As David Leonhardt said about that chart:

If we had good numbers on the distribution of state and local taxes, the picture would be even more pronounced. These taxes tend to be less progressive than federal taxes…

The Journal does note that at least part of the highest quintile’s greater share of the overall tax burden is due to their income gains, but it obscures the inequality again by not focusing on the top 1 percent, which has gotten almost all of the after-tax income gains of the last three decades (the red line here is the top 1 percent and the yellow line is the top 20 percent):

The paper goes on to call Singapore an “emerging economy.” Presumably, having per capita GDP (in purchasing power parity) that’s 10 percent to 20 percent higher than the U.S. means you’ve emerged.

This story’s meme emerged from the Journal edit page. Best to stick it back in that cesspool.

* I updated this paragraph to add a chart and to include the fourth quintile in those who’ve had their tax rates raised.

UPDATE: Felix Salmon, who’s a contributing editor here, also had a harsh take on this piece. Read it over at Reuters.

Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at