Well, fairness is in the eye of the beholder, I suppose (while I think it would be only fair if the Dodgers went to the World Series, since it's been so long for them, I'm sure my friends in San Francisco would disagree), but let's take a look at the data as to who actually pays what:
As of 2008 (the most recent numbers I found), the top 10% of taxpayers (by adjusted gross income) paid 69.94% of federal income taxes and the top 1% paid 38.02%.
Now in large measure this is a function of the fact that the top 10% of taxpayers make a large share of the income; 45.6%, and the top 1% makes 17.7% of the total income, each according to the Paris School of Economics. (http://g-mond.parisschoolofeconomics.eu/topincomes/) But the fact remains that high income earners pay a greater share of the personal income tax burden that their share of income itself would account for.
On the other hand, the bottom 50% (based on adjusted gross income) of taxpayers pays only about 2.7% of taxes paid. (Sources: www.taxfoundation.org/news/show/250.html#table6 and http://ntu.org/tax-basics/who-pays-income-taxes.html, both from IRS data)
As to the federal tax burden on various income classes as a share of income (how deep does the tax dog bite?), as of 2007, the top 1% paid at an average rate of 29.5%, and the top 10% paid at an average rate of 26.7%.
For comparison, the middle 20% (a reasonably good marker for “middle class”) paid at an average rate of 14.4%. (Source: Congressional Budget Office - www.cbo.gov/publications/collections/collections.cfm?collect=13)
So, while I'll not attempt a definition of tax fairness here, the data seems to indicate that the rich pay a disproportionately high share of taxes and lose a significant portion of their income, as compared to other income classes.
Interestingly enough, a recent Washington Post Fact-Checker article (www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/obama-taxes-and-the-buffett-rule/2011/09/20/gIQAXdd0iK_blog.html#pagebreak) came to the same conclusion:
"When you add up all of the various taxes, and look at the effective tax rates, it is clear the tax system is already pretty progressive.
Everyone pays some tax, even those who pay no federal income taxes, and the wealthiest pay a larger percentage share of taxes.
Here’s the effective tax rate for all of the groups, according to
Lowest quintile (23.4 million taxpayers), zero to $18,900: 4.3 percent
Second lowest quintile (22.4 million), $18,900-$32,100: 10.2 percent
Middle quintile (22.9 million), $32,100-$47,400: 14.2 percent
Fourth quintile (23 million), $47,400-$71,200: 17.6 percent
Highest quintile (23.6 million), above $71,200: 25.8 percent
Top 10 percent (12 million), minimum income of $98,100: 27.5 percent
Top 5 percent (5.9 million), minimum income of $134,400: 29 percent
Top 1 percent (1.1 million), minimum income of $332,300: 31.2 percent"Finally, let's look at a chart comparing various 10-year tax revenue proposals, including the president's. Compared to a world in which we did nothing (allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire, as current law allows), here's the chart comparing various proposals.
As you can see, the President's most recent proposal is for less of a tax increase than he proposed in April (in that sense, moving in the direction of the Republicans), as well as being less than half that of the President's Commission on the debt.
Draw what conclusions you wish, political, moral or otherwise, but the data set out above is clearly worth looking at and thinking about.