5% Of U.S. Taxpayers Account For 60.6% Of All Tax Revenue, 47% Will Pay No Federal Tax In 2009

Tyler Durden's picture

An interesting observation courtesy of Mint: of the 307,868,280 Americans out there, which compose 151,485,000 tax units, 46.9% will have zero federal income tax liability in 2009. Brilliant plan to keep the country happy: the poor pay no taxes, the rich get a massive stock market bubble to sell into, and the disappearing middle class...well, they can pay $20 for a hotdog and beer combo in Prague on that once-every-five-years vacation.

h/t John Connor


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crosey's picture

I'd like to think that when the VAT hits (to pay for healthcare), the Fair Tax discussion will resume.

Elimination of corporate and personal income tax, and introduction of a consumption tax, is the only way that the middle class will survive.

Should I dream of an end to fiat currency too?!

DaveyJones's picture

consumption tax picks up the underground economy too.  

Unscarred's picture

Well, given that the O-blunder economy is unresponsive and hooked up to a breathing machine, I say we double-down on the underground economy ASAP!

Shit, what do we have to lose at this point?

I've gotta think that a lot of underground 401k's will be the only things supporting anyone for the next 30+ years.

Astute Investor's picture

I agree 100% that the Fair Tax is a tax system that makes sense and would be an important building block for more stable, long-term economic growth.  However, implenting the Fair Tax would mean the elimination of many high-paying service jobs (CPAs, tax lawyers, consultants, etc.).  It's hard to see how people in those professions would let such a system be enacted which mean the elimination of their jobs.  Too much money and political power to let that happen.

Anonymous's picture

That simply means they would have to become "producers" instead of being parasitic leeches surviving off the energy and labor of others.

Anonymous's picture

In the contemporary world of high productivity there aren't many possibilities to find a job which is really productive.
I mean that very few workers are needed to produce all the goods that are needed for the rest of the society. The rest of the population that can't find a job in manufacturing probably are just not needed and according to your logic have to die. Would you like to see America with the population of just 3-10 million that are still needed to full up work positions that are left after all the outsourcing to China?
Sure it will make you happy that there will be no "parasitic leeches " to disappoint you.....

Anonymous's picture

Hey moron (I don't usually start out my responses this way, but yours deserves special attention)...

Because we ALL know that Henry Ford's invention of the assembly line caused the deaths of every single blacksmith, carriage maker, sanitary worker (that had to clean up after the horses), rancher (that raised horses), and a host of other occupations...

Get real dude, open your eyes, and look at how economies really work.

Anonymous's picture

wished the graph was made simpler to understand at first sight.

LittleSambo's picture

I'd prefer to see a flat tax implemented.  Not a flat rate tax - a flat tax.

No capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.




Anonymous's picture

If we're going to adopt a new tax system, I say the only way is to follow the Constitution and abolish the income tax completely.
The income tax was adopted in 1913 in a shadey and underhanded way by Congress and ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
However, the Supreme Court has no power to carry out its rulings and Congress did nothing to repeal the amendment, and have done nothing but abuse it since.
The Fair Tax is not fair, as it puts the burden of taxation on the youngest generations, and would further cripple the economy by taxing those of us who would purchase items in order to be entrepreneurs. The FairTax only replaces one bad system with another bad system.
Watch "The Money Masters DVD" for the two step solution for our financial troubles.
Then you will see why the FairTax won't make a bit of difference.......

Anonymous's picture

The name implies exactly what it says--"FAIR" equal to all. If anything the fair tax takes money only from newly made products--used products are not taxed again. The young and old will pay the same, all necessities will be credited with a rebate each month; the old will pay the same just like the young--retirement accounts will be taxed as well (only when money spent)--I buy a new automobile, I pay the tax--you buy a used auto --no tax! only new products!. ..No IRS--no accountants, no jail time--no illegals not paying fair share; no underground economy; no state tax; no filing of tax; and collection will be done only by a shadow of the IRS. Read "Neal Bortz and John Linders" book "the Fair Tax" to get the complete answers. The only reason this bill HR.25 will not pass is Congress members will lose their power over us!!

andy55's picture

A splendidly fascinating breakdown of data -- there's a LOT of information impressively organized there.  It would be interesting to see some time/trend data in the form of a similar breakdown from say the last two years (although I realize in practice Mint may not have that data).

