Out of Control Policy Blog

Where Have All the Millionaires Gone?

As a recent Wall Street Journal article (paid subscription required) observes, in just the past couple years, there has been a drastic reduction in the number of Americans making adjusted gross incomes of at least $1 million a year.

In 2007, 390,000 tax filers reported adjusted gross income of $1 million or more and paid $309 billion in taxes. In 2009, there were only 237,000 such filers, a decline of 39 percent. Almost four of 10 millionaires vanished in two years, and the total taxes they paid in 2009 declined to $178 billion, a drop of 42 percent.

According to the IRS, the number of people making at least $10 million a year fell 55% during this period, from 18,394 in 2007 to 8,274 in 2009.

Moreover, as a National Center for Policy Analysis article summarizes,

  • Those who make $1 million accounted for about 0.2 percent of all tax returns but paid 20.4 percent of income taxes in 2009.
  • Those with adjusted gross income above $200,000 a year were just under 3 percent of tax filers but paid 50.1 percent of the $866 billion in total personal income taxes.
  • Before the recession, the $200,000 income group paid 54.5 percent of the income tax.
  • This means the top 3 percent paid more than the bottom 97 percent, yet the 3 percent are the people that President Obama claims don't pay their fair share. (Emphasis added)

If the Obama administration has its way, the number of millionaires (and those making $1 million a year) will continue to dwindle under the weight of new "taxes on the rich." But then where will the big-government types get the money for all their entitlement, welfare, and warfare programs once the teat of the rich has been sucked dry? (I'm looking at you, Middle Class.)

(Thanks to Bill Sardi and LewRockwell.com's LRC Blog)

Adam Summers is Senior Policy Analyst


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