Too Progressive Already

We’ve been writing for some years about the fact that America’s income tax system has increasingly concentrated tax liability among the highest income earners. Currently, the top ten percent of American income earners pay 71 percent of all income taxes. Our excessively progressive tax system has created a dangerous situation in which anyone can vote for politicians who promise to deliver goodies by “spreading the wealth,” but only a handful are responsible for paying the bills. Whether a democracy can survive indefinitely under these circumstances is an open question.

A new report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) shows how extreme the progressivity of our tax system has become. The U.S. “has the most progressive tax system and collects the largest share of taxes from the richest 10% of the population.” That’s right: our tax system is more progressive than Sweden’s.


The table also shows that the U.S. collects more household tax revenue [income plus social security taxes] from the top 10 percent of households than any other country and extracts the most from that income group relative to their share of the nation’s income.

Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress now promise to exacerbate the unfairness of our tax system by concentrating tax liabilities even more exclusively among high income earners. Apart from the long-term economic consequences of such a policy, it is simply unjust.

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