L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

08 October 2007 Blog Home : October 2007 : Permalink

US Taxes and Health Insurance

In the US there is lots of lefty handwringing about how President Bush vetoed an extension to the SCHIP legislation that is supposed to extend healthcare insurance to "poor" children. A good example is this Think Progress post where the program is defended by NJ Governor Corzine. In it we learn that in New Jersey children can get coverage if the family has an income of 250% of the federal poverty line. We also learn that adults get covered if they earn less than 133% of the federal poverty line and we are told that this figure works out as $27,000. By simple calculation ($27,000/1.33) we learn that the povery line is just over $20,000 which means that 250% of it is about $50,000.

Coincidentally(?) Instapundit links to a blog piece about who pays how much federal tax(PDF). The quote the blog article is interested in is that the top 1% of taxpayers pay 39.x% of all federal tax and the bottom 95% pay 40.y% of all federal tax. This is interesting but I found some other interesting details in the report.

The median income for federal income tax in 2005 turns out to be $30,881. The boundary between the top 25% and the rest is $62,068. We don't know what these income boundaries are going to be for 2007 but it seems unlikely to me that they will have increased more than 10%.

Going on Gov Corzine'd defence of SCHIP children from well over 50% of all families (I guess about 66%) would be eligable for SCHIP support (i..e. government health insurance) and close to 50% of all adults would too. It is worth noting that the lower 50% of taxpayers contribute a mere 3% of federal tax revenues at an average rate of 3% of gross income. The top 25-50% of taxpayers pay 11% of all taxes at a rate of no more than 7%.

I understand the idea of progressive taxation and the socialist idea of wealth transfer but usually we don't consider passing wealth from the top 1% to the top 25-50% which is what the revised SCHIP appears to be proposing.