The data I cited include all federal taxes including the payroll tax. (Note to Eric: click on the link before posting.) They do not, however, include state and local taxes. These are often assumed to be regressive, but I don't see it. The property tax is essentially progressive because one has to be relatively well off to own a house, and almost every state has a progressive income tax. So my guess is that while states vary in the degree of their progressivity, overall they probably mirror the federal tax distribution.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.