Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Upside Down: 53% of Tax Benefits Go to Most Wealthy

The federal government spent nearly $400 billion in 2009 on policies that help our nation's wealthiest individuals buy homes, save money, start businesses, pay for college and retire comfortably, while doing little to help working families who most need the financial cushion.

According to Upside Down: The $400 Billion Dollar Asset-Building Budget, a report by the Corporation for Enterprise Development and the Annie E. Casey Foundation:
  • 53 percent of American tax benefits went to the top 5 percent of earners: households making over $160,000.
  • The wealthiest Americans (those earning over $1 million annually) receive more than $95,000 in tax benefits while middle income families receive a few hundred dollars and poor families relying on public benefits actually face penalties for saving.
  • Eight out of 10 of the wealthiest families saved approximately one-third of their household income in 2009, while one-third of low-income households earned too little to make ends meet, much less save for the future.
  • About 80 percent of the value for mortgage and property tax deductions accrued to the top 20 percent of taxpayers. In fact, many homeowners don’t take the mortgage deduction because they do not earn enough income or incur enough of a tax liability to warrant itemizing their deductions.
The report details these specific tax policies and asks Congress to pursue more equitable ways of delivering assistance to low and middle income families.

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