Friday, February 27, 2009

Tax and health care burden combined: the rich make out better.

Okay, I know that the tax rates and health care have nothing to do with the environment, but this is a pretty important issue.

Here's something people don't realize: really high income people complain that too much of their income instantly vanishes into taxes (almost 32 percent for the highest echelon). But if you add tax payments and health care payments together, they're shouldering a smaller burden (percentage-wise) each month than middle and lower income people.

Here are the tax rates:

Lowest quintile: 4.3 percent
Second quintile: 9.9 percent
Middle quintile: 14.2 percent
Fourth quintile: 17.4 percent
Percentiles 81-90: 20.3 percent
Percentiles 91-95: 22.4 percent
Percentiles 96-99: 25.7 percent
Percentiles 99.0-99.5: 29.7 percent
Percentiles 99.5-99.9: 31.2 percent
Percentiles 99.9-99.99: 32.1 percent
Top 0.01 Percentile: 31.5 percent

Now let's add the cost of health care to taxes.

For instance, my family just falls into the middle quintile. So we pay 14.2 percent of our income in taxes. This year, with good health insurance coverage (and my wife being a resident MD), we're still paying 20 percent of our income to health care. So 34.2 percent of our income automatically disappears for health care and taxes. For someone in the top .01 percent (meaning they're making well over a million dollars a year), health care counts for well under 1 percent of their income (but we'll be generous, and round off the number to a full 1 percent) So their tax and health care payments equal 32.5 percent of their income.

Taxes and health care for me: 34.2 percent of my family's income.
Taxes and health care for rich: 32.5 percent.

Who's getting ripped off now?