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Income Taxes

Income Taxes

Kerby Anderson

April 15, 2008



            Today is income tax day. If you haven't filed your income tax forms you better get busy or file an extension. For those of you who have filed your income taxes, why don't you take a moment to look at how much you paid in taxes? Can you believe how much you paid?


            Most people are not aware of how much they pay in taxes because their taxes are withheld automatically. When they get a tax refund, they get excited even though that really means they paid too much. And most of us do not know how our current tax rate compares to previous years.


            Fortunately the Heritage Foundation has done some calculations. The results are surprising. They found that in 1965 the tax bill per household (in inflation-adjusted 2007 dollars) was slightly over $10,000. By the 1990s, it was almost $16,000. Today the tax bill per household is just over $22,000. Put another way the tax bill per household (when adjusted for inflation) has doubled in the last forty years.


            This is a fact that you should not only consider on income tax day. You should remember it the next time a politician wants to raise your taxes. I knew taxes had increased but I had no idea they had increased that much since 1965. The Heritage Foundation collected these figures from the Congressional Budget Office, from the Census Bureau, and from government watchdog groups.


            They also found that the top one percent of earners pay a much greater share of the tax burden than before. And they also found that the bottom 20 percent pay much less of the tax burden. Again these are percentages worth checking the next time a politician talks about who shoulders the tax burden.


            During this campaign season all sorts of economic facts and figures are going to be thrown around about taxes and the tax burden on certain households. It's worth checking these comments against the Heritage Foundation figures. I'm Kerby Anderson, and that's my point of view.