In Pictures: How Much the Top Earners Already Pay in Taxes

America has heard a lot of talk about the “Buffett Rule” – President Barack Obama’s plan to make the tax code more “fair” by permanently raising taxes by $1.5 trillion over 10 years, with most of the burden falling on families and businesses earning more than $250,000 per year. But if he wants to talk about “fairness,” he should look at how much top income earners already pay in taxes, as the chart below shows:

In a new paper, Heritage’s Curtis Dubay explains that the supposed “fairness” of the new rule is anything but fair:

To President Obama, it is “fair” to raise taxes on families and businesses earning more than $250,000 a year by raising their income tax rates and limiting their deductions. That must also mean he believes that they currently pay too little in taxes.

Yet the data show the highest-earning families and businesses already pay the lion’s share of the federal income tax burden. According to the IRS, the top 1 percent of income earners–those earning more than $380,000 in 2008–paid more than 38 percent of all federal income taxes while earning 20 percent of all income. The top 10 percent ($114,000 and above) earned 45 percent of income and paid 70 percent of all taxes. At the same time, the bottom 50 percent of income earners–those earning less than $33,000–earned 13 percent of all income and paid less than 3 percent of federal income taxes.

Read more of Dubay’s paper, “The Buffett Rule: Fair to No One,” at Heritage.org.

Warner Todd Huston

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago-based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com, BigJournalsim.com and all Breitbart News' other sites, RightWingNews.com, CanadaFreePress.com, and many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs across the country to discuss his opinion editorials and current events as well as appearing on TV networks such as CNN, Fox News, Fox Business Network, and various Chicago-based news programs. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the book "Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture" which can be purchased on amazon.com. He is also the owner and operator of PubliusForum.com. Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston and follow him on Twitter, on Google Plus , and Facebook.

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