feels-right starting point be, to be tweaked by budgetary needs afterwards?


Image:; By Jericho [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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