Do the Rich Pay Their Fair Share?

Do the Rich Pay Their Fair Share?


Here’s a question you’re likely to hear whenever
the subject of taxes comes up: Do the rich pay their fair share? There are two parts to this question: Who is rich? And, what is fair? Let’s start with who is rich: Nearly everyone assumes that a person who
is among the top ten percent of all income earners qualifies as rich. But according to 2011 data, a top ten percent
household makes around $150,000 or above in gross annual income — that’s income before
deductions and taxes. Now, $150,000 is a nice living, but it certainly doesn’t make you
rich. OK, then. What about the top 5%? You get into this percentile if your household
makes around $190,000 or above. That’s a nice bump. But it hardly puts you in the rich category. How about the top 1%? That’s $500,000 or above.
A great income, but remember, most people only get to that level after many years of
hard work and, quite possibly, the accumulation of serious debt to fund their education or
build their business. Of course, there are people who make more
than $500,000. And there are some who make many millions, even billions. But the number
who do is very small. Now, let’s talk about fair. Fair would seem be that the group of taxpayers
who earn 10% of the country’s income would pay 10% of the country’s taxes; the group
who earned 20% would pay 20% of the taxes and so on. But what If I told you that, according to
IRS data, the top 10% of all earners — the people making $150,000 and above — pay 71%
of all federal income tax while earning only 43% of all income. If anything, the top ten percent pay more
than their fair share. So, as it happens, do the much reviled top
1%. They earn 17 percent of all income, but pay 37% of all federal income taxes. And what about those at the other end of the income scale, the lower earners? Are we squeezing them? Hardly. Those who make $45,000 or less,
47% of all earners, pay little and often no income taxes. Ah, but what about payroll taxes — the money
we pay to fund Social Security and Medicare? That takes a bigger bite of the paycheck of
lower earners than higher earners. Isn’t that unfair? Consider two points: First, it’s misleading to call the Payroll
Tax a tax. It’s really an insurance payment that guarantees we receive social security
and Medicare after we turn 65. Second, the benefits we receive from Social
Security are capped, no matter how much we have paid in. This means that the payroll
taxes of high earners actually help subsidize the social security and Medicare benefits
that low earners receive at retirement. How do all these numbers stack up against
other countries? The US income tax system is substantially
more progressive – meaning that income tax rates rise as income rises — than other advanced
countries, including Germany and Sweden. So, if you think that our tax system is unfair
because it coddles high earners, then you must conclude that tax systems in these other
countries are even more unfair. So how high are tax rates on Americans today?
Well, throw in federal tax increases mandated in 2013 and state taxes, and top earners face
a tax rate of more than 50 per cent in California and New York. Other states like Maryland and
Connecticut are not far behind. Do you think a tax rate of greater than 50% is fair? If
so, is there any rate that wouldn’t be? Nobody is calling for bake sales for anyone
in the top ten percent of earners. And no one wants to minimize the struggles of those
at the lower income strata. But to say the “rich,” however you might define them, don’t
pay their fair share is simply wrong. Finally, numerous academic studies, including
ones that I have done, show that when tax rates are too high, investment, risk taking
by entrepreneurs, and therefore job creation all decline. And when that happens it’s the
poor who suffer, not the rich. The rich do fine. It may feel good to take even more money from
the top ten percent, but it doesn’t do good. And it sure isn’t fair. I’m Lee Ohanian, Professor of Economics at
UCLA, for Prager University.

