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The Buffett Rule Would Make Sure Everyone Plays by the Same Rules

While the wealthiest Americans earn near-record shares of the national income, their average tax rates have plummeted. The Buffett Rule would eliminate special tax breaks and loopholes that allow the best-off to pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than middle class families pay.

The share of national income earned by the very wealthiest Americans in recent years is among the highest it's been since the 1920s. The top one percent of households—the wealthiest one out of every 100—now takes home 17 percent of the national income. The top .1 percent—the wealthiest one out of every 1,000 households—makes more than 7 percent of the national income.  


Meanwhile, the average tax rate, including federal income and payroll taxes, for that .1 percent has dropped a stunning 50 percent over the last 50 years, from 51 percent to 26 percent. This is nearly the lowest rate in over 50 years and is, in fact, one-half the rate they would have paid in 1960. Tax rates for middle-class families, who are earning a smaller percentage of the national income, have actually increased slightly during the same period.

President Obama has proposed the Buffett Rule to make sure that everyone does their fair share and plays by the same rules, so that millionaires and billionaires pay at least the same share of their income in taxes as middle class families pay.

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