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Not So Simple
In the last several decades the wealth hasn't been spread so much as concentrated—at the top. The share of total income going to the top one percent of income earners more than doubled from nine percent in 1970 to 23.5 percent in 2007. (The Great Recession has since narrowed the gap.) And while, as noted above, the rich pay a greater proportion of their income in taxes, the share of total taxes paid by the richest Americans is commensurate with their share of national wealth.
Examining the total tax burden—state, federal and local—Citizens for Tax Justice calculated that the top one percent of households (average income $1.3 million) earned 20.3 percent of income and paid 21.5 percent of taxes in 2010. The tax code is studded with a costly bevy of deductions and preferences—mortgage interest, employer-sponsored health insurance, retirement savings—that benefit wealthier taxpayers over those with modest incomes. The rich are so smart about making money, but they are so blind about seeing real value in the future and what it's leading to.
Ted Rudow III,MA