Book: Top 10% in US Pay 45% of Federal Taxes, More Than European Counterparts

-By Warner Todd Huston

Why does anyone imagine that “the rich” don’t “pay their fair share” of federal taxes in the U.S.? Stephen Moore, sure doesn’t and he proves it in his new book, Who’s The Fairest of Them All: The Truth about Opportunity, Taxes and Wealth in America.

While doing research for his book, for instance, Moore discovered that a mere 10 percent of Americans pay nearly half the federal taxes in this country.

With this fact at hand, Moore elaborated further in a recent interview saying that there is “no case on economic grounds” to vote for President Barack Obama, a candidate whose main “solution” to our economic woes is to raise taxes only on the wealthy.

Moore even labels Obama the “anti-Clinton President” because of the how far from fiscal good sense Obama drifts even from the last successful Democrat President, Bill Clinton.

“I don’t think anybody thinks that raising tax rates will improve the economy. At least I certainly hope no one does because the history is so unequivocal that that’s not the case,” Moore says.

Moore says that Obama’s prescription for what ails us is no cure.

“What I show in this research is that the fairest system of them all is the free enterprise system. The free enterprise system is what creates growth, creates jobs and higher living standards for almost all Americans. So it’s hard to improve on that system. President Obama believes that the way to create a fairer system is to redistribute income from the rich to the poor. That’s never worked very well.”

In his book, Moore finds that we already disproportionately rely on “the rich” for our tax base and the top 10 percent here should more of the tax burden than their counterparts in Europe.

“The United States is actually more dependent on rich people to pay taxes than even many of the more socialized economies of Europe. According to the Tax Foundation, the United States gets 45 percent of its total taxes from the top 10 percent of tax filers, whereas the international average in industrialized nations is 32 percent. America’s rich carry a larger share of the tax burden than do the rich in Belgium (25 percent), Germany (31 percent), France (28 percent), and even Sweden (27 percent).”

In her discussion of Moore’s new book, Kerry Picket of the Washington Times makes an excellent point. Heaping confiscatory taxes on the rich is just a bad idea.

“…more tax revenue went back to the federal government each time the taxes were lowered. So does it really make sense to strip the upper income earners of their keep? Liberals have yet to answer how that ever improves the lives of the middle class or lower income earners in the long run.”

Speaking of the middle and lower classes, Moore’s analysis finds that, far from worsening, America has experienced a constant upward trend in the standard of living for both the middle and the lower class, a trend that has continued for the last 25 years.

Moore also notes that there is a big difference between Obama’s tax policy and that of GOP candidate Mitt Romney.

“Interestingly, under Mitt Romney, the top tax rate would be about 28 percent. Under Barack Obama, the top tax rate goes up to 42 percent. That’s a big difference,” he said.

Mr. Moore is a senior economics analyst as well as an editorial board member of The Wall Street Journal, the founder and president of the Club for Growth, and has written several books on economics and American life.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,, and, as well as,,,,, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.

Copyright Publius Forum 2001