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May 06, 2011 08:34 PM UTC

"Taxed Enough Already," Are You?

  • 30 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

McClatchy’s Kevin Hall:

At a time when Washington is wrestling with how to end federal budget deficits and trim the national debt – huge questions that are expected to dominate the nation’s politics through the 2012 elections – the fact that Americans are under-taxed compared with U.S. historic norms is central to the discussion.

This fact is separate from the politically charged questions of whether government spends too much, the fairness of who pays how much and what we value or don’t in government spending. It’s simply that our tax burden is low in the long view of U.S. history, and there are many ways to measure that central truth… [Pols emphasis]

Americans across all income classes paid lower effective tax rates in 2007, the last year of complete Internal Revenue Service data, than they did in 2000. The effective tax rate is what people pay after all exemptions and deductions. This is according to the most recent comprehensive look at taxes by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The highest 20 percent of tax filers saw their total average federal effective tax rate fall from 28 percent in 2000 to 25.1 percent in 2007, according to the CBO. That’s considerably lower than the current top marginal tax rate of 35 percent, and lower than the 27.5 percent effective rate in 1979, the first year that CBO data are available.

It’s a remarkable feat of conservative messaging that so many Americans believe they are paying more taxes now than they were in the past–a claim that just doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, and the story gives you several ways to evaluate the question if the one we picked above doesn’t suit you. Democrats insist that much of the forecast deficits the nation faces can be directly attributed to recent tax cuts. If that’s true, endless battles over deficits, and “being forced” to cut programs “to protect our childrens’ future”…take on a very different complexion.

Maybe we are irresponsible, just not the way some people want to talk about.

Comments

30 thoughts on ““Taxed Enough Already,” Are You?

  1. Democratic pols being so immobilized by fear of being called socialist class warriors that there has been so little push back on this total fiction.

    1. A great excercise is to ask folks you know if they are aware of the “Making Work Pay” tax credit on their tax return.

      Stunned silence follows far too often.

      But it’s a great way to get into the “taxed enough, too much” conversation by avoiding the inacurate preconceptions originated for the top 1%, disbursed by paid hacks, and believed by far too many people.

      Maybe, just maybe, the tide is beginning to turn toward away from teabag madness, back to sanity.  

      1. Kathleen Conti really truly had no idea and could not believe that taxes are lower rather than higher than in the golden good old days era in which the “we’re being taxed to death”  crowd firmly believes.  She also simply could not accept it when I told her how much higher taxes were on the top bracket under Reagan.  It didn’t compute. Granted she’s not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer but the fact is, there’s no excuse for this meme to ever have been allowed oxygen by Dems.

         

  2. Total tax rates have increased when a person includes all taxes and fees, including but not limited to, the inflation tax created by The Federal Reserve monetary policy.

    Drop total tax rates to about 5% and then you will recognize true prosperity, rather than this ball and chain socialism we call naively call freedom.

    Thomas Jefferson wrote about how his preference would be 1 tax, rather than multiple tax streams because he understood the devasting, tax multiplication effect, of multiple taxations.

      1. the deflationary tax, and that one’s even worse!

        If you call every economic effect of anything you don’t like a “tax,” you can say taxes are higher than ever and get everyone to agree it’s awful. I’m really upset about the “commuting” tax I pay every day with the time I spend driving to and from work. It makes me mad at the government!

        1. has been the far lower amount in taxes we pay because of our far lower income. Under Clinton we paid much more in taxes than we do now mainly because we made so much more.  It was those years that allowed us to send our kid to college and to put something away.  So is paying less in taxes because we can barely cover our needs, insurance and mortgage a terrific tax cut?  I don’t think so.  I just wished we’d known how badly things were going to go downhill back then because it’s too late for people our age to ever catch up now and we’ve already had to dip into what was supposed to be retirement money.  But hey, it’s all good if you’re paying lower taxes, right? Gee Mark,  just think how your low taxes will be if you get fired or your business goes under and you lose everything!  Some logic you’ve got there.

