The USA is a low-tax country

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge.  “This year” in the captions is 2011.

I don’t advocate taxes for the sake of raising taxes or reducing the incomes of rich people.  But I do think that taxes should be high enough to cover the normal cost of operating the government, and I don’t think Americans should rule out a modest tax increase as a contribution to balancing the budget.

These charts were created by the Center for American Progress two years ago, but the situation they depict hasn’t changed since then.

The tax reductions proposed by President George W. Bush had an expiration date.  That is unusual, and was done for a reason.  Some people in Congress worried about the impact of cutting taxes in the midst of war, and voted for the tax reduction as an experiment, so see how it worked out.

Well, we know the result of the experiment.  It was one of the two main reasons, along with the economic recession, that the government is so much in the red now.   Returning to Clinton-era taxes, eliminating unnecessary government programs and growing the economic are not mutually exclusive.  We should do all three.

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4 Responses to “The USA is a low-tax country”

  1. Atticus Says:

    My only issue with these charts is that it give statistics as a % of GDP. Our GDP is astronomically higher than any other country so you could effectively double the tax revenue and still have lower a lower rate as a % of GDP as compared to everyone else.

    % of GDP is a little misleading since a large portion of GDP is made up of a relatively small companies – and that wealth is shared by a relatively small number of people.

    So, while interesting, I’m not sure these charts paint the clearest picture.

    Honestly – as it stands – I don’t know who to trust. Do I really trust more cash with the Government. I don’t think so. At least if its in the private sector I feel like I can chase my fair share.

    With the Government only the political elite and well connected are choosing where my dollars go. Maybe its just misplaced paranoia.


  2. Atticus Says:

    I’m beating this to death, but I did a video on a similar subject a while back.


  3. philebersole Says:

    Well, yes, but if U.S. GDP is twice that of China, then every $1 billion in taxes collected in the United States would only burden the U.S. economy as much as $500 million in taxes in China.

    It seems to me that the fair way to measure the tax burden of an individual is as a percentage of that individual’s income, and the fair way to measure the tax burden of a nation is as a percentage of that nation’s GDP. If you don’t agree, what would you consider a fair measure?

    I agree that wealth and higher income are highly concentrated in the United States, but I’m not arguing for a head tax. I’m arguing for a few percentage points increase in the individual and corporate income taxes.

    Now, if there is a way to balance the federal budget and pay for the necessary and desirable expenses of government without raising taxes, I would be for it. Since I don’t see any such plan on the table, I think a modest increase in taxes would help, and would not be overly burdensome.


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