'"You got the top 2 percent paying almost half of all income taxes. Is that fair?" Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz…
IRS figures show the top 1 percent of earners take home 16.9 percent of the nation's total income, but pay 36.7 percent of the nation's income taxes.
The top 5 percent take home a little more than 31 percent of total income but pay almost 59 percent of all income taxes.
And the top 10 percent earn just over 43 percent of the total income but pay more than 70 percent of all income taxes.
"How are you going to make it fairer? If they pay 75 percent?," asks Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute. "If they pay 90 percent? If they pay all of it? Will that finally be fair?"
As it now stands, 90 percent of all Americans pay only 30 percent of all income taxes…
The president does not mention another factor in the fairness equation -- close to half of American workers pay no federal income taxes at all…
And Kyl notes, "people who do not share in the sacrifice of paying taxes have little direct incentive to care whether the government is spending and taxing too much."
The administration often points to the ultra wealthy who sometimes pay lower rates because they have a lot of deductions. But the averages for all groups paint a more accurate picture.
The top 1 percent, for instance, pay an average tax rate of more than 24 percent. The top 5 percent -- a tax rate of a little more than 20 percent. The top 10 percent -- about 18 percent.
For the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers, the average rate is 1.85 percent.'