Maybe You DID Build That!

by Don Boudreaux on April 24, 2014

in Other People's Money, Taxes

After I posted my latest column in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Pres. Obama’s now-(in)famous “You didn’t build that!” blurt, Dennis Dose sent to me the following short e-mail; I share it with you here with his kind permission:

Considering where the majority of the money comes from to build “government provided” infrastructure – taxes on businesses and the wealthy (who own businesses) – I would say “Yes, they did build it-dang near all of it”.

Mr. Dose is onto something.  Quoting now from economist Kyle Pomerleau’s Tax Foundation analysis, “Summary of the Latest Federal Income Tax Data,”:

The Top 50 Percent of All Taxpayers Paid 97 Percent of All Income Taxes; the Top 5 Percent Paid 57 Percent of All Income Taxes; and the Top 1 Percent Paid 35 Percent of All Income Taxes in 2011.

“Progressives” love to complain about the alleged unfairness of the amount of income earned (“Progressives typically use misleading terms such as “claimed by”) the top 1 percent of income earners.  Why not complain instead about the unfairness of the amount of tax revenues received by the top 1 percent of net-tax-revenue recipients?  Why are the annual tax-receipt incomes of this small group less worthy of condemnation than are the annual pre-tax market-earned incomes of “the 1 percent” who are the regular objects of criticism, envy, and childish populist moralizing?

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