• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Fairness is in the Eye of the Beholder Vice President Biden

    In a recent interview with Yahoo Finance, Vice President Joe Biden said the following:

    “the top 1 percent of earners get 22 percent of all income made in the U.S. Taxes have been lowered for the wealthy considerably over the years. It’s about time we get a little tax equity here.”

    Putting aside the fact that the Vice President thinks top-earners “get” their income instead of earning it through hard work, innovation and business acumen, he is right that the top one percent of taxpayers earn 22 percent of all income. But what he fails to mention is that they also pay more than 40 percent of all income taxes. By most people’s standards that is more than enough “equity”.

    In fact, the top one percent of taxpayers pay more taxes than the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers combined. And the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers pay less than 3 percent of all taxes. If current trends continue, the bottom 50 percent will soon pay no income taxes at all.

    This is a dangerous situation because that means a majority of taxpayers, and therefore voters, will be able to vote themselves a larger and larger share of government benefits at no cost to themselves. All government spending will be financed entirely by a shrinking minority of taxpayers. Politicians will have no incentive to say no to more government spending since there are more votes to be won from increasing spending.

    According to Vice President Biden’s conception of fairness this isn’t a bad thing. In fact, he thinks top-earners should pay more and lower-earning taxpayers should pay less. But if he gets his way, we will quickly pass the threshold where more than half of all taxpayers pay no income taxes. If that were to occur, never-ending increases in government spending would be the result. And more and more taxpayers that pay nothing will inevitably lead to fiscal implosion when there are no longer enough productive taxpayers to fund all the government spending.

    Fairness is ultimately in the eye of the beholder, but consider the share of taxes the top one percent would pay under a more proportional tax system than our current highly progressive tax code. Under a flat tax, for example, if they earned 22 percent of all the income, they would pay 22 percent of all taxes.

    That seems more equitable than the system Vice President Biden desires that would only lead us into fiscal Armageddon.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    20 Responses to Fairness is in the Eye of the Beholder Vice President Biden

    1. pennsylvania says:

      To give any kind of credence to what Biden has to say is ludacris.This guy is just absolutely clueless/brainless. I can't figure out how the citizens of DE. voted him in to office in the first place. His birthplace is NE. PA. of which I am a resident and am proud to say he left before he entered politics. Bad enough we have FAST Eddie to content with.

    2. MJF, CT says:

      People have been drilled into thinking that CEO's are crooks, rich people are thieves and big business is the devil. They are steered into believing that they are entitled to a "piece of the action" but never having to do the work or put in the time. This is Liberal thinking and the foundation of socialism.

      Every era has it's scapegoat. The last era of socialism blamed everything on the Jews. The people were drilled into thinking that everything wrong was the fault of the Jews. If you were unemployed, it was a Jew's fault. If you were hungry, it was a Jew's fault. If your government was hamstrung, it was the fault of the Jews. Enter the new world order and the saviour.

      Today, we are told big business robs us, the rich steal from us and the CEO's enslave us for their pleasure. The government is trying to help but is hamstrung by the Constitution. Enter the saviour.

      Please, people – I've been saying that we are in a parallel with the 1930's and it is becoming truer every day. Back then, activists over threw and ran the government. Not a business man among them. Today, activists, tax cheats and community organizers run the government and we are headed down the same road as the final chapters of Mein Kampf.

      History tells us exactly the road we are travelling on and it is the road to oblivion. Socialism and pompous rulers ruined many countries over the centuries. The United States is next if we do not change the tide in November. Will History record the end of the United States or just a major bump? Will history equate President Obama to a mistaken, ignorant fool or will History stand him next to Hitler and say, "he returned to finish the job"?

    3. Steve G says:

      We don't need violence, and we don't even need loud, in-your-face type of tactics…we simply need to educate ourselves and motivate our neighbors and friends to help us "throw the bums out" in November. This country has been too blessed, and has stood for too great of ideals and values to let it be sold down the river by progressives.

      The two people who have expressed this the best are Dennis Prager and this young conservative writer out of Chicago: http://rjmoeller.com/2010/04/november-2010-countr

    4. RG st simons is ga says:

      Refreshing to see that Dekalb county, Ga isn't the only area of the country that produces clueless/brain dead politicians.With all these Spring Breakers coming to our island, we pray that it won't suffer the same fate as Guam.

    5. Jeanne Stotler, wood says:

      It seems that everyone forgets that there are tax levels, the % of tax increases with the more you make. One time my husband got a raise only to find his check less than before the raise. The raise pushed us into a higher tax bracket, we laughed about it, he actually brought home .10 a week less. I do believe there are those in upper brackets who have unearned income that they don't pay taxes on, int. in off shore acct's etc. but this is the minority. There are those who don't pay any taxes and get unearned income credit, these are called the working poor. Taxes are and should be based on earnings, tax payers should not be made to feel they are different from one another.

