Is The Middle Class Really Carrying The Tax Burden? A Contrarian View On "No Shared Sacrifice"

There has been much discussion lately about whether the US middle class is being unfairly penalized and carrying the burden of a tax regime that benefits the uber-wealthy. While that may certainly be the case on some statistical basis, especially if a literal handful of people account for the bulk of the income, thus skewing the median and the mean representation (a topic extensively analyzed in Nassim Taleb's Black Swan), below we present two charts that come straight from the IRS which show that talk of "no shared sacrifice" is largely unfounded. The first chart looks at the effective tax rate by income cohort; the second, and far more dramatic hockeystick chart, demonstrates the number of people paying no income tax. The results are, to say the least, quite surprising.

First, effective tax rate by income bucket:

Second, and even more surprising, the percentage of filers paying no income tax.

Charts courtesy of John Poehling