If you listen to President Obama and folks on the Left, the answer is not the rich.
If you listen to people who can do math, the answer is not the poor.
[The Congressional Budget Office] reports that the top 1% of income earners paid 39% of federal individual income taxes in 2009, while earning 13% of the income. That means their share of federal income taxes was three times their share of income. ...Of course, the designation above may not be accurate. It's quite likely that the President and his fellow travelers can do math passably well, but just have a difference in philosophy. To them, the situation where the rich pay 3 times the ratio they take in while the rest of society pays nothing on net and actually gets paid by the IRS isn't fair ... for the rest of society. Obama & Co. clearly want the ratio to be even more stacked against "the rich," by which they mean people making over $200,000 a year.
CBO further reported that in 2009 the top 20% of income earners, those earning more than $74,000, paid 94% of federal individual income taxes, virtually all of the net total. That was 85% more than the share of national income they earned.
Yet, in that same year, the middle 20% of income earners, the true middle class, paid 2.7% of total federal individual income taxes on net, while earning 15% of before-tax income. And the bottom 40% of income earners, instead of paying some income taxes to support the federal government, were paid by the IRS cash equal to 10% of federal individual income taxes on net.
That means altogether the bottom 60% of income earners, which includes the middle class, paid less than 0% of total federal individual income taxes as a group on net. Instead, as a group, they received net cash payments from the IRS on net.
But is that just? Is it fair? To me, it clearly isn't. I think most folks in this country would probably be strongly inclined to agree with me, if they were presented with the facts of the CBO report referenced above. The situation is not just and it is not fair. Making it even less fair won't help.