Poll: Rich aren't paying fair share of taxes
Americans want a new tax system, a Pew survey finds. Democrats and independents are worried about fairness, while Tea Party Republicans decry complexity of the current system.
Updated Jan. 23, 2012, 5:35 p.m. ET
This post is by Kay Bell at Bankrate.com.
It's no surprise Americans aren't happy with their federal tax system.
A new poll finds the problem isn't necessarily the taxes they're paying. Instead, folks are concerned the wealthy aren't paying their fair tax share.
In a survey conducted Dec. 7-11, 2011, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that 52% of Americans believe they pay the right amount in taxes.
However, fewer people now consider the overall tax system as even moderately fair. Forty-three percent of those surveyed said the system is fair, compared with 51% who viewed the U.S. tax system as fair eight years ago.
And 59% want a totally new tax system.
There's no big partisan divide over the need to overhaul the tax code, reports Pew. Regardless of political affiliation, the survey found most people agreed there is so much wrong with the federal tax system that Congress should completely change it. (Post continues below video.)
But there are differences among Democrats, Republicans and voters who call themselves politically independent when it comes to what bothers them most about taxes.
Most Democrats (73%) and independents (57%) said their biggest tax concern is the belief that some wealthy people get away with not paying their fair tax share.
Republicans, on the other hand, listed the complexity of the system as their biggest complaint. That concern was cited by 43% of GOP poll respondents, with 38% of that group worried about the tax-paying status of the rich.
Pew pollsters say the closeness of the answers by Republicans "reflects substantial intraparty differences along socioeconomic and ideological lines."
Republicans who agree with the Tea Party movement are among the most likely to say the complexity of the tax system is what bothers them most; 57% chose that answer.
But Republicans who don't agree with the Tea Party said, by a 49% tally, that the feeling some wealthy people don't pay their fair share of taxes is their biggest complaint.
For the immediate future, everyone is probably just going to have to learn to live with the tax system as is.
In 2012, there will be a lot of talk, mainly from Democrats, about taxing the wealthy more. In fact, they plan to bring up a millionaires' surtax again when the payroll tax cut extension debate resumes.
And Republicans will continue to fight to keep income tax rates at their current levels or cut all of them more.
But precisely because 2012 is an election year, no politician wants to actually take responsibility or blame for any tax changes before Election Day.
What irritates you most about the current tax system? Will a candidate's stance on taxes affect your voting choice?
More from Bankrate.com and MSN Money:
'A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have...' Thomas Jefferson And They Will.
I think the quote rich pay more than their fare share, for those rich that want to pay more, nothing is stoping them. They just quit taking the dedcutions, or just send in money. I am sure the government will not stop them.
I want the 47 percent of the people that pay no tax to have some skin in the game, as they get the bulk of the government give aways, and most often by fraud. If they paid their fair share, then there would not be a problem.
I think everyone, and I mean everyone should pay no less than 10 percent.
We should start with stopping tax refunds for people that are on assistance. If they barely work, get housing assistance, food stamps, and other assistance; why are they entitled to 5-8k in tax refunds because they have so many kids?
As usual, most of the comments on this issue come from people who think they know something because they listen to all the politicl rhetoric and spns of the politicians and biased news media. Few actually know the facts and fewer still understand much if any of tax law, I am not going to try and explain tax law. No one person can. Only that LAW is made by Congress and not the IRS. IRS interprets & administers tax law period. The fundamental problems with our tax structure are essentially two fold. 1. The laws are purposely too complicated and full of exceptions, exclusions. deductions and credits all designed to confuse and use by these same politicians for their own political agenda and personal gain. Loopholes are sometimes purposely created but often times jjust simply overlooked because of the complexity. 2. Tax laws we have are unevenly applied to people and corporations. Why are their two sets of tax law ?
A consumption tax, like European countries have been using for years would totally simplify and apply fairly across all entities. If you buy something it is taxed. Individuals, corporations, etc. One rate, no exceptions, no exclusions, no credits, no deductions. Services and consumables. Everything. I buy a used 2001 Ford for $5,000 and I am taxed at the same rate as the Corp mogul who buys a $100,000 Mercedes. If rate is 15% for example, I pay $600 and he pays $15,000 in taxes. Whats not fair about that ? If a Corporation buys $1B of parts to build washing machines, they pay $150M in taxes on the parts, then the consumer pays 15% tax on the completed washing machine. Tax collected is sent in to a small collection agency rather than the mammmoth unaffordable, bloated, beauacracy we have now called the IRS.