I find it interesting that the $500k+ category (1% of the tax units) makes up for about 40% of federal tax revenues.  This suggests that it would be illuminating to see that 1% broken into smaller pieces.  You'd hope that that the top .1%, which generally kicks off the truly elite class percentile, makes up a majority of that 40% block, but with high powered accountants and tax shelter tactics I'm not so sure.

Divided States of America's picture

Only the rich can hire tax specialists to evade taxes. Look at Wesley Snipes, Mike Tyson, half of the Democrats in the house and Turbo Tim.

Mad Max's picture

The third and fourth noted evaders are more scofflaws than users of professional tax planning.  And Snipes had a very close call.

sethstorm's picture

...as well as Republicans, and various multinationals.

Charlie J's picture

Yes, having tax specialists is a necessity if you are wealthy.  But, have you ever heard of AltMin?  Do you even know what it is?

D.O.D.'s picture

The unemployment rate back in March 2007, just nine months before the recession started, was 4.4%. Compare this to the 7.5% unemployment rate nine months before recession of the early 1980s. According to Deutsche Bank economist Joseph LaVorgna, in relative terms "the current deterioration in the labor market is without precedent."

Philips said Congress will likely enact $250 billion in additional fiscal measures to support growth over the next three years, including $75 billion more in 2010. However, recent developments -- including the $45 billion law enacted last Friday to help homebuyers -- make this assumption look increasingly conservative.


duckweed's picture

Friedman's shock doctrine begin's at 2:24  - wake up sheeples!


Anonymous's picture

@dickweed: You are a freaking idiot. I can only hope you will last to see statisim in its true form. People like you, useful idiots, will be the first to go.


Milton Friedman's Ghost

Unscarred's picture

Why is it that the most critical posts always come from the same Anonymous user?


max2205's picture

Hell yeah, that's why the don't try increase employment to a large degree.  Help just enough to prevent a march on DC.

Great post,  DC is diying because most of the layoffs are at that 100 k area supporting 26% of the income tax flow....the rest don't mater to them because the numbers don't change enough to effect Inc tax flows.


Lets look at this after Pelosi kills Bush tax cuts



Anonymous's picture

Don't get me started!

Anonymous's picture

The poor don't pay any income tax, but pay tons of payroll taxes. If you look at the combination of federal tax, state tax, social security tax and medicare tax, thing look a little more balanced.

Anonymous's picture

Don't forget...payroll taxes (federal) are split between the employee and employer.

Jerome Lester Horwitz's picture

Payroll taxes are paid 100% by the employee. Splitting the amount between employer and employee is nothing but a gimmick to make the employee think that the employer is getting hosed too.

Anonymous's picture

That's true.

But, supposedly, payroll tax (which includes social security and medicare) isn't really a tax, right? Paying the social security tax creates an obligation on the part of the government. So, either it's forced savings and not just a tax to support the vast welfare state - as the liberals like to claim - or it's just a tax. Liberals like to claim it as a tax when it's convenient and as a government retirement plan when somebody complains that it's just wealth redistribution.

Either way, it's not a lot more balanced. Higher earners pay way more even on an effective tax basis.

SRV - ES339's picture

Good point... the 47% is misrepresented as "no taxes" (instead of no Federal Income tax) by the right all the time... seems they never get called on it.

Anonymous's picture

The top 1% of taxpayers earn about 23% of adjusted gross income; they pay about 27% of *combined* federal income and payroll taxes. I don't like taxes, but if we're going to pay at these levels this breakdown seems reasonable, modestly progressive and hardly "soak the rich."

Anonymous's picture

And that's why they get up $5,000.00 in EIC and up to $1,000.00 per child for child tax credit. things look a little mor UN-balanced!

phaesed's picture

Well, if it really hurts your feelings that the poor aren't paying a large portion of the taxes, just remember that while you enjoy your $20 hot dog, they're enjoying the remains of that pigs dirty cousin.


I get why there's the furor over the poor not paying taxes.... perhaps the middle class small business owner will think about that and cough up more than minimum wage.

Anonymous's picture

more likely is that they'll just hunker down and not hire anyone in the first place

Anonymous's picture

Si what he said.

Anonymous's picture

si what he said.

duckweed's picture

yes, increase the pay for those who serve you, help the poor little proles shoulder their load. this article is crap. anyone in that top 1%, I ask you? how much do you have left as discretionary income after you pay your taxes? those toward the bottom do not even know the phrase "discretionary income".

