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It's math: The rich pay more

The notion that the rich don't pay their "fair share" in taxes got Barack Obama reelected. And it is not true, as IRS data confirm once again.

We have written before about how much "the rich" pay in federal taxes. As we noted in April: the left-leaning Tax Policy Center and the Congressional Budget Office both show that the rich pay far higher percentages of their income in federal taxes than the poor or middle class. The Congressional Budget Office divides the American public into fifths, ranked by income. The bottom fifth of Americans pays just 4 percent in total federal taxes. The remaining four-fifths, ranked in order from lowest to highest, pay these percentages: 10.6 percent, 14.3 percent, 17.4 percent and 25.1 percent. As a group, the richest Americans pay more than six times the federal tax rate that the lowest-income Americans pay.

Ah, but what about federal income taxes alone? IRS data released last week show the same trend. As reported by The Wall Street Journal on Monday, the figures show that Americans who earn between $200,000 and $500,000 pay, on average, 19.6 percent of their adjusted gross income in federal income taxes. Every income group above $500,000 pays at least 24 percent.

The average for people who make between $100,000 and $200,000 is 12 percent. For those between $50,000 and $100,000 it's 7.5 percent. For those between $30,000 and $50,000, it's 3.1 percent. Those who make less than $30,000 a year pay nothing, getting more money from Washington than they send in.

Though the math is on their side, somehow Republicans cannot figure out how to rebut the false assertion that "the rich" pay less in taxes than everyone else.

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