Race Dowling (eracerhead) wrote in talk_politics,
Race Dowling

Misleading charts

I came across this chart on The Heritage Foundation website which I think is particularly misleading.

It shows that the top 10% of earners pay 70% of the taxes, which is true but the problem is they are using a faulty metric, the number is meaningless. Let's add information to this concerning total control of wealth (source) and compare the two:
Top 1%38%43%-5%
Next 4%21%29%-8%
Next 5%11%11%0%
Remaining 90%30%17%13%

As we see here the top 10% pay 70% of the taxes but control 83% of total wealth. The Remaining 90% pay 30% of the taxes but only control 17% of total wealth. The bottom pay next to nothing because they don't have any income.

I know this metric isn't perfect either, but I believe it is closer to a meaningful number than the Heritage Foundation chart. I could not find data on total taxes so I know the numbers may be slightly different on the high end. So I ask, why shouldn't this chart be interpreted as a rationale for raising taxes on the top 5%? Is there a better metric that shows raising these taxes is unjustified?
Tags: charts, taxes
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