The Truth About America’s 1 Percent

Demonstrators in New York City who “Occupy Wall Street” claim that the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans earn the bulk of income in the country and President Barack Obama wants them to pay their “fair share” with a millionaire’s tax. But what’s the reality?

The top 1 percent earned 20 percent of pretax income in 2007 when it paid 28 percent of total tax revenue, including almost 40 percent of personal income taxes. That’s according to data from the Congressional Budget Office.

The top 10 percent of income earners pay approximately 70 percent of federal income taxes and raise more than half of all federal tax revenue. By contrast, the bottom 46 percent of households pay no income tax at all.

Incomes among the top 1 percent vary. Americans need to make a little over $500,000 per year to make it into the top tier. About 1.2 million households belong to this category. The average annual pretax income in this group is $1.87 million.