Found this on Pol.SE:

The US relies on its higher income residents for an exceptionally large amount of its revenue. Almost half of the population pays no federal income taxes at all. The top % pay about a fifth of the overall taxes. ... The US is heavily reliant on its richest citizens to support the tax burden. If it reduced that, then it would have to do one or more of increase middle class taxes, reduce spending, or increase borrowing.

The answer links to https://taxfoundation.org/summary-latest-federal-income-tax-data-2016-update/ which provides some confirming(?) data points.

I would like to specifically ask whether it can be legitimately said that the US is heavily reliant on its richest citizens to support the tax burden?

  • 2
    This seems to already have an answer here. By that answer, the top 1% pay around 36% of the federal income taxes...
    – T. Sar
    Mar 20, 2018 at 20:03
  • @T.Sar - That question specifically asks for a single data point, while I was asking about the broader statement "support the tax burden". It may be that my question is too broad. I'll let the experts here decide.
    – Martin
    Mar 20, 2018 at 20:09
  • 3
    @DocM the US does not have a VAT, and the federal government does not collect sales tax. Last I checked ~90% of the US revenue comes from income (corporate and personal) and payroll taxes, so I think it’s fair to focus there. (Of course a complete answer would provide that justification).
    – Steve Cox
    Mar 20, 2018 at 21:12
  • 2
    whether something is "heavily reliant" on something else is not an objective measure. If the top 10% richest citizens pay 15% of takes (random numbers) are they "heavily reliant"? It's a matter of opinions and expectations
    – Sklivvz
    Mar 20, 2018 at 22:14
  • 4
    Its worth noting that this entire premise is a red herring. The top 20% own 80%+ of assets. The top 1% alone own 40% of assets. This entire argument from organizations that make these claims is that they should pay less taxes because their ownership of absurd amounts of stuff makes them pay a lot of taxes. When all of the wealth is centralized in the hands of a few, who else is supposed to pay for stuff?
    – Tal
    Mar 27, 2018 at 16:17


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