Newly released data from the IRS clearly debunks the conventional Beltway rhetoric that the "rich" are not paying their fair share of taxes.
Indeed, the IRS data shows that in 2007--the most recent data available--the top 1 percent of taxpayers paid 40.4 percent of the total income taxes collected by the federal government. This is the highest percentage in modern history. By contrast, the top 1 percent paid 24.8 percent of the income tax burden in 1987, the year following the 1986 tax reform act.
[...] We are definitely overdue for some honesty in the debate over the progressivity of the nation's tax burden before lawmakers enact any new taxes to pay for expanded health care.
I'm pretty sure this is what's called a "lie of omission." The perfectly obvious and uncontroversial reason why the top 1% of taxpayers paid more in 2007 than at any other time "in modern history" (whatever that means) is because the top 1% of taxpayers are taking home a much greater share of total income.
I don't want to spend a lot of time on this (and I've written about this subject many times before) but if you head to the Congressional Budget Office's "Data on the Distribution of Federal Taxes and Household Income" page you can learn all about this stuff. (The data runs through 2006 -- it's updated slowly and is one year off the Tax Foundation's numbers -- but this doesn't change the basic picture.) You can learn, for example, that while the share of individual income tax liabilities paid by the top 1% has increased from 18.3% to 39.1% between 1979 and 2006, the share of total pretax income has increased at the same rate, from 9.3% to 18.8%.