Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Peter Robb’s assertion, in his letter published August 3, that “the top 1 per cent already pay 70 per cent of federal taxes and the top 20 per cent pay 95 per cent of the taxes” is so far from the truth that it deserves four Pinnochios.

The non-partisan Tax Policy Center, which has been cited as a reliable source by both the Obama and Romney campaigns, estimated that in 2010 the share of all federal taxes paid by the top 1 per cent of income earners was 22.7 per cent. According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, in 2010 this same top 1 per cent also received about the same fraction of total income (20.3 per cent). According to the same sources, the top 20 per cent paid 67.8 per cent of all federal taxes and earned 59 per cent of all income. The 2009 figures for shares of federal taxes paid, recently published by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office were almost exactly the same (22.3 per cent and 67.9 per cent).

As a professor and a PhD economist, I’m pleased that Mr. Robb enjoys debating important issues of public finance. I do suggest, however, that in the future he should try to distinguish facts from the fictions one often reads in highly- politicized media sources.

David Salkever

Aquinnah and Baltimore