Following Joe Biden’s CNN town hall on Wednesday night, the intern who runs the president’s Twitter account decided to reinforce some of the boss’s big messages. Here is the most infuriating one:
It’s past time the wealthy pay their fair share.
My Build Back Better Agenda gets it done.
— President Biden (@POTUS) July 22, 2021
Where to begin? Can any Democrat other than Bernie Sanders accurately define “fair share”? At least when Sanders was running for president, he admitted that funding his outrageously expensive programs would raise taxes on the middle class. On the other hand, Biden is proposing nearly $6 trillion in new spending and is still screaming about taxing the rich.
Don’t misunderstand. Sanders also proposed a wealth tax on earnings and net worth for the top 0.1%. Biden proposes an effective 61% tax on wealthy estates, raising the top tax rate to 39.6%. But Sanders never pretended that the top 1% of earners would be the only Americans to see a tax increase. Biden is, and it is ridiculous. Middle- and working-class families are already paying an effective tax called inflation, which experts (except the ones who advise Joe Biden) predict will increase. More out-of-control spending will ensure this is the case.
Additionally, the top 1% of earners have paid the lion’s share of federal income taxes for the last two years that final statistics are available. It just so happens that they are the year before and the year after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) went into effect. In 2017, according to the Tax Foundation:
- The share of reported income earned by the top 1 percent of taxpayers rose to 21 percent, from 19.7 percent in 2016. Their share of federal individual income taxes rose to 38.5 percent, from 37.3 percent in 2016.
- In 2017, the top 50 percent of all taxpayers paid 97 percent of all individual income taxes, while the bottom 50 percent paid the remaining 3 percent.
- The top 1 percent paid a greater share of individual income taxes (38.5 percent) than the bottom 90 percent combined (29.9 percent).
- The top 1 percent of taxpayers paid a 26.8 percent average individual income tax rate, which is more than six times higher than taxpayers in the bottom 50 percent (4.0 percent).
In 2018, the first year under the TCJA, the percent of federal taxes paid by the top 1% of earners went up:
- Since 2001, the share of federal income taxes paid by the top 1 percent increased from 33.2 percent to a new high of 40.1 percent in 2018.
- In 2018, the top 50 percent of all taxpayers paid 97.1 percent of all individual income taxes, while the bottom 50 percent paid the remaining 2.9 percent.
- The top 1 percent paid a greater share of individual income taxes (40.1 percent) than the bottom 90 percent combined (28.6 percent).
- The top 1 percent of taxpayers paid a 25.4 percent average individual income tax rate, which is more than seven times higher than taxpayers in the bottom 50 percent (3.4 percent).
So the share of all federal income taxes paid by the top 1% of earners is 40%. Sounds more than fair to me. They pay seven times the tax rate of the bottom 50% on a much larger income. To enter the top 1% in 2018, a family must have earned more than $421,926. The average income in that group was $1.32 million. The average income in the bottom 50% was $50,107.
That means, on average, a family in the top 1% paid $335,280 in 2018. The average family in the bottom 50% paid $1,703.64. From the 2018 analysis, the top 10% of earners paid 71.4% of all federal income taxes. It is fair to ask Biden to define “fair share” because the top 10% of earners use far fewer government services than the bottom 50%. The tax system is already a massive wealth redistribution scheme. Exactly how far does he plan to push it?
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Particularly when his “Build Back Better” proposal is a monstrous government jobs plan. This proposal is a payback to the AFL-CIO for launching the “shadow campaign” that ensured his election. All of these government jobs are sure to be union jobs, according to Biden and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The problem is that there are approximately 10 million open jobs nationwide, and jobless claims are up again this week. We don’t have a job shortage. We have a “people willing to get off the government dole” shortage.
So, Biden’s actual proposal to the restaurant owner who asked him about staffing shortages goes something like this. He’ll have to pay people more to beat the government competition. Meanwhile, he will be paying more for the food, energy, and retail space to run his 32 restaurants. If that doesn’t take his income down out of the highest tax bracket, he gets to pay the government more. Then the chain he has worked to build and leave to his children could be taxed at a rate of 61%.
There are many more people like that gentleman who are successful but are not guilt-ridden oligarchs like Bezos, Gates, and Buffett and begging to pay more in taxes. Soon the restaurant chain owner and others like him will happily trade a couple of mean tweets for what they had in 2019. Or at least an honest broker like Bernie Sanders, who was going to bankrupt everyone.