Sunday, April 3, 2011

Report Details Shift Of Tax Burden From The Wealthiest To The Middle Class

Wealth For the Common Good, which advocates for a more progressive tax code, has released a report, “Shifting Responsibility: How 50 Years of Tax Cuts Benefited the Wealthiest Americans.” A chart shows the steady decline in the federal tax rate–for the richest 400, as opposed to the rest of us:

The report details how the tax burden has shifted from the wealthy to the middle class, with further negative consequences for the middle and lower classes. It also undercuts conservative rhetoric about tax relief for the middle class and reducing the deficit:

Tax cuts for the wealthy between 2001-2008 cost the U.S. Treasury $700 billion, with all of these billions added directly to the national debt. Retaining these tax cuts will cost $826 billion over the next decade.

...state and local taxes remain decidedly regressive. This offsets, to a significant extent, our residual federal tax progressivity. Taxpayers in America’s middle fifth paid 9.4 percent of their 2007 incomes in total state and local taxes. Top 1 percent taxpayers that year saw only 5.2 percent of their incomes go to state and local taxes.

...Middle-class Americans entered the 21st century paying a higher share of their incomes in federal taxes than they paid midway through the 20th century. Wealthy Americans entered the new century paying less. Far less. Over the last half-century, America’s wealthiest taxpayers have seen their tax outlays, as a share of income, drop enormously, by as much as two-thirds for the highest-income grouping that the IRS tracks.

...despite all the “tax cut” political rhetoric and action of recent years, middle-class Americans have seen no tax savings. Wealthy Americans most certainly have.

...This great tax shift is exacting a high price. We see that price in America’s staggeringly unequal distribution of income.

...We also see the high price that tax cuts for the wealthy exact whenever a “we-must-live-within-our-means” elected leader claims we have no alternative to cutting the programs that benefit low- and middle-income American families.

And our children and grandchildren will see even more of that high price tomorrow, when they will be asked to pay back, with interest, the trillions our federal government has been borrowing to offset our loss of tax revenue from wealthy taxpayers.

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