Saturday, February 20, 2010

Richest 400 Taxpayers See Incomes Double, Tax Rates Halved


For Democrats wavering in their resolve to end the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, shocking new data from the IRS should hopefully stiffen their backbones. Between 2001 and 2007, the 400 richest taxpayers doubled their annual incomes to an average of $345 million, while their effective tax rate plummeted to only 16.6% from 29.4% in 1993.
Following recent analyses confirming that income inequality in the United States has reached record levels, noted tax journalist David Cay Johnston summed up the new data, "The incomes of the top 400 American households soared to a new record high in dollars and as a share of all income in 2007, while the income tax rates they paid fell to a record low. The numbers tell the tale of the widening chasm between the rich and everyone else:
In 2007 the top 400 taxpayers had an average income of $344.8 million, up 31 percent from their average $263.3 million income in 2006, according to figures in a report that the IRS posted to its Web site without announcement that were discovered February 16...
Adjusted for inflation to 2009 dollars, the top 400 enjoyed a 27 percent increase in their income, or nine times the rate of increase for the bottom 90 percent...Since 1992, the bottom 90 percent of Americans have seen their incomes rise by 13 percent in 2009 dollars, compared with an increase of 399 percent for the top 400.
Unsurprisingly, the public disclosure of the top 400 report first introduced by the Clinton administration was halted by President Bush (only to be reinstituted by the Obama White House last year). Unsurprising that is, because the sheer size of the massive windfall for America's rich due to the Bush tax cuts would make a Warren Buffet blush.

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