As I noted below, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service has released a new report documenting that the analogy used by Obama and Democrats — there are many Warren Buffetts out there who pay lower tax rates than their secretaries — is entirely accurate.
But there’s one key finding buried the report that deserves wider play: It finds that there are nearly 100,000 people in this category.
The nugget in question can be found on page five. It reads:
Among millionaires ... the average tax rate is almost 30% with about 10% facing a tax rate greater than 35%. Furthermore, another 10% face a tax rate below 24%. Comparing millionaires with moderate-income taxpayers (with AGI less than $100,000), roughly one-quarter of all millionaires (about 94,500 taxpayers) face a tax rate that is lower than the tax rate faced by 10.4 million moderate-income taxpayers (10% of the moderate income taxpayers), which would be considered a violation of the Buffett rule but not to the extent alluded to by Mr. Buffett.
What this means is that the study calculated that there are roughly 94,500 millionaires in this country who pay lower tax rates than more than 10 million middle class taxpayers do.
Here’s why this is important: It puts an actual number on the category of rich people who are paying lower tax rates than middle income folks. The response from conservatives to Obama’s push for the Buffett Rule has been to argue that on average, the wealthy pay higher tax rates than middle class taxpayers do. And that’s true — the report confirms it.
But the point of the Buffett Rule is that some millionaires, not all, are paying lower tax rates than middle income people. This report tells us that nearly 100,000 of them are in this category. In other words, the report confirms that those who are saying that this is a widespread phenomenon are absolutely right. Buffett himself has confessed that he pays lower tax rates than the other people working in his office. If this report is accurate, there are nearly 100,000 Warren Buffetts out there.
UPDATE: The full report is right here.