Open Thread: Millionaires Gone Missing

After he gets back from yet another vacation, President Obama is going to renew his call for taxes on "millionaires and billionaires," i.e. individuals making more than $200,000 annually and couples making more than $250,000. Besides the obvious fact that people with that type of income are not millionaires and billionaires, there's another inconvenient fact for those looking to "soak the rich:"

The recent economic downturn has significantly decreased their numbers, just when Obama is looking to confiscate their money:

[T]he real tax news is that there are fewer of both these days. This month the IRS released more detailed tax data for 2009, and the nearby table records the decline of the taxpaying rich.

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%. 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%. [...]

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

Making people poorer is the perfect way to make the economy better, isn't it?


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Economy Open Thread