The "one percent"--that is, the people in the top percentile of U.S. incomes, or families currently pulling down more than about $350,000--have been gobbling up an ever-larger share of the nation's income for the past three decades. But during the Great Recession of 2007-2009 the one-percenters took a break from their meal. Some observers, including Megan McArdle of the Atlantic, took this to mean that the 33-year inequality trend might be reversing itself. Most everybody else, including me, pointed out that income share for the top one percent typically falters during recessions.
David Brooks has indigestion because President Barack Obama, whom Brooks rather likes, wants to raise taxes on the rich. "He repeated the old half-truth about millionaires not paying as much in taxes as their secretaries." Why is that a half-truth? Because "the top 10 percent of earners pay nearly 70 percent of all income taxes, according to the I.R.S." Oh, please. The top 10 percent pays nearly 70 percent of all income taxes because the top 10 percent makes half the income--49.74 percent, including capital gains, before the recession and only slightly less now.