Vermonters have learned that we can always count on Senator Bernie Sanders use a political crisis as an excuse to engage in demagoguery. The crisis we face as a nation is one of over spending similar to what some European countries are facing. Some politicians, like Senator Sanders, are trying to avoid the necessary act of deep spending cuts and argue that we can get out of the crisis with tax increases. Here is a excerpt of a recent letter that Senator Sander sent to President Obama:
“The wealthiest Americans and the most profitable corporations in this country must pay their fair share. At least 50 percent of any deficit reduction package must come from revenue raised by ending tax breaks for the wealthy and eliminating tax loopholes that benefit large, profitable corporations and Wall Street financial institutions.”
There are several problems with this. First of all, “the wealthiest Americans” ARE already paying more than their fair share.
According to an April 2009 Congressional Budget Office report, in 2006 (the most recent data available) the top 1 percent of taxpayers made at least $332,300 annually and paid 28.3 percent of all federal taxes. The top 10 percent (earning $98,100 or more) paid 55.4 percent of all federal taxes. Meanwhile, the bottom 60 percent of taxpayers earned up to $47,399. They paid 14 percent of all federal taxes.
Regarding effective federal tax rates, CBO reported April 4 that in 2007, all taxpayers averaged a 20.4 percent tax rate. However, the top 1 percent effectively paid 29.5 percent, and the top 10 percent paid 26.7 percent. The bottom 20 percent of taxpayers paid an effective rate of just 4 percent.
The facts simply do not support Senator Sanders’ rhetoric. Then again, when has he ever let facts get in the way of a good rant?