Five myths about millionaires.

Among other things, the Washington Post dispenses with the notion that millionaires don’t pay their fair share, or that they pay less tax than their secretaries:

In a speech on Monday, Obama said raising taxes on millionaires isn’t class warfare, but “math.” His math may be off: According to the IRS, those with adjusted gross incomes of more than $1 million paid an average of 23.3 percent in federal income taxes in 2008; those earning between $100,000 and $200,000 paid 12.7 percent; and those earning between $50,000 and $100,000 paid 8.9 percent. Nearly half of American families don’t make enough money to pay federal income taxes at all.

Why do people think millionaires pay less? One cause of confusion is that stock dividends and capital gains are taxed at a maximum of 15 percent, while regular income in their bracket is taxed at a maximum of 35 percent. The rich often earn more dividend and capital gains income than regular income, so it’s tempting to wrongly conclude, as Warren Buffet has, that millionaires “wouldn’t mind being told to pay more in taxes.” But dividends are paid out of corporate profits that have already been taxed. So Buffet’s equity earnings are doubly taxed: He pays 35 percent at the corporate level and 15 percent on his own return.

2 thoughts on “Five myths about millionaires.

  1. Fair point, but I think Warren is talking about personal incomes.

    Also, keep in mind that corporations pay tax on _profit_ not _income_, and most corporations spend a lot of time and money on complex “tax planning” strategies that greatly reduce their tax liability.

    Whether or not corporations actually pay their fair share of tax is another argument entirely.

  2. Corps contribute by employing millions of workers who will pay income tax. I would rather have them employed that on Social assistance.

    They also pay when purchasing through sales, leasing and other expenses.

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