Let's face it. The subject of taxes intimidates a lot of people, and it can be an understandably touchy subject. So we won't inundate you with charts, graphs, and tables to tell you why the rich are getting away with murder on tax day. We've got something better for you on this Tax Day, just 24 hours after Republicans rejected the Buffett rule (a proposal which was sensible, if far too easy on the rich).
Instead of bogging you down with data, we offer you: The Elvis Index.
As we've noted before, Elvis had a manager named Col. Tom Parker - who, in the true huckster/promoter spirit, was neither a "Colonel" nor "Tom Parker." (He was a Dutch immigrant.) Col. Parker famously said back in the 1950s that ""I consider it my patriotic duty to keep Elvis up in the 90 percent tax bracket."
That's right. Back in the 1950s - when we were that country that Rick Perry and other conservatives wax nostalgic about - Dwight Eisenhower was President, the nation was enjoying its postwar economic boom, and the top tax rate for ultra-high-earners was 90 percent. (It was either 91 percent or 92 percent throughout the Eisenhower Presidency.)
Today the official top tax rate for ultra-high earners is 35 percent - and between capital gains tax cuts and other accounting tricks, very few of them pay even that much. Here's a snapshot (shrunk to fit the blog format; click to enlarge:rule (a proposal which was sensible, if far too easy on the rich).