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Do the rich pay enough taxes?

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Posted: 3 pm ET

Should the rich pay more in federal taxes? It depends on who you ask. According to a Gallup poll conducted last month, the sentiment among the middle class is that the wealthy should pay more in taxes. But -- not surprisingly perhaps -- the wealthy don't agree.

As political talk increases around allowing the Bush-era tax cuts to expire to help pay for the deficit, President Barack Obama has defined the wealthy as those couples who earn at least $250,000 per year.

The Gallup poll indicates that only 6 percent of households earning more than a quarter million a year think their taxes are too low. According to data compiled from 2005 to 2011, the majority (67 percent) of upper-income Americans say their taxes are too high.

Among the broad population, the poll shows that half of Americans believe the amount they pay in federal income taxes is too high, while 43 percent consider it about right and 4 percent too low.

Among that same group, there's little sympathy for those in the upper-income brackets. Only 13 percent think the rich pay too much in taxes, while 59 percent believe they pay too little.

Finally, the poll points out that part of the reason the rich may be feeling put upon when it comes to taxes is that, depending on deductions, they fall into the highest federal tax brackets of 33 percent or 35 percent, while those making the median household income (approximately $50,000) are in the 15 percent tax bracket.

Do you think the federal tax system is fair, and that increasing taxes on the wealthy is a good way to pay down the country's deficit?

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June 16, 2011 at 8:08 pm

I guess if your one of the 50% of Americans who pay no tax, then retribution of wealth with higher taxes on those who pay taxes is a great idea.

If your a hard working American who creates jobs, saves and accumulates wealth then you are evil and don't pay enough taxes. For those who demonize the American Dream what is a fair tax 40, 50, 75 or 100% of your income. For me I am tired of working for free loaders and have closed my business and retired, to enjoy doing nothing but riding my Harley s'.

Dick Brandlon
May 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Let's not concentrate on the declared tax rate for people making over $250,000, but instead concentrate on the actual tax rate paid after loopholes, deductions only available to the upper incomes, etc.
When Warren Buffett says that he pays a lower rate than his secretary, we'd all better pay attention.

May 05, 2011 at 7:56 am

I don't think I am even in the middle class...maybe lower middle-class! However, I don't feel that the wealthy (at least not 250k...I don't think that is "wealthy") should have to pay more taxes. They do pay a higher percentage of their income, plus they have more money to spend, which they use to buy more high end things (houses, cars etc) where they pay more taxes as well. They are the ones creating jobs...especially small business owners that would be most hard hit.

What I WOULD be in favor of is eliminating the cap on SS taxes being collected. That is one area where the lower and middle classes are stuck paying and the higher income earners get to skip out on. This would go a long way in helping with the Social Security solvency and allow other funds being used to hold up this program toward other things. If Warren Buffet's gross salary each year is 2 million (I know I'm way underestimating!) leaving the SS tax @ 4% gives 80k to SS vs approximately 8k where it stands right now!

May 04, 2011 at 11:31 pm

I wonder if the 43% of people who are happy with the amount of taxes they pay might fall into the same group who pay no federal income tax at all? Close to 50% of all american wage earners pay no federal income tax. Believe me, if I paid no income tax I would be VERY happy.

Another thing that never gets mentioned, if we are raising taxes where does that additional money go? It goes to an ever increasing number of spending programs. Why should we tax the rich just so we can keep spending an ever increasing amount of money? No, it is time to stop spending the crap out of other peoples money.

And for the record, my household does not fall into the 250k so I'm not looking out for myself. It's called principle, and it is a trait that many in this country are lacking and we are definitely worse off for it.

May 04, 2011 at 6:09 pm

I think the rich should pay more into Social security they do become rich off the backs of peiple who work for them. Social Security has a cap at $ 104,000, I think it should be raised to one million.