100 Comments on "Do the Rich Pay Their Fair Share?"


  1. Low income earners should pay the highest tax rate in exchange for a high level of government subsidies that guarantees that all of their basic living expenses are paid for, but they have very limited disposable income as a result. With enough time passing, people will want to exchange their subsidies for more financial freedom by working because people are fundamentally motivated by freedom. The tax rate should then move progressively downward to the point of Zero the richer you get. So the more money you have the less subsidized social services you have access to the point of zero. But the catch is that once you get to a certain income level, you can opt to pay in any tax bracket you want. So if you are rich and want to pay a lot of taxes because you think it is right or you don't care to live extravagantly or because you want access to government subsidies then you have that right. This creates an economic incentive for rich people to create and keep wealth locally and invest in job creation and social services for low income people. This creates enough job opportunities for low income people to have upward mobility and gain more financial freedom. It creates less incentive for wealthy and powerful to pool together to bribe government officials to favor their businesses in policy and tax decisions. That causes the government to focus more on creating incentives for businesses to invest locally and to provide social services to low income people to assist with their upward mobility. The lowest income bracket should get taxed at 90% and the highest at 10% with the opportunity to move down to zero with philanthropy or job creation. The higher your tax rates the more social subsidies you receive. The lower your rate the more money you keep and the more the government gives you business incentives with providing social services as a portion of your business. It is a seamless blend of Capitalism and Socialism. The 90% subsidizes their own social welfare system. The 10% focuses on wealth creation. This is a Utopian society right here. Everybody doesn't pay their fair share….every gets or keeps their fair share

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  2. I'm tried of of these leftist comments. Do any of them know the it's rich people that give money to scholarship organizations to help poor kids go to college.

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  3. Looking at earned income is dumb. The rich dont make there money from earned income they make there money from business, investing, real estate, interest, you should look at all forms of income not just earned income.

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  4. Think about the 1% and the fact that they pay the most taxes, think about it carefully. Taxing the 1% of people (who are millionaires and billionaires) by 70% to 90% in taxes might seem good on paper, but in real life, it would have a huge amount of consequences for our economy.

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  5. Very interesting, I never looked at it from that perspective. Certainly to pay even 30% is too high, as for 50%, that is robbery, irrespective of how much you earn. It just removes the incentive to work hard

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  6. Wow this dude is an idiot. He didnt mention anything about that secret 15% tax the wealthy pay on their real income. Prager is fake as shit. Open up a real textbook people

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  7. His logic is wrong. Hypothetically, if we consider a country where 1 billion people earn a minimum wage and contribute 50% of the total gross income of the country and there is one other person who alone makes the other 50% of the gross income. Should the 1 billion people contribute the same percentage tax? Since the 1 billion people each makes a minimum wage and even 1% tax would put them in debt while the 1 person would have a very comfortable lifestyle even if the tax rate is 99%. When thinking about this kind of sensitive issue, you need to think very thoroughly. Otherwise, you would come out with nonsense and waster other people's time.

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    Reply

  10. I am from Germany. If your company makes any profit which you want to have on your private account, you will have to pay about 65% of that immediatly. If you make a lot of money that rate is even higher of course – about 70-80% in total. The socialists argue that anyone who has his own company surely has enough money to give to the poor. Americans can consider themselves lucky 😀

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  11. Great video!
    But the Swedish flag background is kinda blue..not sure how you missed that

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  12. The one and only problem … capitalism. And even more socialism. Solution a) communism as it should be and not as it was applied b) no money society … everyone works for the society in order to contribute evenly with all the others to the progress and enjoys the same comfort. The source of inequality is viewing some professions as more difficult. Thus more money shall be given to those who work upon them. NOOO every profession has the same worth as everyone … THEY ALL CONTRIBUTE TO THE SOCIAL PROGRESS. The builder should work upon making villas for everyone (including himself) and so does the architect the doctor the teacher etc and anybody enjoys a luxurious life

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  13. I believe the problem of unfair and wealth is in regards to certian corporations and industries. The issue begins with those rich entities that evade paying taxes and find the loop holes to escape from their obligations to pay their share. So to label all wealth under the same discrepancies is unfair, not all the wealthy are doing this but there is a large amount of crooks that escape the system unfairly.

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  14. So the rich do pay their fair share afterall, at this point, it is the government budget deficit that is the problem along with borrowing $100,000 per second on a "credit card" with $22 trillion in debt.

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  15. Why do the wealthy always seem to complain the most? Poor rich victims always need more More, MORE!

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  16. Wealthy people never stop complaining. Greed is a disease that is sometimes contracted when a person is exposed to capitalism. Level of sociopathology is a strong positive correlate.

