More and more the media and the national rhetoric seems to be in step with my post title listed above.  More and more it seems I have to remind people that the evidence says otherwise:

Washington, DC, October 24, 2011–The income earned by the top 1% of Americans has declined for the second year in a row while their average tax rate has increased, according to a new Tax Foundation study. The average federal tax rate for those reporting at least $343,927 in income has increased from 22.5% in 2007 to 24.0% in 2009, while the average income for the top 1% has declined from $1.4 million to $1 million over the same period.

The Tax Foundation’s analysis is based on new data from the Internal Revenue Service on individual income taxes, reporting on calendar year 2009.  The amount of individual income tax paid steeply declined by $166 billion, twice the decline from 2007 to 2008.  Nationally, average effective income tax rates were at their lowest levels since the IRS began tracking them in 1986. The average tax rate for returns with a positive liability went from 12.2% in 2008 to 11.1% in 2009.

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“During a time of economic downturn, we expect to see significant changes in both total income reported and the share of taxes paid by those with the highest incomes,” said Logan. “Unlike middle-income wage-earners whose incomes and tax liabilities are fairly steady, high-income people tend to realize significant capital gains that fluctuate wildly with the economy, causing their income tax liabilities to fluctuate as well.”

In 2009, the top 1% of tax returns earned 16.9% of adjusted gross income and paid 36.7% of all federal individual income taxes. In 2008 those figures were 20.0% and 38.0%, respectively. Each year from 2005 to 2007, the top 1 percent’s constantly growing share of income earned and taxes paid set a record. The 2008 reversal of this trend continued in 2009. 

More in the link.

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