Bush tax cuts
Bush tax cuts
It's true that President Bush lowered tax rates for everyone in 2001, but the rich benefited more than other Americans.

The Bush tax cuts were a primary driver of the growth in income inequality over the past decade, the Congressional Research Service found.

The tax cuts reduced the middle three income tax rates of 28%, 31% and 36% by 3 percentage points, while shaving 4.6 percentage points off the top rate of 39.6%. It also created a new 10% bracket.

This knocked roughly $11,000 off the tax bill of those in the top quintile of taxpayers, on average, according to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center. They got to keep an extra 5.4% of their after-tax income.

But the middle quintile only received a 2.6% boost in their after-tax income, or about an $1,100 tax break. The bottom quintile had just a $74 reduction in taxes, about a 0.7% change in after-tax income.

By Tami Luhby @CNNMoney - Last updated February 15 2012: 9:58 AM ET
Government assistance expands

More than a third of Americans lived in households receiving government assistance in mid-2010.