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  17. I think that neither side of the debate knows the real numbers. But if you ask the rich about how much the poor should pay, they would probably say an effective tax rate of about 10%. And if you ask the poor about how much the rich should pay, they would probably say around 30%. Which is pretty fair and is of course more “left wing” than the current scenario. The problem is everybody is in over their heads about wealth protection and ideology that this whole debate turned into a disaster.

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  18. Wanna know how we got out of the Great Depression? FDR implemented a marginal tax rate similar to the one AOC proposed recently. Back then was the golden age of economics. Once Reagan took office and did tax cuts for the rich, our economy began to decline once again.

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  19. I've been low income my whole life, and before this video I felt that the rich were well off and needed to help out. Then I saw it in terms of percentages and realized that making any amount of income and having to pay a penny over 25% of your income is barbaric. In the bible it says to tithe 10% to God and the church. And but they have to hand over 30% to the government? Three times as much!

    And I think, higher earners hand over almost a 3rd in those cases? I know I've been poor and broke but I think there's something bizarre about handing over that much.

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  20. 45,000 in income isn’t poor, the poverty threshold is 24,000. As of 2019, 13% of Americans, or 42 million people fall under that, and they have to pay 11% of what they earn, which is way to much for how little they are earning. Keep in mind 24,000 is the threshold, not the median, most are far far lower than that. This video gives people the completely wrong idea and is misleading.

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  21. The top 10% would hardly count as rich , the real rich are the top 1% who pay 0. Low taxes are even worse than high taxes, just look at Kansas. When the governor lowered taxes for the rich, it failed so miserably that democrats and republicans joined forces to keep him out of office. California has high taxes because their economy can afford to have them, because their an economic juggernaut, and the standard of living their, while much more expensive, is at least better.

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  22. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/2018-taxes-some-of-americas-biggest-companies-paid-little-to-no-federal-income-tax-last-year/

    Thats why 60 of the biggest fortune 500 companies pay ZERO federal income taxes…because that is there fair share.

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  23. Its probably rigged up like the UK, the same jews run things from behind the scenes. Both sides of the pond,Dose the US have vat where they claim their tax back?

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  24. Property tax > sales tax > income tax.

    We know rich pay no income tax.

    Get real people. Stop falling for the trap. Read rich pay almost no income tax.

    Now property tax = rich consumes infrastructure. That should get paid for with property taxes then not income tax. Infrastructure disproportionately helps the rich more.

    Remember police responds to rich far more than the poor. As a result they should pay more. If it is pay per performance. And why shouldn't they then.

    This is the only way forward with tax debates.

    income tax all states need to remove it. Right now.

    Texas has it right.

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  25. Whether or not you believe in God, He only ASKS only 10% (tithes) and you DON'T really have to pay the 10%, while I as a Roman Catholic DO believe in God, I'm certainly have serious misgivings about GOVERNMENT and they want 20-37% in taxes – REALLY!? And if you don't COMPLY with the RULES they (the Gov.) can send the I.R.S. after you. At least God doesn't come AFTER YOU if you don't comply with the 10% REQUEST!

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  26. These guys should be magicians for all of the miss direction they do. Since 1980 top income earners had their federal taxes cut by over 50% while there growth in income was 2 to 4 times that of the lower 75%. AND that meant that the federal government had less money to give to states MEANING state governments had to do things like raise sales taxes which are a bigger burden on lower incomes.
    FACT… every time an American job is replaced by a robot or outsourcing the increase in profits only went to the company leaders and stock holders.
    This is Koch Brothers propaganda put together in think tanks designed to make average Americans fight for the rich to have lower taxes…ITS A SCAM. How many of these over burdened wealthy people lost their jobs in 2008….NONE OF THEM.
    These scam artists can juggle the numbers all they want, but in the next recession, while most of America will be trying to make end meet, these poor rich people won’t even know that there is a recession?

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  27. Warren Buffet says he pays a lesser tax rate than his secretary. This does not make sense relative to this analysis. I think you got it wrong.

