The WSJ (A25, October 7, 2008) had more statistics on the tax debate:
The top 20% pay 67% of all federal taxes--including not just income taxes, but payroll taxes, corporate taxes, and death/estate taxes. The top 1% of earners pay 26% of all federal taxes.
If Republicans want a return to the Reagan era, pointing out raw numbers isn't the way to get there. The average American knows the rich make the lion's share of money in this country. He also knows that no matter what the percentages and numbers are, unlike the average American, the rich don't have to worry about housing, food, or health care. Despite this knowledge, taxes have continued to come down for years in this country because the average American doesn't hate most rich people. In modern-day America, the majority of super-rich people don't inherit their wealth--they earn it, which gives them some immunity from European-style envy. Thus, the key goal of low-taxation advocates shouldn't be fairness per se. Instead, the goal should be to assure that everyone's tax contributions--no matter what the amount--are spent improving access to health care, infrastructure, and other quality-of-life services as well as cutting wasteful spending. A single dollar collected that goes towards more laws, more useless agencies, more unnecessary subsidies, and more lobbyist requests will damage everyone's faith in the system. In short, low-tax advocates must convince everyone that all taxes collected are going towards necessary services.
Americans want to be rich, so bashing the rich won't work in America as a primary political platform. The average American probably cares more about a) whether his or her tax dollars are spent for necessary services rather than special-interest spending; and b) whether taxes are enough to cover necessary services. Thus, the debate should be about what services are necessary, how the government can best deliver them, and whether the government is the best entity to deliver those services.