In a CNBC written and video report yesterday entitled online “The Rich Pay All The Taxes,” CNBC reporter Jane Wells yesterday examined a Congressional Budget Office report released this week.
The Report broke down individual wage earners’ share of total individual income taxes paid in 2010 into five quintiles and found the following percentages:
- Lowest 20% – 6.2% (that is a minus sign in front of the number! That happens when people receive government transfers exceeding any taxes they pay.)
- Second 20% -2.9% (that also is a minus sign)
- Middle 20% +2.9%
- Fourth 20% +13.3%
- Top 20% +92.9%
Ms. Wells than concluded that the top earners are not only paying their own share, they’re paying everyone’s share.
3 Questions That Arise From This Story
1. Hey, the top 40% may exceed 100% of taxes paid, but you seem to have forgotten the middle 20% who have an average contribution of 2.9%… are you saying these are the rich people who pay everyone else’s taxes? That seems like a stretch, because that would assume 60% of American individuals are “rich,” which some may disagree with if they are not being paid $240 million dollars to play for the Seattle Mariners for the next decade.
2. Hey, what about the rich people who allegedly or legally don’t pay any tax? Or individuals in the lowest quintile who don’t receive government transfers? It seems the CNBC interpretation assumes that all the rich people in America pay everyone’s taxes. Just try to convince Wesley Snipes to pay your tax bill next time you’re hanging out at the local H&R Block. He may not pay your taxes, but he may reenact a scene from Blade where the vampire magically disappears!
3. Which category do people in tea party uniforms fall in? If it’s the top 20%, maybe it’s time for Louis Vouitton, Gucci, and other high-end luxury retailers to start manufacturing luxury tea party hats and cash into this market! And if they are paying a negative share of the total individual taxes paid, maybe they need an ironic hat. We might suggest a trucker cap popular among early 2000s hipsters with a corporate logo changed into something mildly witty or at least mildly similar to the corporate logo.*
*preferably more mild than Taco Bell mild sauce. Maybe the hat could use similar fonts to say something like “Tax-oh Hell!” (“Tax, Hell, No!” Would work better for their purposes, but we’ll leave that to the imaginations of ironic trucker hat designers.)
I’m pretty sure I’m somewhere in that bottom 40% – is someone going to give me back the money I’ve paid?
That’s a tough question, especially since you are the first cat we are aware of that files tax returns. Consult your animal accounting professional!