This wil never happen unless we elect new people to Congress who have OUR interests in mind and not their's and the PACs and Super PACs of today that can hide behind our current complex and self serving tax law and structure.
So what do we do with all the IRS, Corp Tax [eople who spend all their time avoiding paying taxes, CPA,s, Tax Accountants etc. LET THEM BUILD WASHING MACHINES !
It's true. The wealthy don't pay their fair share of taxes, they pay FAR MORE than any reasonable person would call a "fair share". The top 10% of earners pay a whopping 70% of federal income taxes. The bottom 50% pay ZERO! What's fair about that???? The bottom 50% will always vote to confiscate more wealth from the top earners since they have no skin in the game. When the "tax recipients" can outvote the "tax payers" we will become just another European style welfare state. With checks and balances gone, all the initiative and motivation to improve one's financial position will be gone as well along with much of what has made America great. Socialists (including a large swath of the Democratic Party) want equal outcomes not equal opportunity and are very ready to achieve this by confiscating as much wealth as possible from those that produce only to hand it over to those unwilling or unmotivated to work. Hell, we're doing it now with 99+ weeks of unemployment payments. Where's the incentive to work when you can sit at home and collect a check???
"Someone" might argue that paying sales tax, Social Security contributions etc. justifies the lower 50% paying little or no federal tax. However, the vast majority of entitlement programs come from the bloated federal budget, not the state, local and use taxes. These largely go to state and local budgets and schools. The class warfare rhetoric that is being espoused by the "One" who was going to bring us all together is not productive and is dangerous. Our energy should be directed toward producing jobs, not setting one American against another.
As far as can see is one of the biggest problems are the lowest income people that don't pay squat but every year they get a very large return do to the tax laws and credits available to them. The way I see it is you should never get back more than you pay in and if you're claiming kids... proove that you supported them on what little you made. ie how can a family of 4 survive on less than $2000.00 per year. Thats right you live with someone responsible, don't pay rent, heat, light, gas (basically no living expenses) get a debit card from the state or county for your groceries, etc.....Come on America wake up and quit giving it away to those that don't support but can claim they do and will continue to do so until things change. Also give middle america some of these breaks, I'm sure it would be appreciated.
Everyone has had a family member or friend whom is always in financial ruin, and every time you've tried to help them out, they continue to do the same things which lead to the same problem.
our government does not have an income problem, it's a spending problem. so no matter how much of whom evers money they get, it won't be enough. This whole "the rich do not pay enough" is just another distraction in order for them to continue doing what they have always done, wake up!
I am not even remotely rich (55k,) , but I do not think the government needs more of ANYBODYS' money in order to correct our debt problem.
When we have money problems in our homes, we do without, cut back, get rid of unnecessary spending. we do not find away to spend our way out of debt.
For those of who don't play polo, but work for a living, the appropriate comparison is "what percentage of your total income is seized for federal income tax?" The top 10% of earners may well pay 70% of federal income tax receipts, but that's only because they receive 90% of the income, therefore they are undertaxed.
The author above is correct: rather than bicker among ourselves about our personal idea of "fairness", let's restructure and simplify the federal income tax laws for individuals and corporations so that everybody plays by the same rules. No special exemptions for the wealthy, no subsidies for industries or corporations, just a simple tax that exempts the poorest (say, the first $10,000 of income is exempt from taxes for everybody??) and shares the burden equally among the rest of us.
If that means my personal income tax goes up, I'm okay with that as long as everybody else is being treated the same way.
My friend paid around $3000 dollars into federal taxes this year.
she just got back over $6000. double what she even put in.
she has 3 kids. each of those kids get school lunches paid for, medical services paid for.
and then she receives the large bonus check at the end of the year?
who isn't paying their fair share? she didn't pay and she got that much back....
all the services and the cash. this is way there a problem with out deficit ,not the 15% they rich do actually pay.
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