Earlier this week, an analysis by The New York Times confirmed once more a conclusion posted repeatedly on this blog:
Contrary to the popular image of Americans as overtaxed to within an inch of our economic lives, citizens of this country in almost every economic group pay a significantly smaller share of their income in taxes — state, local and federal — than they did 30 years ago.
The sole exception:
“Lower-income households, however, saved little or nothing. Many pay no federal income taxes, but they do pay a range of other levies, like federal payroll taxes, state sales taxes and local property taxes. Only about half of taxpaying households with incomes below $25,000 paid less in 2010.”
(An interactive and much more extensive version of the chart above is available here.)
Any honest analysis of our current financial situation must account for this basic, fundamental fact. By comparison with other major industrial countries, and by comparison with our own history, we are undertaxed not overtaxed. Politicians buy votes just as easily by promising endless and repeated tax cuts as by promising new spending programs, and after some three decades of such policies, we are shocked to find ourselves increasingly in debt?
– Jay Bookman