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  28. Then there is the "return on investment" argument. There is a gent living near me on Long Island who has a really nice spread. He pays $35,000 PER MONTH in property taxes. Does he use that much service from any level of government? Of course not. If a family who lives next door to me has five kids and I have one, should not that family pay 5 times in what I pay for the school tax portion of my local property taxes? "Fair share" is but a euphemism for redistribution of wealth.

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  29. Excessive taxes do one, and only one thing. Penalize success. IF you know that increasing your business just puts you in a higher tax bracket, why would you do it? Especially if the result is lower income for everyone involved. When governments learn how to properly handle the money they take from us, I will happily pay more in taxes. But when I see things like a 2.5 million dollar "study" to find out what cats dream about, it tends to piss me off.

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  30. Taxes in the following countries:

    Denmark: 35-56%

    Finland: 31-52%

    Norway: 29-50%

    Iceland: 25-46%

    Sweden: 40-62%

    The difference is up to 22.5%. I'm talking about top marginal tax rate here

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  31. By stating if elected president, they would pay for health insurance for illegal immigrants, each and every Democrat running for president has obviously admitted there is way, way, way too much tax revenue and no excuse not to cut taxes for every single American.

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  32. Sometimes PragerU throws logic out the window and sometimes the use logics and facts!

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  33. The rob from the rich and give to the poor politicians start this up because it sounds good.
    However the facts about the reality of it does not prove any benefits come from it.
    First of all, they could take all of the money away from the top 10 percent and the amount of money they would have from it, would not run the governement for 6 months.
    Secondly, there has never been a single case in history that any country taxed itself into prosperity.

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  34. Having a tax incentive put in place for higher earners and giving a tax break to lower earners to narrow the gap to create more equality. A equality driven society.

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  35. Okay i ageee
    but why are we paying so much taxes any way? look atthe waste in Congress people likke Nancy pilosi and so many more taking family members and friends on fabulous trips numerous times aT the cost of the tax payer the problem is bigger than the percentage that we pay

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  36. Tax 100% income of the rich, and you'll get communism. Punish hard on the rich, then nobody is rich anymore. Trust me I'm in Vietnam and I know how devastating the Communism is. Look at Venezuela.

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  37. I agree with the video.

    But dude you have a Bobble head.
    Relax and just look straight at the camera.

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  38. Notice that the word "lie" or "falshood" " or "fact" is not being said in that individuals dialog and the reason why is because a lot is left out or omitted. It is shocking the number of people that don't understand that there are two different types of income tax. There are percentages on different types of salaries be it wages, per diem, and so on-and then there is a whole different system for capital gains/dividends and other profits from investments/literal prizes/ law suit settlements and so on. There actually is a half truth to this; capital gain income is high for everyone regardless of income like 45% to 55% but you leave out the breaks they get. Salaries are closer to 17% or 18%.

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  39. The video is difficult to accept because the topic involves so much subjective perspective. One fact that we can all agree on is that high inequality leads to social instability.

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  40. Let’s say 40% of your earnings go in some form of tax, if it’s income, VAT , road tax, energy tax , airport tax . So on and so on . Yes it’s true if you earn more you inevitably pay more than the person who earns less than you in taxes .
    I don’t see why this as the dispute here .
    The problem starts when the low earners have to pay 40% of a very low value wage the very same tax value as the high earners . This wage still has to feed cloth keep warm and shelter them the same way a high earning wage dose . It’s seems this wage can no longer sustain this simple need . So we are asking why is this and what can we do about it to change it .
    So perhaps the question should be why can’t the low earners who pay tax take care of them selves anymore.
    So Professor you gave a fair summary of the tax issues. But please answer the above question . Why if you’re earning and pay tax and millions struggle to pay for the basics in life . I suppose it’s a tough one and hard to answer. A lot hard to answer than the one you dedicate so much time into answering in this blog. I think a lot of us could have answered this question without the title of professor . So my suggestion is don’t waste time answering questions that are obvious to most of us but rather get to task on why the low earner can’t sustain the basics any longer .

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  41. I don't even know where to begin with these videos.

    Firstly, let me say that I am not a free-market capitalist. I'm also not a socialist or communist. I think all three systems suck. I just happened to know the capitalism sucks less.

