What If We Took All the Income of the Rich?

In 2009, the top 1 percent of all income tax returns with a positive adjusted gross income pulled in a total of $1.3 trillion. Of that amount, 24 percent was paid in federal income taxes, or $318 billion.

Here’s the arithmetic. Only $1 trillion is left because they’re already paying $318 billion in taxes. Since the official federal deficit is estimated at $1.315 trillion for the 2011 fiscal year, it should be clear that even if the top 1 percent paid 100 percent of their income in taxes, the federal budget would not be balanced.

More on taxing the bottom 99 percent versus the top 1 percent.

Comments (3)

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  1. Brian Williams. says:

    But it worked so well for Lenin and the Bolsheviks…

  2. Buster says:

    The interesting part would be in years two through, say, year 10. The rich would stop earning money as capitalists moved their money offshore. Business would experience a liquidity squeeze and the economy would slow. Industry would lay off workers as the economy slowed. As tax revenue fell the deficit would slow. Eating the rich doesn’t sound like a very effective strategy.

  3. Brian says:

    I’ve heard that all the off-shore money would be a major boost to the economy if it were brought back untaxed.