Happy Tax Day! With an odd element of fanfare, the Associated Press wants you to know one thing about America’s tax code: it’s broken and everybody knows it. In all, the Tax Policy Center estimates that 45 percent of U.S. households will not pay any federal income tax this year. “The vast majority of those who escape federal income taxes,” writes the AP, “have low and medium incomes, and most of them pay other taxes, including Social Security and Medicare taxes, property taxes and retail sales taxes.”
But much of the AP’s focus is on the few wealthiest Americans, who because of numerous loopholes in the tax code rarely end up paying to oft-quote top tax rate of 35 percent. The AP quotes one Columbia Business School professor who manages to pay only 1 percent of his six-figure income to the federal government. On average, the wealthiest Americans pay only 17 percent of their income in taxes, a dramatic decline from the 26 percent they paid in 1992.
Read more at The Atlantic Wire