A recent letter claimed the top 10 percent pay 70 percent of federal income taxes. This is misleading. It doesn’t count payroll taxes (FICA and Medicare), which are paid disproportionately by the middle class. It also discounts state and local taxes, which fall most heavily on working people. (Of all taxes, the sales tax is the most regressive.) I also consider the cost of private health care insurance the equivalent of a tax (it is a mandatory expense).
Here is a breakdown of taxes paid by those of us with taxable income from $34,600 to $106,000:
Social Security and Medicare: 15.3 percent
Federal income tax: 25 percent
State income tax: 5 percent (midrange)
Health care insurance: 15 percent
Property tax: 15 percent
Why are we so concerned about the plight of millionaires when the real-world tax rate for the middle class is a confiscatory 75 percent?
Republicans cry “job killer!” at any suggestion of a tax increase for the rich. OK. George W. Bush lowered the top rate to 35 percent in 2002, where it remains, promising more jobs would result. So where are the jobs?