The nation's top 400 taxpayers reported a total of $85.6 billion of income on their federal income-tax returns for 2005 — an average of $213.9 million apiece, according to Internal Revenue Service data obtained by The Wall Street Journal.So: federal income tax rates for the zillionaires have been slashed from 30% to 18%. Hell, I pay more than 18% in federal income tax. If you factor in payroll tax, their total tax rate is probably just about identical to Joe Average. That's quite a progressive tax system we've got, isn't it?
....The top 400 taxpayers have greatly increased their share of individuals' income since the mid-1990s. The group accounted for 1.15% of total income in 2005, up from 1.02% the prior year — and more than twice as large as its 0.49% share a decade earlier. It's the highest percentage since the early 1990s, which is as far back as the IRS data go.
Even after adjusting for inflation, the minimum amount of income required to make the top-400 list has nearly tripled since 1992.
....The average federal income-tax rate for the group was 18.23%....well below the average income-tax rate of nearly 30% back in 1995, when Bill Clinton was in the White House. By contrast, the average income-tax rate for 2005, based on all returns filed, was 12.6%
The Journal's editorial page will undoubtedly explain tomorrow why this state of affairs remains deeply unfair to the mega-yacht crowd. Probably something about how their total share of the income tax burden has gone up. Which it has. After all, when your total share of income more than doubles, you'd sort of expect to pay at least a little bit more in taxes, wouldn't you?
Well, you would, anyway. The Journal editorial page, I'm sure, will beg to differ.