Given the discussion about President Obama’s desire to raise taxes on “the rich” — i.e., families earning more than $250,000 a year — it’s rather convenient that the Congressional Budget Office yesterday published its latest look at earnings and taxes paid by income level. It tells us a couple of worthwhile things.
First, as I mentioned in a comment yesterday evening, it tells us the U.S. tax code is already rather progressive. Here are the numbers I posted yesterday in chart form; note that “federal taxes paid” includes not only income taxes but social-insurance taxes, corporate taxes (which, after all, are ultimately paid by individuals) and excise taxes for 2009, the most recent year the CBO has examined:
So, even when we include the payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare, which disproportionately hit lower-income workers, the U.S. tax code is already sharply progressive. What liberal/progressivists have yet to tell us is exactly how much more progressive they