No sophomore slump for the second weekend of Up with Chris Hayes. On Saturday, Hayes took on the ever-present, but disingenuous, conservative talking point that the top ten percent of income earners pay seventy percent of income taxes. David "Bobo" Brooks is the latest conservative pundit to pull out this canard:
[Obama] claimed we can afford future Medicare costs if we raise taxes on the rich. He repeated the old half-truth about millionaires not paying as much in taxes as their secretaries. (In reality, the top 10 percent of earners pay nearly 70 percent of all income taxes, according to the I.R.S. People in the richest 1 percent pay 31 percent of their income to the federal government while the average worker pays less than 14 percent, according to the Congressional Budget Office.)
Uh, speaking of half truths there, Bobo, that's some fine kissing up to the uber-wealthy you're doing. Nothing says "patriotic American" more than defending the super-rich from a three percent hike to pre-Bush tax levels:
You have to hand it to Brooks--he has a flair for turning reality upside down that George Orwell would admire.
The wealthiest 10 percent pay nearly 70 percent of all income taxes in this country because they make more than 70 percent of all the income! Check out Mother Jones charts on skyrocketing income inequality in America.
Over the last decade, as incomes for the very wealthy have soared, their tax rates have fallen. That 31 percent Brooks grouses about is considerably lower than the 37 percent they paid when they controlled less of the nation's money than they do now.
And the poor schlubs who are paying 14 percent? Their income has stagnated since the 1970s.
The degree to which a tiny minority of Americans have continued to get richer, even as their tax rates go down and the incomes of the huge majority of the population stagnates is truly astonishing. We are becoming a Third World nation, where a small elite control all the wealth and the rest of us scramble to afford any kind of reasonable life.
We have become, in a word, Inequalistan.