A minimum tax for the wealthy
A huge tail wind from tax cuts has pushed us along. In 1992, the tax paid by the 400 highest incomes in the United States (a different universe from the Forbes list) averaged 26.4% of adjusted gross income. In 2009, the most recent year reported, the rate was 19.9%. It’s nice to have friends in high places.
The group’s average income in 2009 was $202 million—which works out to a “wage” of $97,000 per hour, based on a 40-hour workweek. (I’m assuming they’re paid during lunch hours.) Yet more than a quarter of these ultrawealthy paid less than 15% of their take in combined federal income and payroll taxes. Half of this crew paid less than 20%. And—brace yourself—a few actually paid nothing. This outrage points to the necessity for more than a simple revision in upper-end tax rates, though that’s the place to start. I support President Obama’s proposal to eliminate the Bush tax cuts for high-income taxpayers. However, I prefer a cutoff point somewhat above $250,000—maybe $500,000 or so.
Additionally, we need Congress, right now, to enact a minimum tax on high incomes. I would suggest
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