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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Be thankful I don't take it all

Here's one for you fellow tax nerds out there: The IRS has compiled old income tax forms going all the way back to 1864. Just head over here and start clicking for some nostalgic tax fun.

I know what you're going to say -- "Look at how much simpler the forms were, back in the day." Yeah, but the simplicity often came at a cost. Check out the tax rate tables from 1959, for example:

And you wondered why Reagan hated taxes? Look at the rates he paid in his movie star years!

Comments (11)

No way people paid that much in taxes; 25-33% of their income to the fedgov?? People would be starving to death. We're paying the most today resulting in the highest percent to GDP of government taxes.

Wonton squandering of lives, unparallelled opulence on the backs of the indigent.

"We're paying the most today resulting in the highest percent to GDP of government taxes."

Another one of those meaningless statistics which only make sense with an explanation. So did you know that in 2006 taxes as a percent of GDP were the lowest they had been in 60 years. So what has happened between 2006 and now.

Well the answer boys and girls is a panic, no, a depression, err no a "great recession". Thus tax revenues have gone down but GDP has fallen faster. So what happens if GDP goes up but tax rates remain the same? Well in a few years taxes as a percent of GDP may be at record lows.

Want another statistic? Just over 20% of American males of working age are out of work. Not under-employed. Not employed part time. Out of work entirely.

Pistolero, please provide a source for your assertiot about current federal taxes as % of GDP being the highest.. My source says we are among the lowest by that measure.

Here is a link showing total federal, state and local taxes (not spending) as a percent of GDP since 1902. http://www.usgovernmentrevenue.com/revenue_brief.php

Currently north of 30%.

Pistolero -

Heck yes people paid those percentages, under a Republican administration and had been for years.

back then, they actuall paid off lage parts of WWII and Korean war debt.

We might try the same vis a vis the Iraq and Afghan wars, maybe.

Nope, not gonna' happen.

We, the Baby Boiomer kids of the Depression and WW II generation, have no where near the integrity our parents did.

We have to have our immediate pleasures and toys, and we couldn't buy those if we actually paid taxes.

But the 21st century government does so much more for the money! What a great value! I couldn't find more efficient ways to spend that money if it was left in my pocket to begin with!

Alright, I got embarrassed for not verifying my numbers last time so I went to look up taxes in industrialized countries according to the Heritage Foundation. You can find the raw data buried in this report. http://www.heritage.org/index/ranking

According to the Heritage Foundation the US (Federal, State, & Local) ranks as having the 32nd lowest taxes out of 39 industrialized countries. In other words compared to everywhere else 31 countries had higher taxes and 7 countries had lower taxes. The seven with lower taxes than the US were, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

These tax rates reflect an ethos of shared sacrifice -- the notion that "we're all in this together" fostered by World War II -- and at least some instictive understanding that vast extremes of wealth and poverty are not good for anyone, not even the rich.

I don't want to glamorize that period too much (it wasn't particularly good for women who aspired to be more than housewives, nurses or menial office workers, and of course there were glaring racial inequalities then as now), but it did have some positive aspects that we should try to recover. Returning the income tax to at least the JFK-to-Carter levels (a 70% top marginal rate as opposed to Ike's 91%) would be a damn good start, both toward a more equitable society and economic stability.

Income tax rate have been used like merchandising with the tax rate used like the "list price" on an item before "discounts" (tax deductions) are figured in.

This "discounts" determine who pays how much meaning that what you pay in taxes is determined by how many "discounts" you can buy through your local politician.

Someone tell me what's wrong with everybody paying the same tax rate?

Thank you fellow commentators that took 5 seconds to search google to verify a widely known fact; well known by those who actually produce something of value which is then taxed. Liberal trough feeders have little conception as their only goal being devouring more productive capital for their pleasure, similar to the soviet union. Suckle away...


Regarding other countries with higher taxes, feel free to compare their growth rates, unemployment rates, and contribution to research and development of technology and health care.

I know we Americans are obsessed with the charade of idealism, but really, grow up.

Semi-Cynic :

"Higher" tax rates in the past yet gov spending at a smaller rate of GDP? Hmm...wonder how that works..

The truth is, no one paid those fantastic rates, but we are effectively taxed at a much higher rate than ever before. Think about that next time they want even more.

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