Me-First, Screw Everyone

What they will scream: But the rich still “pay close to 60 percent of this nation’s taxes!” What you should say: Such statistics refer only to the federal income tax. When considering all of “this nation’s taxes” including payroll, state and local levies, the top 5 percent pay just 38.5 percent of the taxes. What they will scream: But 38.5 percent is disproportionately high! See? You’ve proved that the rich “contribute more than their share” of taxes! What you should say: Actually, they are paying almost exactly “their share.” According to the data, the wealthiest 5 percent of America pays 38.5 percent of the total taxes precisely because they make just about that share — a whopping 36.5 percent! — of total national income. Asking these folks to pay slightly more in taxes — and still less than they did during the go-go 1990s — is hardly extreme.

via David Sirota on Salon.