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20 Tax Facts That Will Blow Your Mind


"The IRS has more employees than there are people in Flint, Michigan."

In honor of tax day, Business Insider put together a slide show on the 20 tax facts that will "make your head explode." Here's a sample:

1. The IRS has more employees than there are people in Flint, Michigan (106K vs 102K).

2. Americans spend $28 billion and 8 billion hours each year doing their taxes.

3. The number of pages in the tax code has increased 16,775% in the past century.

4. You could fill Dallas with the number of accountants Americans hire to help with taxes each year (over a million).

You can read the rest here.

In related news, the Wall Street Journal did a little thought experiment today, looking at what would happen if Obama's increase on "rich" taxpayers went to, say, 100 percent of their income. Guess what? It would barely dent the national debt:

Consider the Internal Revenue Service's income tax statistics for 2008, the latest year for which data are available. The top 1% of taxpayers—those with salaries, dividends and capital gains roughly above about $380,000—paid 38% of taxes. But assume that tax policy confiscated all the taxable income of all the "millionaires and billionaires" Mr. Obama singled out. That yields merely about $938 billion, which is sand on the beach amid the $4 trillion White House budget, a $1.65 trillion deficit, and spending at 25% as a share of the economy, a post-World War II record.

Say we take it up to the top 10%, or everyone with income over $114,000, including joint filers. That's five times Mr. Obama's 2% promise. The IRS data are broken down at $100,000, yet taxing all income above that level throws up only $3.4 trillion. And remember, the top 10% already pay 69% of all total income taxes, while the top 5% pay more than all of the other 95%.

We recognize that 2008 was a bad year for the economy and thus for tax receipts, as payments by the rich fell along with their income. So let's perform the same exercise in 2005, a boom year and among the best ever for federal revenue. (Ahem, 2005 comes after the Bush tax cuts that Mr. Obama holds responsible for all the world's problems.)

In 2005 the top 5% earned over $145,000. If you took all the income of people over $200,000, it would yield about $1.89 trillion, enough revenue to cover the 2012 bill for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security—but not the same bill in 2016, as the costs of those entitlements are expected to grow rapidly. The rich, in short, aren't nearly rich enough to finance Mr. Obama's entitlement state ambitions—even before his health-care plan kicks in.

Conclusion? The middle class will end up paying for tax increases. Literally.

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