If one person had 100% of the income, would our tax system be more progressive?

A somewhat strange article in the Times by Annie Lowrey observes that

the Tax Policy Center estimates that the average family in the top 1 percent will pay a federal tax rate of more than 36 percent this year, up from 28 percent in 2008. That is the highest rate since 1979, at least.

By some measures, the tax code might now be the most progressive in a generation ….

And while it never says explicitly what those measures are, it seems to suggest that the rate paid by the top 1% of earners is one of them.  Changes in the shape of the income distribution change the rate paid by the top 1%, but it seems rather silly to say that these are changes in the progressivity of the tax code itself.  Also worth noting is the fact that the words “payroll tax” appear exactly once in the article, in the following sentence:

An anesthesiologist who earns a $500,000 salary subject to payroll and income taxes might pay a higher tax rate than a hedge fund manager making $1 billion subject mostly to capital-gains taxes[.]

I guess this is the Times‘ way of looking out for the middle class.

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