As we labor over our tax return preparations, we should pause and give thanks for the few who do so much for so many: the top 1 percent, who pay 37 percent of the federal income taxes. And it only takes about $400,000 to get into that 1 percent – that’s not mega-yacht wealthy.

As for the top of the top – those with adjusted gross incomes of $1 million or more, about 392,000 households – they alone pay more than 25 percent of the total. In fact, the 1 percent pay more in taxes than the bottom 90 percent. I thank them for their contribution.

On the other hand, why don’t more people pay a fair share of taxes? About half don’t pay anything. The tax structure is wrong, and everyone should pay taxes on every $1 of income.

No standard or itemized deductions, no exemptions, no credits: Simplify the whole tax structure and start with a low rate – say, 1 percent on the first $5,000 – gradually increasing to a top rate of 20 percent on all of a person’s income of every kind (including capital gains, dividends and welfare).

Every citizen and resident of the U.S. should pay income taxes. It should be a patriotic duty to earn more and pay one’s fair share of taxes.

John J. O’Connell

Brunswick