Miyagi_san's picture

does discretionary income come before you fill up your gas tank or after

mberry8870's picture

Therefore take it from me???? Is the spelling of your alias correct?

Anonymous's picture

There are obviously some committed socialist here that will never admit the unfairness of the tax burden on higher income earners. They will always believe that the rich (whatever that means) don't pay their share of the taxes. When you present the with the facts, they still don't believe it.

It is said above they pay payroll and sales taxes as a defense. So what, people of higher incomes pay that as well, and more of them taxes also. Many poor don't pay payroll taxes because many choose to not work. I was a case manager for years, so I saw it first hand.

jefe95's picture



Is that really how you think?

faustian bargain's picture

Right, because it's middle class money-grubbing that's causing all the problems here.

Not to worry though...since misery loves company, the middle class will soon be joining the poor in the soup line. See, they really do believe in equality.

Rollerball's picture

Because there is no such thing as balance or middle ground?  There is only left or right, up or down.  Fence sitters, or "balancers", become expendable because they don't subscribe to extreme(ly) ambitious method?  Surely you jest.

Mad Max's picture

You know, making a combined $80k or $100k is really not any more than just scraping by for a couple with two children in most urban areas.  It won't even leave enough to save much for college or retirement.  On the coasts even a combined $200k isn't going to make you rich.  But it does get you a hefty tax burden.

Ultimately, though, it's not so much about whether the middle class has "enough," it's about basic fairness.  When you see people with no education, no skills, and nothing really going for them but the ability to collect a check (welfare, unionized unskilled labor, or otherwise), getting more out of the system (whether as cash, vouchers, scholarships, interest-free loans, subsidized housing, or whatever) than people who have degrees and have worked their butts off from age 16 onward, you see a system that is grossly unfair.  And becoming more reminiscent of the socialised economies that collapsed under their own misallocations.  It's happening here, right now.

RockyR's picture

the other problem we haven't mentioned here is that people who don't pay taxes still vote...  the participate in the decision making for the system without bearing any of the cost.  that is a HUGE problem.  we talk about moral hazard around here a lot, we should be able to recognize the issue for what it is.

duckweed's picture

as if your vote(or thiers) makes a difference. ROTFLMAO!!!

you're still sleepwalking.

Tommy's picture

By your logic, illegal aliens who pay taxes are the ones really getting screwed.


Historically, land owners were the only ones with a "vote".  IMO, The US got really strong by giving all people (no woman originally) the vote which fosters a sense of belonging and sharing in any national prosperity.

duckweed's picture

land ownership is an abomination. this earth is not owned by anyone.

Anonymous's picture

Property rights are the foundation of law and individual rights. You must be a communist

DonnieD's picture

The illegal aliens can go back to where they came from if they are getting screwed.

It's easy for a citizen to want for free healthcare/welfare when they will never pay for it. It's like children running the parent's finances.

The liberal game plan is to get enough voters benefiting from their handouts to overwhelm the voters who are paying for them.

Charlie J's picture

This always make me think of the old saying, "Once people realize that they can vote themselves money, they will."

torabora's picture

We had a single parent Dad come to our public college Board Meeting and thank the college for all the free shite he got that made him able to attend college...as opposed to working I suppose.

duckweed's picture

who are you getting your information from? is it glen beck, limbaugh, or are you channeling Newt Gingrich ala 1994? You're talking smack at worst, or just don't have a clue as to what you are talking about at all, at best...

I have generally made, on average, around 80K/yr, for the past twenty years. And you are right about one thing, 80K in 1989 allowed me to live large for a little people, 80K in 2007(last year I worked), I felt like I was barely scraping by.

As for the working or non-working poor though, and I know many poor people personally, family members included, they are not collecting checks, they might recieve food stamps and their children some medicare benefits, but not a single one is able to just live off the System. And not a single poor person I know is aspiring to live off the system, every single one has at least a part time, minimum slave job, that gives them just enogh so that can continue to serve ignorant degree clutching greedheads like those that espouse the kind of nonsense you just wrote.

I have done the only courageous thing thing that is left, I have dropped out of the sytem entirely, and I have no qualms of taking from the rich, THEY ARE THE PROBLEM. Of course if I take anything from the rich, it will not be done under any legal system set up by themselves.

I am here at zerohedge to make the rich and those who pretend to that their fate is in alliance with the rich - UNCOMFORTABLE. there are many more like me and our numbers are growing.

rockin the revolution!