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