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Readers rage about the rich and taxes

March 13, 2013: 11:32 AM ET

CNNMoney's story about how the top 10% of taxpayers paid 70% of the nation's federal income taxes, even though they received just 45% of the income, took off like wildfire in the social media world.

Nearly 4,000 people commented on the piece. It also generated tons of tweets and was recommended more than 8,000 times on Facebook . Some people liked it:

And we got some backhanded compliments:

But most of the comments were negative. The nastiest stuff tended to come by email.

"I can't believe you try to drum this nonsense into our heads" one reader wrote. "This article is nothing but trash coming from someone that hasn't a clue."

"You should be ashamed of yourself for putting that abject lie in the top of your article," wrote another. "I demand an apology and a retraction."

An apology or retraction will not be forthcoming -- the facts were correct. But many readers raised a valid point: We did not include the amount of wealth held by the top 10% of taxpayers.

Fair enough, so here goes: "The share of wealth held by the top 10% of wealth owners grew from 67.2% in 1989 to 74.5% in 2010," The Congressional Research Service wrote in a report last year. "Declines occurred in the remaining 90% of households."

Now wealth is not the same as income -- it includes things like value of stocks and real estate. And the wealthiest 10% are not necessarily the same as the top 10% of taxpayers. But chances are there's a lot of overlap.

So Cheney Watch could be forgiven for wanting to keep its pitchfork.

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About This Author
Steve Hargreaves
Steve Hargreaves
Senior Writer, CNNMoney

Steve Hargreaves is a senior writer covering economic, energy and environmental issues at CNNMoney. Previously, he worked out of Istanbul and Bangkok, and has been published in the Village Voice and the Australian Financial Review. He tweets at @HargreavesCNN

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