This is a stand alone article in that Galston here, does not (as he does in other TNR articles) go into the whys and where-fores which are really the heart of this entire issue politically and are the ideological positions that underpins the questions; -who among the top 2 quintiles ( right or left), where the money is and the middle to upper middle class reside, is willing to pay higher taxes based on a promise to cut? or- alternatively who among those would go along IF they knew that concomitant cuts/shrinkage were taking place? ( Bill Clinton pick up the white courtesy phone please). -who among the top 2 quintiles ( right or left), where the money is and the middle to upper middle class reside, is willing to fund the gov. as is? -who among the top 2 quintiles ( right or left), where the money is and the middle to upper middle class reside, is willing to go along with tax hikes and not punish the progenitor, (Obama or whomever proposes such)? Oh and all of the soak the rich veterans out there, take note....read the article, your case doesn't hold water and never has. Soak the Almost Rich Obama made a pledge not to raise taxes on the upper-middle class. Liberals should hope he breaks it. William Galston May 12, 2011 | 12:00 am snip- During the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama famously promised that taxes would either stay the same or go down for households making less than $250,000 a year. But Salam points out that theres no way of reducing the budget deficit to acceptable levels, let alone financing the kind of federal government Obama favors, while relying solely on income and payroll tax increases for households making more than that figure. Of course, theres not much that can be squeezed out of the bottom four income quintiles (households making less than $100,000 per year). On the other hand, relying solely on the rich for added revenues would imply tax rates in excess of 75 percent. But what about the well-off but not richthose in the fifth quintile who earn between $100,000 and $250,000 a year? Can they really be held harmless? To dramatize the problem were facing, lets consider the analysis the Urban Institutes Eugene Steuerle and Stephanie Rennane published in January, which looked at taxes and benefits for households in different income brackets. The average couple earning $112,000 and retiring in 2010 will have paid $140,000 in lifetime Medicare taxes, but is expected to receive lifetime Medicare benefits totaling $343,000. Twenty years from now, the same couple would have paid $171,000 in lifetime Medicare taxes and would receive $530,000 in benefits. (Technical note: These amounts are in constant 2010 dollars, adjusted to present value using a 2 percent real interest rate. In calculating net benefits, the authors have taken into account premiums as well as payroll taxes.) Or consider the analysis USA Today published last week, which found that Americans are paying the smallest share of their income for taxes since 195823.6 percent, versus about 27 percent in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. On average, a person making $100,000 this year will pay $23,600 in combined taxesfederal, state, and local, income, payroll, and salesversus $28,700 in 2000 and $27,300 in 1990. Even when the one-year Social Security tax cut ends, the tax gap between now and a decade ago for individuals making $100,000 will still be more than $3,000. Of course, you might argue were short on revenues because the tax code has let the very wealthy off the hook in recent decades. Maybe so, but its hard to see that in the data. According to the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, the effective tax rate for all federal taxes in 2009 was 18.2 percent. The effective rates by quintile were: Lowest -0.9 Second 6.6 Third 13.4 Fourth 17.2 Top 22.9 But maybe the real action is within the top quintile of income-earners, with the super-rich making out like bandits. Again, the Urban-Brookings numbers dont support that story: 80-90 19.4 90-95 22.0 95-99 23.5 Top 1 percent 26.1 Top 0.1 percent 27.9 This is just a one-year snapshot, of course. What about trends over time? We know that the distribution of income has become less equal in recent decades, with those at the top commanding a larger share. You might think that the share of taxes paid by high earners has declined during this period, shifting the burden to those below. But according to the CBO, that hasnt happened either. While the share of national income for the top quintile and the top 1 percent has risen considerably since the mid-1980s, their share of total federal taxes has risen even more. much more at- Should Obama Break His Pledge And Raise Taxes On The Upper-Middle Class? | The New Republic I strongly suggest reading the entire article, which is free and requires no subscription to view before engaging in the usual firefight which I am sure will erupt.