I have a lot of time for Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) in the USA: most people have a lot of time for CTJ: few people produce more reliable data in that country than they do. So I appreciated this recent commentary from them:
A recent Wall Street Journal editorial touts new figures from the IRS2 as evidence that the rich are actually paying a higher share of federal taxes under President Bush and that the tax code has, therefore, become more progressive over the past eight years.
The Journal uses the IRS figures to create the impression that the poorer half of Americans are contributing almost nothing to federal revenue while the wealthy are providing the bulk of it.
The figures illustrate that, for example, the richest one percent of taxpayers paid almost 40 percent of federal income taxes in 2006, up from almost 34 percent in 2001. Meanwhile, the poorest 50 percent paid only about 3 percent, down from about 4 percent in 2001.
Do the rich pay too much in taxes? Has the tax code become even more progressive as a result of the Bush tax cuts?
Of course not. The share of taxes paid by the rich looks large and growing only because the Wall Street Journal ignores the tax that affects the poor and middle-class most heavily - the payroll tax.
Is there no limit to the distortion neo-liberals will offer to prove their case?
For the full story, go here.