I’ll get the conservative argument out of the way: “Class warfare!” Blah, blah, blah. Ok, now the actuality.
The income of the 400 wealthiest Americans swelled in 2006, soaring nearly 23 percent from the previous year, to an average of $263 million, according to data released Thursday by the Internal Revenue Service. Since 1996, this group has nearly doubled its share of all income earned in the United States.
The top 400 paid just more than $18 billion in federal income taxes in 2006, or an average of $45 million, on a record $105 billion in total income — the lowest effective tax rate in the 15 years since the agency began releasing such data.
And, of course, the Republican pseudo-alternative to the bailout bill was to give these people even more tax cuts. It hasn’t ever worked, but they’ve got a base to serve.