    6. Tim AZ says:

      If your scenario happens the welfare recipients will have at most 3 years to party on before the total financial collapse of America. The thing I would be concerned with most after the collapse is what direction we head in. Will it be a dictatorship or the return to the constitution as it was intended to work?

    7. Mike, Sacramento CA says:

      Biden's comments underscore the democrates fundemental misunderstanding of economics. Their belief in an endless supply of money to spend on themselves shows a complete disconnect from reality.

    8. Dick, California says:

      I'm tired of hearing about the top and bottom. I am stuck firmly in the middle. Not enough to not care, not so little to get handouts. I just get to pay. How about some analysis of how much blood is left in the middle class turnip?

    9. Perry, OK says:

      Keep it up obama-biden. Your view of all things small and big are skewed. Focus on this!

      1. When you cost me more to operate than I can charge my customers, it will put me out of business. Which in turn means I do not pay your taxes. Which means you can not continue to play ROB and HOOD.

      2.If the value of our country is ground to a halt and there is no spending who is really in charge!

      3.Change in your world is really CHAINS. I can only hope the american people wake up before all of your effects can take place.

    10. Lloyd Scallan - New says:

      It's all about what Obama told Joe the plumber, "spread the wealth". Take from the "haves" and give it to the "have nots" regardless of the fact that the "haves"

      worked and earned what they have. This can be summed up in one word,


    11. Drew Page, IL says:

      The above Heritage article has summarized the situation accurately and succinctly. With an ever greater influx of illegal aliens and with the growing number of unemployed, those in the lower one-half of all income earners paying no taxes will grow to over 50% and there is the voting coalition that the Democrats have always wanted. The majority will be in a position to vote for more and more handouts from the government, and why not, since they won't be paying the bill.

      With support from over 50% of voters, all of whom will be dependent on government, the government will be free to determine the course of everyone's life. The public will have been brought to heel and the master will decide if the dogs will eat and if they will be let in from the cold–provide the dogs have been "good".

    12. Blue, TX says:

      Once again, our elected "leaders" demonstrate their bigger agenda — Create chaos, steal from the productive members of our society, distribute the wealth to those too lazy to be productive, and promote an ever growing and intrusive big government. Socialists and thieves that know no bounds, have no morals, or understanding of what makes this country great!

    13. Ben C. Ann Arbor, MI says:

      What Biden fails to realize is the increased incentive to hide income and expand the "underground economy." There are very smart people who find legal ways to avoid paying taxes. The underground economy (unreported cash for goods and sevices) will boom.

    14. Jill, California says:

      What would the statistics look like if the tax cheats in Washington paid their taxes?

    15. sritter says:

      Does this mean that Obama, Biden, Pelosi, Reid will start paying taxes? Arent they in the 1%? I hear alot of spouting on this redistribution, I dont see them empting their or encouraging their friends to empty their pockets let alone "hard work" to promote their agendas.

    16. Bo Cornell, Sammamis says:

      There is no thought or appreciation for how hard people work to be successful. And there is no mention of the fact that the people in the top 1% are not the same every year. We have a dynamic economy; people have the opportunity to be successful and make a lot of money if they are willing to work hard, invest in themselves and take some risk. If democrats, like Joe Biden, don't understand this we are screwed.

      What do you think about a "union" of non union members to counter the influence of unions in general and Govt unions in particular. The annual dues could be $5. There was an article in the WSJ about the salary and benefits (retire at 55 with full pay!!!) of Federal and state employees.

      I would be interested in your thoughts on that idea.


    17. Christopher Ewing, D says:

      I think they should pass a law that the Congressmen and Congresswomen are required to read the law they vote on before they can vote. Haven't read it …. can't vote. Sounds reasonable to me.

      What is called public policy is nothing short of "presidential prostitution" …. where the president & his Democratic cronies pass policies that buys votes. Don't shoot the goose that lays the golden eggs, continue to vote for that golden goose. Why should I care that the government act responsibility if I don't have too but I still get all the benefits? Make someone else pay for my "low income tax credit"! That appears to be the new "Obamacare" way from this man who was born somewhere in Kenya or Indonesia.

      It just makes me sick.

    18. Pete Stroempl of For says:

      Some day.. we will run out of taxpayers… What kind of society will we then have?

    19. Leon, Durango, CO says:

      Don't you wish we still had the old Constitutional Amendment that said all taxes have to be fair?

    20. Pingback: Sec. Clinton: Our Taxes Aren’t High Enough | Step Down Obama

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.