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In my last article, “The Fiscal Cliff Is Closer Than You Think“, I pointed to reliable facts that show that successful US citizens are leaving the USA in record and growing numbers. I also asked you to look at those facts and then do the math.


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That’s one of my favorite phrases… “Do the math.”

The reason why I use that phrase so much is because there are so many politicians, pundits, and legacy media types who throw out all kinds of wild statements, hoping that folks won’t stop to consider what it really means and that they won’t actually do the math.

So today, I would like to delve a little more into the math behind what’s happening with this flight of successful Americans.

To begin with, let’s look at the latest IRS Collections Data. This is data published every year by the IRS, about 18 months after the close of the related tax year. The latest such data available is for the 2009 tax year. (The 2010 data is very late coming out this year.)


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2009 IRS Collections Data (source IRS)
Number of
Returns
(000)
AGI
(000,000)
Income
Taxes
Paid
(000,000)
Group’s %
Share of
Total AGI
Group’s %
Share of
Total Taxes
Group’s
Avg. Tax
Rate (%)
Income
Floor for
Group
All
Taxpayers
137,982
7,825,389
865,863
100.00
100.00
11.06
(NA)
Top 400
* 400
108,204
19,593
1.31
1.9
18.11
 109.7MM
Top 1%
1,379
1,324,572
318,043
16.93
36.73
24.01
343,927
Top 5%
6,899
2,482,490
507,907
31.72
58.66
20.46
154,643
Top 10%
13,798
3,379,731
610,156
43.19
70.47
18.05
112,124
Top 25%
34,495
5,149,871
755,903
65.81
87.30
14.68
66,193
Top 50%
68,991
6,770,174
846,352
86.52
97.75
12.50
32,396
Bottom 50%
68,991
1,055,215
19,511
13.48
2.25
† 1.85
(NA)

* The Top 400 data is drawn from a related IRS PDF document.
† The average tax rate for the bottom 50% is drawn from a related IRS spreadsheet.

The first thing that I would like to point out is that, contrary to what the Democrats and the legacy media would have us believe, the rich not only pay taxes, but they pay far more than their share, based on income. The top 1% earned 16.93% of all US personal income in 2009, but they paid 36.73% of all personal income taxes that were actually collected. That’s after all tax breaks, deductions, exclusions, and even any possible cheating. It’s what was collected by the IRS. That’s 2.2 times their share, based on income.

The top 400 taxpayers have it only slightly better. Since there are roughly 400 billionaires in the USA, that’s generally who these people are. They earned 1.31% of all US personal income, but paid 1.9% of all personal income tax collected. That’s about 1.5 times their share, based on income. This also shows that far from being the rule, it is the exception to the rule for billionaires to pay less tax than their secretaries. That’s only the case if the secretary is in the top 5% of income earners, as is almost certainly the case with Warren Buffet’s secretary, based upon her stated tax rate.

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.


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