The following is my comment to Paul Krugman's blog post titled, "Millionaires, the Middle Class, and Taxes" on 9/21 in the NYT.
Regarding the often quoted argument that the wealthiest Americans (previous comment noted Top 400) pay more nominal dollars in tax today than they did in the 90s despite higher tax rates in the 90s - and isn't that better?...
Consider this, due to deregulation of the banking system and many pro-business regulations in the 2000s, the top 0.1% of the population (>$2,000,000) saw their incomes grow over 14% per year while 90% of taxpayers saw their incomes grow at 0.8% per year from 2002-2007 (CBPP). Regardless of the tax rate on the wealthiest Americans, when 1% of the population owns almost 23% of the total economic pie (Dungan & Murdy, 2010), the top 1% is going to pay a lot in taxes. Tax rates should not be the basis for a class warfare debate, the fact that the top 1% takes home 23% of the economic pie (largest since late 1920s) should be the debate and maybe the underlying point of Buffet's comments regarding a millionaires tax increase.