The Public Interest

The rich, the poor, and the taxes they pay: an update

Joseph A. Pechman & Mark J. Mazure

Fall 1984

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO, an article by Joseph A. Pechman entitled “The Rich, the Poor, and the Taxes They Pay” was published in this journal. Then, as now, the distribution of income was a hotly debated subject. Relying primarily on introspection and casual investigations, people are forever arguing whether the rich or the poor are getting richer. Such arguments cannot be resolved without hard facts, however. Income inequality is a serious issue and those who make policy decisions on the basis of intuition or dogma can do considerable damage.

Download a PDF of the full article.



from the


A weekly newsletter with free essays from past issues of National Affairs and The Public Interest that shed light on the week's pressing issues.


to your National Affairs subscriber account.

Already a subscriber? Activate your account.


Unlimited access to intelligent essays on the nation’s affairs.

Subscribe to National Affairs.