Your “Fair” Share of Taxes

October 27th, 2008

My former occupation was Internal Revenue Agent and I feel that the Election Taxes Calculator comparing your 2009-2012 Federal Income Taxes under Obama v. McCain pretty fairly represents what will occur. In my situation I came out approximately the same under both candidates plans so that will not be a factor for me. How will your US income taxes fare under the candidates? See the end of the spreadsheet for details but those earning under $100K will do substantially better (by hundreds) under Obama’s plan, those earning more than $300K will do substantially better (by thousands) under McCain. Those earning between $100-300K will not see a great deal of difference between the two.

Income taxes is only one piece of the entire tax picture. When you add and subtract all the different kinds of taxes, there is effectively a flat tax for everyone except the very poorest and very richest. The combined tax burdens of Social Security tax, sales tax, property tax, vehicle tax, and gasoline tax actually show a pretty even overall tax burden between the $50,000 – $300,000 income levels.

Do you know that a poor person pays the same gas tax as a rich person – possibly even more because they can’t afford to buy the new energy efficient vehicle which only the more affluent person can afford? (& thus got a tax credit the poorer person didn’t qualify for).

Sales taxes are even more unfair on the less affluent because a larger portion of their income goes to buying necessities which means “stuff’ on which sales tax is paid (4.4% for income of $15K vs 1.4% for income of $400K); the more affluent buy more services, which are mostly untaxed.

Property taxes run about 1% for every level yet the affluent get a larger tax benefit at the Federal & State level because of higher marginal rates.

Up to $100K you see 6.2% of your wages disappear to Social Security taxes yet those over $100K stop paying resulting in an effective FICA tax of 1.5% for those earning $400K and .7% for those earning $5M. The reasoning, ostensibly, is that there is a cap to benefits – why not raise the cap and the $ flowing into the system?

Those who are able to afford stocks and bonds get such benefits as lower dividend and capital gains rates that lower wage earners do not generally have the income to invest in.

By my calculations (assuming a married couple with one child in all instances) effective Income/Rates are:
$15K (4%) Minimum wage, see Minimum Wage Barely Pays Rent
$20K….. 4%,
$30K ….. 12%,
$50K….. 21%,
$75K….. 22%,
$100K…. 17%,
$150K…. 18%,
$200K…. 21%,
$400K…. 21%,
$5M…… 38%