Our Highly Inequitable Tax Code

In today’s 24/7 news cycle, the facts sometimes have way of being skewed.  This morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Mike Barnicle tried to make the case that taxes needed to go up on successful American and small businesses.

What Mr. Barnicle said is actually true –America does have a highly inequitable tax code.  As the Heritage Foundation chart below demonstrates, the Top 10% (incomes above $112,000) paid 71% of all federal income taxes in 2009 even though they earned 43% of all income.

For additional perspective, Heritage says the bottom 50% paid just 2% of income taxes but earned 13% of total income.  Even more alarming is that about half of tax filers paid no federal income tax at all.

We can – and should – discuss whether more people should be paying taxes, if tax hikes will slow the economy, and what real tax reform looks like.  But to do all that in a way that is conducive to economic growth, we first have to agree on the facts.

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