Soaking Rich Cite Needed

Paul Henry Rosenberg rad at
Tue Dec 8 18:06:59 PST 1998

Jim Cullen wrote:

> Can anybody on this list tell me how the wealthiest income category's share
> of tax payments has fluctuated over the past five, 10 or 20 years, and how
> that relates to other income categories' share of tax payments?
> Following is an exchange from a Reform Party list in which a respondent
> claimed that the "higest incomes pay a larger perchantage of the total tax
> bill than ever in the history of the country." That claim strikes me as
> false, but I can't find any figures to support my suspicion.

Rather than plunging into the numbers, you need to stand back & see what this means. Tax rates for the wealthy have declined of late (I believe Citizens for Tax Justice -- -- still has a table that tracks the highest tax rates since the income tax came in), compounded most recently by the slashing of capital gains taxes.

At the same time, income polarization is accelerating, with more and more income going to those at the top.

So, assume for the sake of argument that the wealthy (top 10%, top 5%, top 1%, top 1/2%, it doesn't matter for the sake of this argument) ARE paying a larger portion of taxes than ever before.

Q: What does this mean?

A: They are getting an even LARGER portion of income than ever before.

I think it's best to make this qualitative argument first, then plug in the numbers.

> He doesn't say what constitutes the highest incomes, but let's say the top
> 20%--or come up with your own threshold if you prefer.

Your interlocutor does much more than that. "Class war" in his lexicon starts when the poor hit back -- with mere words, no less!

> >I really tire of class warfare - really tire of class envy. It is time
> >to stop pitting one group against another. I am not of the "rich", but I
> >resent the inaccurate statement indicating the "rich" got their tax
> >breaks.

Like I said, go to CTJ, and shove the facts down this guy's throat.

> > The higest incomes pay a larger perchantage of the total tax
> >bill than ever in the history of the country. It is precisely because of
> >the double whammy of so called "progressives", AKA socialists, and the
> >Republican fascists (both sides of the same coin), that we have the
> >terrible confiscatory tax rates we have now.

Ah! The Third Way! Where's Juan Peron when you really need him?

-- Paul Rosenberg Reason and Democracy rad at

"Let's put the information BACK into the information age!"

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list