  3. For the services I receive and expect to receive in my old age, I am not taxed enough.  Please raise my taxes.  My family makes over $200,000 per year.  We can afford a few more taxes.  Our kids won’t be able to afford the inflation.  Please tax me more.

      1. Look, no one is thrilled to pay taxes. And we would all prefer that it’s everyone else that is taxed. We would also prefer that we could have an ice cream sundae every night and not gain weight.

        The key question is at what level of taxes/services are the services worth the taxes. That is the question that really matters. And on that question people do want the services they receive.

        1. Dude, that’s really insensitive to the lactose intolerant.

          Aside from that, everything you say makes perfect sense except to the Galtian nutcases who believe all taxation amounts to confiscation at gunpoint. And there are more of those out there than you probably realize.

            1. “Galtian Nirvana” would not necessarily be free of taxes. Enlightened self interest dictates that people will pay into a system from which they derive mutual benefit. But it should be kept as limited as possible to serve society, and it should not be have more rights than individuals.

              1. means thinking of the good of all, not the good of one. I know that Rand’s newspeak term confuses you, but being selfish doesn’t benefit society.

                1. Once the term “adequately fund” can be properly defined.  If for additional funding a guaranteed return on investment can be generated, then of course the funding should be increased.

                  Unfortunately what we have seen to date with increased funding is just more of the same.  In that case it would just be an exercise of continuing to throw good money after bad.

                  1. We have the best higher ed system in the world. We would clearly be better off if we had more college grads. How about we provide free tuition for instate students a state schools and expand them to meet the demand?

                    1. However, there is one caveat.  We would need to get rid of some of the useless degree programs out there and focus on educational options that will actually help the students get jobs in the real world.

                      Crap like Ward Churchill’s courses is what I am getting at.  As far as history and english majors, well the world always will need used car salesmen.

                    2. I don’t really think college is the best opportunity for all students.  I am sorry to say it, but some kids are not meant to be P.h.D’s (probably screwed up the abbreviation there) and forcing them down that path wouldn’t best serve them, or society in general.

                      I would be more in favor of assessing the student’s education option earlier and providing them with the best opportunity at success.  I would expand your idea and include vocational and trade schools into the options.

                    3. I do think there is value in other majors – people get different perspectives from different roads Turku schools. Some of the best marketing people never took a business class.

                      And we definitely need more people in many areas. Our biggest problem is not being able to find qualified people to hire. There’s even a giant shortage of C.S. Students for internships.

                    4. people get different perspectives from different roads Turku school

                      Not quite sure what that means.  I agree that some different educational disciplines are valuable, however it appears to me, from the outside, that universities have been establishing degree programs that provide little to no value beyond a university setting.

                    5. Learning history tells me that’s dumb of you to think and I hope it’s not catching.

                    6. Do you do with a degree in History or English?  Besides teach, that is.

                      And What I am really talking about is eliminating garbage like Ethnic Studies, etc.

                    7. Careers don’t start and stop at a McDonald’s. You seriously can’t think of a single person with either of those degrees doing anything but teaching? Start asking around. The rate may surprise you!

                      What you are really talking about, apparently, is ending all traditional high education and using a dedicated trade school model. Odd, gutsy, and stupid. The least you could do is own it.

                      Who needs to move forward when there’s so much backward?! – This could be your new slogan.

                    8. As to history majors, I’ve found history majors who really liked the subject and worked hard at it tend to do really well in business.

      2. Polls show most of your fellow Americans, maybe not your neighbors if you live in an affluent Republican neighborhood, very much do want you to pay more taxes if you are in the top 1% and presently paying a lower tax rate than anyone in your bracket has paid, prior to Bush tax cuts, since 1931.

        Those barely making ends meet due to  failed GOP policies from invading Iraq to voodoo economics would probably not mind Clinton era tax rates if they were making Clinton era incomes since they’d be wildly better off that way.

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