President Barack Obama has been repeating a dubious claim about the tax rates imposed on our nation's citizens. He suggests that lots of middle-class workers are paying a higher tax rate than millionaires pay.
But that's far from the truth.
Numerous individuals and organizations have debunked that claim, and The Associated Press recently did so, too.
"President Barack Obama says he wants to make sure millionaires are taxed at higher rates than their secretaries," the AP noted. "The data say they already are."
The AP added: "On average, the wealthiest people in America pay a lot more taxes than the middle class or the poor ... . They pay at a higher rate, and as a group, they contribute a much larger share of the overall taxes collected by the federal government."
Specifically, the 10 percent of U.S. households that have the biggest incomes pay more than half of all federal taxes including more than 70 percent of federal income taxes.
For 2011, more than 29 percent of the income of households making more than $1 million will go toward federal taxes which includes income, payroll and other taxes collected by the federal government. That compares with the 15 percent that households earning between $50,000 and $75,000 a year will pay to Washington. And it far exceeds the 12.5 percent that households with annual income of $40,000 to $50,000 will pay. Those gaps are roughly similar when you exclude payroll taxes and look only at federal income tax rates.
In fact, nearly half of all U.S. households almost all of them with low or medium incomes pay zero federal income taxes, though they do pay some payroll taxes.
In other words, wealthier Americans are not getting a pass on paying their share of federal taxes, despite the president's claim to the contrary.
And yet he is calling for higher taxes on those with higher incomes, in the name of "fairness."
What's fair about saddling those who are already paying the lion's share of federal taxes with even higher tax rates?