Still, some might respond, surely the rich are now paying a smaller share under the Bush tax rates than they were back in the good old Clinton days? Actually, that’s not true either. As you can see in the table below, the distribution of the tax burden across income levels was roughly similar in 2000 – the last year of the Clinton tax rates – then it was in 2008, after the Bush rates had been effect for years. In fact, the rich paid a slightly higher share in 2008.
How could this happen after the Bush administration spent a decade heaping benefits on the rich while squeezing the middle class? Mark Robyn, who co-authored the analysis for the Tax Foundation, noted that the Bush tax cuts were across the board. So when Democrats speak in aggregate dollar terms, they can make it seem as though wealthier Americans are getting a better deal. But that’s only because they pay a lot more in taxes, so cutting taxes for all is going to result in a larger dollar figure for them. But if you analyze it as a share of taxes paid, the Bush tax cuts didn’t change the distribution.