Remember how Sen. Hatch was getting worked up about an oft-repeated conservative article of faith that 51% of Americans don't pay taxes, and his solution to shrinking the deficit was to soak the poor? Turns out that slightly more then 49% of Americans pay taxes, making Hatch's soak the poor argument even more Scrooge like. It is true is that somewhere around 51% of Americans don't pay Federal Income Tax, but there is a whole slew of other taxes that the 51% do pay; sin taxes on tobacco and alcohol, payroll taxes, property taxes, and the king of regressive taxes, the sales tax. Plus you have all the myriad array of fees built into all levels of government, most notoriously at the local level where fees have replaced taxes as the go to revenue raiser.
The current Federal Income Tax is structured so that we tax groups properly relative to their ownership of the national wealth. The overall tax system is structured such that the poor are paying too much proportional to their ownership of the national wealth. Such a system is increasing the already enormous wealth and income gap in this country. The first step to correcting inequality should be simple, let the Bush era tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans expire in 2012. I don't think it's enough but it certainly is a start.