Do the rich pay enough in taxes? No, according to a broad swath of Americans, some of them rich people themselves!

A new poll from the Pew Research Center finds that nearly 60% of people say the rich don't pay enough. Meanwhile, about a quarter say the rich pay their fair share, and a little less than 10% say the rich are over-taxed.

You may recall Warren Buffet upset a lot of people when he came out and said he should be paying more tax. He was roundly attacked by wealthy people and publications that were very unhappy with him. They basically told Buffett there's nothing to stop him from writing a voluntary check to the U.S. Treasury if he feels he's being under-taxed!

But the crazy thing in the Pew poll is that more than half of wealthy Americans said they should pay more tax. That really surprised me.  Meanwhile, only one in 10 wealthy people said they pay too much already.

Here we are with the GOP convention going on and that deficit clock running in Tampa. It just highlights that we need a serious discussion. Cutting government waste and fraud won't come close to balancing the books, considering the obligations of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

The problem is you have the wealthy paying a tax rate of about 35% and the ultra-wealthy paying tiny tax rates. So you can expect the Democrats to pound Mitt Romney on his average tax rate of 13% while the merely wealthy pay 35%!

Clearly, we have distortions in the tax code that need to be dealt with. One of the easiest fixes is Steve Forbes' idea of a flat income tax to eliminate the distortions. I love the idea of a 15% tax rate for most Americans, except for the ultra-wealthy who would pay 28%.

We need this kind of transparency if we want to create a sense that somebody's not getting one over on us!

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. View More Articles

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