    If the government taxes the corporation that I'm working for, then I want the government to give me back my money. I don't want them to keep it. That's my money, I earned it, they didn't, and I know best how to spend it.

    These companies are never taxed at the high corporate tax rates we're led to believe. They all have right offs and loopholes. on top of that they get a rebate with what we know as corporate welfare. Apple has received three quarters of a billion dollars in corporate welfare over roughly the last 10 years.

    Socialism is not the answer, but capitalism and the corporations who run under it I better wake up and stop gaming the system.

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  42. I did the math, and at our current tax rate, you work longer for nothing than people did when there was 7 years of indentured servitude allowed. And you still have to pay for your own housing, food and medical care in that time period.

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  43. People say trickle down economics doesn't work because the money saved by not being taxed will either be kept in the bank or put into off shore investments. While it may not 'work' in that the rich get richer, the poor also get richer. Tax is a necessity but increasing taxes on the rich is not fair as they'd be paying for the welfare and social security of others (trickle up reduces taxes for the poor and increases it for the rich). I'd prefer a flat tax rate or simply cut taxes for EVERYONE

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  44. I heard that the really rich don't have their home, cars, or even clothes in their name… their companies own everything. That way they don't play any taxes! So what about that? Is this true?

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  45. You may be a the best rocket scientist, car mechanic, hair dresser on earth, but when your country already has a 73 Trillion dollar deficit and you would consider voting for any Democrat for any position, you could not possible know less about politics and should do your country a favor by staying home every November.

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  46. Rutger Bregman on universal basic income
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5r3kpyp0qs0&fbclid=IwAR1gHys_r_woKkFaPwQW_HOPvTWYylhTLXf0RJHHA9pPSy3c7MOXPrbwXgM

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  47. The left has effectively convinced the poor through brainwashing that the rich pay nothing in taxes. It is immoral and disgusting.

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  48. Frankly don't care how much money someone else has…just want the opportunity to get my cut in due time. I will work for mine. Handouts? No thanks!

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  49. The only "fair" tax would be a poll tax — divide the amount the government spends by the number of citizens 18 and above and charge EVERYONE that amount in taxes. After all, there is no "Bill Gates" division in the Army that defends Microsoft. There are no 1% lanes on the interstate. And the courts are open to all.

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  50. Keep trying to increase taxes lol because when all these people paying for your shit leave, whose going to pay for it then?

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  51. The reason that the tax is progressive is that the majority of the money is in the hands of a small number of people. The government has to tax the people that have the money to be able to fund programs. You can have a flat tax when the wealth distribution is more even. The father of trickle-down economics himself would support measures that would result in taking even more wealth from the rich, and the majority of economists would support this idea under the current level of income inequality.

    You guys are just taking the portions of economic thought that suit your goals and ignoring the proscriptions of the people that propose them. When economists argue for a flat tax, they are arguing for a system that would result in increased tax revenue from the top 20 percent. This is because they intend to eliminate all the deductions that allow the super-rich to pay a less effective tax rate, meaning that a flat tax of 25 percent, with no deductions, would result in greater revenue from those with money. Amazon would actually have to pay federal taxes if economists got their way.

    The misconception is that a high tax rate = the most tax revenue. Our state purposely has set up this system of taxation to support the super-rich because they own the congressmen, the last thing they want is an actual economist determining tax policy.

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  52. The video is misleading because if the top 1% is making 17% of the countries wealth and paying 37%. That is not “unfair” because there are very few of these super rich people so 17% of all the wealth put into the hands of few is set to be in the billions . So it isnt unfair. Very misleading data representation. Reply to me if you think I’m incorrect.

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  53. Nice video, a good point well made. For anyone who's wondering the sources are at the "complete script" link in the description.

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  54. 1:22
    I make $150,000 and I pay 30% of that in taxes or $45,000.
    You make $30,000 and pay 50% of that in taxes or $15,000.
    Out of the $60,000 in taxes paid into the government I paid 75% of it!
    So if I was paying my fair share I would be paying less!

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  55. YES but on those countries you taxes are destined for services, 53 % of ours are going to the army and international polices.

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