Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Why the U.S. is Broke... Personal Current Tax Edition

Always lots of interesting information within the Personal Income and Outlays release. Here is one such area... personal current taxes, which:

Includes taxes paid by persons on income, including realized net capital gains, and on personal property.
For all we complain about taxes, our current rate as a percent of personal income is a measly 8.8% down a whopping 60% from 2000 levels.

In real per capita space, while our economy has grown 62% per capita since 1979, personal current taxes paid (again in real per capita terms) is only up 13%.

And we wonder why our country is so indebted?

Source: BEA


  1. however the percentage of income earners that pay no federal tax has risen i believe significantly, per capita may not tell the right story--break it down by income strata--total taxes taken in a percentage of revenues has not come down...not sure these numbers and the graph have the relevance you are seeking?

  2. the right hand side IS current taxes as a percent of current personal income (line 21 / line 1):

  3. Another reason is that we, as a country, subsidize business profits through tax dollars. Every time the government provides a tax break or incentive to business, it goes to that business' bottom line and straight to the public debt on the other side.

    Often times the rationale is that business creates jobs and thereby should contribute less eventhough they benefit from the same public services as all other taxpayers do.

    It's a question of investment. Government needs to get back to investing in the public good (roads, police, fire, schools) and ask business to contribute it's share as they benefit from these public activities and stop wasting the money on short term economic gain for the few who don't need it.

    When do we start actually practicing free market economics and ask businesses to grow based solely on their ability to innovate and compete rather than giving them public handouts all the time?

  4. per capita unemployment is pretty bad, so methinks you cannot declare this chart undistorted by reality.

  5. other words, those capita who are still employed are probably paying the same old rate they were paying a few years ago.

    Your chart just points out what unemployment has done to the tax take.