Tuesday, April 16, 2013

This is neat (historical tax rates)

So by now you've heard me talk about tax rates a fair amount.  This is a tool for comparing current rates to historical ones.

Things worth remembering:
  • Effective tax rates are not marginal ones.  As far as tax rates are concerned (tax credits, tax loopholes, different rates for income from work vs income from capital gains,and so forth make things more complicated) you never keep less as a result of paying more.  The reason is that the higher rate only applies to money earned over the threshold leaving you still paying the same taxes on money below it.  That's how marginal tax rates work.  Effective tax rates are determined by figuring out what you pay in taxes, or in this case income taxes, in total and then dividing that by your total income.
  • For 70 percent of the taxed population payroll taxes are larger than income taxes so for a lot of people payroll taxes matter more.  It's the top 30% where income tax is of primary concern.
  • You've got to be bringing in 47 million a year to hit the top level listed.
  • If you make 50 thousand a year your tax rate has barely changed since 1942.  The massive drop in tax rates was for people richer than you.  In fact it's really the gap between $100,000 and $200,000 a year where we start to see major change for tax rates now and since then.
  • See that giant drop in tax rates for the rich during the Reagan and George H. W. Bush years?  That's when the debt as a percentage of GDP stopped going down and exploded.  See where it went back up again during the Clinton years?  That's when we ran a surplus.
  • Remember how the right always wants to have things back the way things were in the good old days? Look at the post war good old days.  The span between the end of World War II and the beginning of the culture wars in the 60s.  That's as high as peacetime taxes ever were.  Not a lot higher if you make a $100,000 or less a year, but if you're raking in the money you'll had to pay a good deal more than the alleged good old days.

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