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Don’t Forget the Facts If You Want to Raise Taxes on the Rich

1 min readBy: Kyle Pomerleau

In a recent Economic Policy Institute paper, Thomas Hungerford discussed public opinion on taxA tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities. es and some proposals to reform the tax system.

While this specific series is called a Fact Sheet, there is an important fact that Hungerford leaves out that is crucial for any discussion of the individual tax code.

He cites a Gallup poll that found 61 percent of Americans think that upper-income people pay too little in taxes. He uses this poll to extrapolate that taxpayers do not want “distributionally neutral” tax reform; they actually want the rich to pay more. Unfortunately he missed this opportunity to point out the fact that high income taxpayers already pay a disproportionately large share of the tax burden despite public opinion. According to IRS data, taxpayers that make more than $200,000 only make up 4 percent of the taxpayers and make 28 percent of the national income, but pay more than 50 percent of all income taxes.