Mitt Romney has two tax principles. First principle: I'm cutting taxes. Second principle: "People at the high end" should pay the same share of total taxes. Sounds simple enough. It isn't.
About that first principle: Romney wants to extend the 2001/2003 tax cuts cuts permanently and cut each marginal tax rate by a fifth. That would bring the top marginal tax rate, now at 35 percent, down to 28 percent. To make up some lost revenue, he says he'd eliminate some deductions and exemptions.
About that second principle: "People who are at the high end" stand to keep a lot of extra money when Romney cuts their tax rates by 20 percent. But they won't pay a higher share of overall taxes? Something's gotta give. Remember: About 50% of the country doesn't even pay federal income taxes, and the top 1% pays more overall federal taxes than the bottom 60% combined.
To dig deeper, here's a breakdown, via TPC, of various brackets' share of income and share of federal taxes (income, payroll, etc). The bigger dark-blue pizza slice is the bottom 80 percent. As you move clockwise, you go up the income ladder.
You can take a lot of lessons away from these charts including: (a) Yes our tax system is progressive; and (b) yes, the rich pay a lot of taxes, because (c) wow, they sure do capture a lot of the income to begin with. But back to Romney.