I agree that the thing about the top 1% paying whatever amount of federal income tax is misleading. I think the author kind of missing the point too though.
We pay LOTS of other taxes that aren't federal income tax. You pay a gas tax, which ostensibly goes to upkeep on roads but look at the state of the roads. You also pay sales tax. I'm not saying tickets and speeding shouldn't be enforced but the state makes alot of money off that. They took in like 20 billion or something last year just from taxes on bullets, tobacco, and booze (why are those all in one dept?)
Also, the key measure alot of these guys miss is INFLATION. gas prices have rocketed up since 2000 because of the federal reserves monetary policy. SOME of it is due to speculators and we saw that in 08 but they were speculating on the sinking dollar.
That is going to be the big story going forward, people are just starting to realize that inflation is a tax. It makes the money you have worth less. It also benefits the rich and the state, who get the money first, and punishes thriftiness and the poor.
That's a valid thing to point out. It always gets me that America is so proud that our income tax is so much lower than other nations. This true, but doesn't really say much. We have this massive government of spending that has to be funded somehow. And we have a nation that still holds onto a rudimentary reaction to income tax that is highly negative. So instead, the government nickel-and-dimes us to death. Our income gets sucked away in so many ways. And to expand on lester's point, it encourages dependency by consumers on credit and discourages people who generally want to become more self-reliant.
And fees. Don't get me started on them. If I want to add a bathroom to my house, a staggering amount of money will have to be paid over and above the cost of the addition itself, in permits and inspections that I have to pay for.
It would probably be difficult to pull off, but I would love if somebody did and exhaustive study of how much the average citizen pays to live when you combine income tax and all the other little taxes and fees we pay and compare it to what many other nations pay in income tax. I don't know what the result would be, but I suspect there wouldn't be a significant difference. Anybody who knows me knows I would never advocate socialism, but at least the socialist nations collect their money in a little more efficient of a fashion, all in one go. This nickel-and-dime bulls**t is not only annoying and misleading, but also more inefficient because of the number of bureucratic agencies that have to do all the collecting.