Letter: Facts refute Beem, with 1 exception

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Edgar Allen Beem complained recently that the rich don’t pay their “fair share” (whatever that is) of taxes. He is simply wrong on the facts.

Based on the most recent full-year tax analysis available (2008), IRS data indicates that taxpayers in the top 1 percent of adjusted gross income paid over 38 percent of all federal income taxes in 2008; the top 5 percent paid over 58 percent of all federal income taxes in 2008. In that year, the top 1 percent of taxpayers were those declaring AGI in excess of $380,000; the top 5 percent were those with AGI of a little over $159,000. The bottom 50 percent of taxpayers paid a grand total of 2.7 percent of all federal income taxes.

Put a different way, here are the facts: the top 5 percent pay more in federal income taxes than the other 95 percent, and half the population pays virtually nothing in federal income tax. But that’s not good enough for Beem and others who share his views. I think the far left imagines a socialist utopia that can be financed by a tiny fraction of the population. America’s most productive and successful citizens believe that they are already paying their fair share (and more). They are right.

Beem did say in his column that he doesn’t “know squat about the U.S. economy … .” At least he got that part right.

Ernest L. Copley III
Cumberland Center

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