Even though people keep complaining that taxes are too high, USA Today analyzed publically available information and concluded that total taxes — including income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes and all other taxes — are now lower than they have been since 1950. Currently, everyone, on average, pays 9.2% of their income in taxes of one kind or another. In fact, the total tax rate has fallen 26% in the last three years.
Why? They point out several reasons: Obama’s Stimulus Bill reduced income taxes for all but the very richest Americans, but Obama cannot claim all the credit. The severe recession also reduced taxes paid — if you don’t have a job, you probably aren’t paying much in income taxes. In addition, if you don’t have money, you aren’t buying expensive things, so you aren’t paying much in sales taxes.
But I think it is a mistake to claim that the low taxes are only a fluke caused by the recession. After all, total taxes paid are going down as a percentage of income, which means that taxes fell faster than people’s incomes fell. Some of this is due to our progressive income tax system, where the less money you earn, the smaller percentage of that income is paid in taxes. So as people’s incomes went down, they fell into lower tax brackets.
Regardless of the cause, if you are one of those people who think taxes have been going up and up, you’re just wrong.