To the editor:
I suppose we shouldn't be allowed luxuries or conveniences. Let's just quit saving for retirement also and live on Social Security or the kindness of such charitable persons as Harry G. Shaffer. Admitting his liberal slant, I'm sure Mr. Shaffer never met a tax he didn't like that would soak the rich.
This data for 2001 is from the IRS. The share of total income taxes paid by the top 1 percent fell to 33.89 percent from 37.42 percent in 2000. This is mainly because their income share (not just wages) fell from 20.81 percent to 17.53 percent. However, their average tax rate actually rose slightly from 27.45 percent to 27.50 percent.
Think of it this way: Less than $4 out of every $100 paid in income taxes in the United States is paid by someone in the bottom 50 percent of wage earners. The top 50 percent were those individuals or couples filing jointly who earned $26,000 and up in 1999. (The top 1 percent earned $293,000-plus.) People who want to are continuing to improve their lives.
The top 1 percent is paying more than 10 times the federal income taxes paid by the bottom 50 percent! And who earns what? The top 1 percent earns 17.53 percent (2000: 20.81 percent) of all income. The top 5 percent earns 31.99 percent (2000: 35.30 percent). The top 10 percent earns 43.11 percent (2000: 46.01 percent); the top 25 percent earns 65.23 percent (2000: 67.15 percent), and the top 50 percent earns 86.19 percent (2000: 87.01 percent) of all the income. It looks to me like the rich are paying more than their "fair" share.
Robert M. Tyler,