The Wealthiest 400 Americans Are Paying The Least Tax Of All Income Groups


In 1950, the wealthiest Americans were paying an overall tax rate of 70 percent. In 2018, it dropped to just 23 percent.

A graphic accompanying New York Times columnist David Leonhardt’s recent op-ed shows the stark reality of how decades of tax cuts and loopholes for the rich have resulted in the 400 wealthiest Americans paying less in taxes than any other group.

This is a first in the history of the United States.

As the line moves over time, it becomes clear that “the tax rate wealthy Americans are forced to pay has plummeted over the last seven decades while middle-income households have paid roughly the same share of their incomes each year,” Common Dreams noted.

The overall tax rate for the wealthy was 70 percent in 1950, but by 1980 that number had dropped to 47 percent. In 2018, the wealthiest Americans were handing over just 23 percent as their contribution to the common good.

"Over the last 75 years the United States tax system has become radically less progressive," Leonhardt wrote in his column.

In response to the op-ed, Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted: "The question of our time is this: will we tolerate it? Or will we take back our democracy from the oligarchs who run this country?"

Georgetown University professor Don Moynihan noted that gross income inequality is not a fact of life but a result of choices, tweeting: "Inequality is driven by policy choices, not some inherent laws of nature.”

Also published the day that Leonhardt’s op-ed came out was a CNBC report suggesting that Millennials are to blame for America’s current economic woes — because they aren’t spending enough of their money.

“In the opening paragraph, Pippa Stevens suggested both that millennials spend too much money on avocado toast and that they save too much of their income,” Common Dreams noted, quoting from the story.

Millennials—the selfie obsessed, avocado toast-loving generation—might be behind slower economic growth, according to a research note last week from Raymond James. This new generation, scarred by the financial crisis, is saving more than the free-spending boomers did before them, and it's causing an economic imbalance.

Disney executive John Drake wasn’t buying this explanation, calling it a “wack take” on Twitter:

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