by Max Brantley
The New York Times offers the Occupy movement another reason for anger at the increasing concentration of wealth and disparity of income in the U.S.
It's a lengthy examination of how billionaire Ronald Lauder avoids paying income taxes.
But this factoid is worth noting. It was particularly interesting to me after a Twitter exchange I had last week with a Republican state senator lamenting a supposed 50 percent tax rate. I volunteered to show my tax return if the senator would show hers to prove that well-off families pay nothing like a 50 percent federal income tax bite, not even counting payroll taxes. My challenge wasn't accepted. But anyway, the factoid:
The tax burden on the nation’s superelite has steadily declined in recent decades, according to a sliver of data released annually by the I.R.S. The effective federal income tax rate for the 400 wealthiest taxpayers, representing the top 0.000258 percent, fell from about 30 percent in 1995 to 18 percent in 2008, the most recent data available.
By way of comparison, taxable income above $69,000 for a married couple filing jointly is taxed at 25 percent. It's 15 percent above $17,000. Ronald Lauder does NOT feel your pain.