In 2003, George and Laura Bush paid an effective tax rate on their income of about 30%. I estimate that I paid an effective tax rate of 28%. The average middle-class family paid an effective tax rate of 20%. Billionaire couple John Kerry and Theresa Heinz Kerry, with an income ten times the Bushes, paid an effective tax rate of just 13%.
It's awfully hard to soak the rich. They know how to work the system to their advantage; that's one of the ways they got rich. Our best chance at a fair system is a simple, flat tax, with a generous individual deduction that frees anyone at a subsistence level of income from any taxes.