Lower rates on capital gains and dividends
Lower rates on capital gains and dividends
President Bush also lowered the rates on capital gains and dividends to 15%. Previously, capital gains had been taxed at 20% and dividends at ordinary income tax rates.

This has been a big boon for the wealthy since nearly half of them paid tax on capital gains or dividends in 2010, according to the Tax Policy Center. Only 6.3% of the middle quintile had taxable investment income and a paltry 0.2% of the lowest quintile.

"Since rich people have the majority of the investment income, they get the majority of the tax break," said Clint Stretch, managing principal for federal tax policy at Deloitte Tax.

The top quintile of taxpayers accounted for nearly 75% of the dividend income and 94% of the capital gains income reported in 2005, according to the Tax Policy Center.


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.