What America's Richest 400 Pay in Taxes

The adjusted gross income of the wealthiest 400 taxpayers jumped 277 percent in real terms between 1992 and 2008, nearly four times the increase for everyone else. Over that same period, the effective tax rate on the richest 400 taxpayers (note: not necessarily the same people year-to-year) fell from 30 percent in 1995 to the 18 percent rate in 2008. Bob Williams of the Tax Policy Center graphs and writes:

Check out the sharp drop in their effective tax rate over the past 15 years--down from 30 percent in 1995 to the 18 percent rate in 2008. Compare that with the 24 percent rate paid in 2008 by people with income between $500,000 and $1 million. The rest of us also saw our tax rate drop from a peak of 15.4 percent to 12.4 percent in 2008. But that doesn't take into account that AGI of the top 400 jumped 277 percent in real terms between 1992 and 2008, compared to a 77 percent increase for everyone else. Adding insult to injury, with so little earnings and so much investment income, the very rich pay a relative pittance in payroll taxes compared to the rest of us.

Read the full story at TaxVox.

Presented by

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Video

The 86-Year-Old Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

More in Business

Just In