The Corner

Today’s Questions for the President

During your bus tour this week you repeatedly called for “shared sacrifice” and for the “wealthy” to pay their “fair share” in order to reduce the federal deficit and debt. According to the latest IRS data:

  • The top 1 percent of income earners pay 38 percent of all federal income taxes. They earn 20 percent of all (adjusted gross) income.

  • The top 10 percent of income earners pay 70 percent of all federal income taxes. They earn 55 percent of all income.

  • The top 25 percent of all income earners pay 86 percent of all federal income taxes. They earn  67 percent of all income.

  • Approximately half of U.S. households pay no federal income taxes whatsoever.

From which of the above categories do you want more “shared sacrifice?”

Do you want those in the top 25 percent of income earners to pay more than 86 percent of all federal income tax? If so, how much more?  

Do you maintain that the top 25 percent should pay more federal income taxes because they use federal government services or benefit from federal government programs more than those who pay no federal income taxes? If so, which specific federal programs/services provide more benefits to the top 25 percent than to those who pay no federal income taxes?

What, if anything, should be the “fair share” paid by those presently paying no federal income taxes?

The threshold adjusted gross income for the top 25 percent of income earners is $67,280.  Do you consider that “wealthy?”

Peter Kirsanow — Peter N. Kirsanow is an attorney and a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

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