I wrote this for my newspaper column next week, but since I'm going overboard on politics I decided to run it here too:

Question: Vice President Al Gore often states that the "wealthiest one percent" will receive most of Gov. George W. Bush's proposed tax cuts. How much must someone earn to be considered a part of that group? -- W.D., Carlsbad, Calif.

Answer: To be in the top 1 percent, you must have a yearly adjusted gross income of $250,736, according to an analysis of 1997 federal tax returns by the the Internal Revenue Service.

To be in the top 5 percent, you must have an adjusted gross income of $108,048.

Adjusted gross income is calculated by subtracting authorized deductions from yearly gross income.

In 1997, the people in the top 1 percent reported 17.4 percent of all income and paid 33.2 percent of the total income tax, David Campbell and Mike Parisi write in the Spring 2000 Statistics and Income Bulletin for the IRS.

Campbell and Parisi's article is only available as a PDF file packed inside a self-executing ZIP archive, but since it is a government document, I can also publish it myself.

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