Tax Burden Weighs Most on Top 20% of Wage Earners


Even President Donald Trump's sweeping tax overhaul didn’t change the fact that America has a progressive income tax structure. That means a limited number of people still pay the bulk of the freight.

New figures show that 20 percent of Americans will pay 87 percent of income taxes -- the single biggest source of revenue for the government.

Critics say that reflects a long-running problem with the tax code – and that businesses are put at a global competitive disadvantage because of it.

Advocates for continued overhaul of the tax code say other U.S. mistakes include inheritance taxes, business taxes that are higher than those of global competitors and efforts in Washington to try to outfox taxpayers by tweaking the code.

The progressive tax code may reflect how the richest 1 percent of Americans now own two-thirds of all the wealth.

Households with $150,000 in annual income or more are the government's biggest source of revenue. They comprise 52 percent of total income nationally – and pay a substantial cut of overall taxes.

The Pew Research Center reports that, since the 1970s, the segment of federal revenues that has grown the most “is the payroll tax -- those line items on your pay stub that go to pay for Social Security and Medicare.”


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