NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

The Rich Are Already Paying Their Fair Share

July 14, 2003

There is substantial mobility in and out of the ranks of the very wealthy, a fact documented by Forbes in its annual survey, notes Bruce Bartlett.

  • According to a recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, between 1988 and 1998, 47 percent of those in the lowest income quintile rose to a higher quintile, and 47 percent of those in the top quintile fell to a lower one.
  • Furthermore, although the average tax rate on the top 400 fell, one has to go to the original IRS report to discover that their share of total income taxes paid rose by 50 percent, from 1.04 percent in 1992 to 1.58 percent in 2000.
  • In the United Kingdom, the top 1 percent of taxpayers paid 23 percent of income taxes this year.
  • In Canada, the top 1 percent paid 24 percent in 2001.
  • In Australia, the top 5 percent of taxpayers paid 27 percent of income taxes in 2000.

In all countries for which Bartlett can find data, the percentage of taxes paid by the rich is rising, he says. Yet this fact does nothing to diminish demands that they pay even more.

Source: Bruce Bartlett, "The Rich are Already Paying Their Fair Share," National Center for Policy Analysis, July 14, 2003.


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