21 February 2007

Real Tax Burden

I've just come across an article where two researchers calculated the tax burden for many different brackets of Americans. This isn't just the federal income tax, which currently ranges from 10% to 35%, but *all* taxes, including state income tax, sales tax, payroll tax, benefits tax, property tax, and more.

The conclusion: just about all Americans pay about 40% of their income in various taxes, regardless of income bracket. In other words, flat taxation is here.

Honestly, I am not surprised by the findings, given that the sales tax, which takes a bigger bite out of the poor and the middle class, keeps creeping up - in fact, it's the only tax that the Republicans like. The rich may have a higher income tax bracket, but they also have more ways to legitimately cut their taxes through deductions.

Modern economics works on a progressive taxation system, with the assumption that the rich need more public services (i.e. infrastructure) in order to function and make their money, hence justifying the higher tax rate. Not to mention that even after paying a higher tax rate, the rich still have more wealth to use as they please. But the right-wing stranglehold on the media and the information flow has turned the flat tax, once a far-right lunatic fringe idea, into a mainstream concept - and reality.

The article finally urges the readers to check if their politicians, regardless of party affiliation, have any clue regarding the real tax burden, and vote out clueless politicians.

MSN Money