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.