Tax Day Question: Who's Paying What?
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They also looked at excise taxes — taxes on gas, cigarettes, alcohol and other goodies. They found that the “average state’s consumption tax structure is equivalent to an income tax with a 7.1 percent rate for the poor, a 4.7 percent rate for the middle class, and a 0.9 percent rate for the wealthiest taxpayers.”
So the dirty secret is that we really have a flat tax. That’s the conclusion of a 2007 study by Boston University economists Laurence J. Kotlikoff and David Rapson, who found that when you add it all up — state and local taxes, federal taxes and excise fees – “The average marginal tax rate on incomes between $20,000 and $500,000 is 40.3%, the median tax rate is 41.8%, and the standard deviation of all of those rates is 5.3 percentage points. Basically, most of us pay about 40%, plus or minus 5.3 percentage points.”
Anyway, happy Tax Day. And remember that while your taxes are lower than in other advanced countries, they don't get you free or very low-cost health-care, deeply subsidized university tuition or 21st century infrastructure!
This piece was edited after publication.
Joshua Holland is an editor and senior writer at AlterNet. He is the author of The 15 Biggest Lies About the Economy (and Everything else the Right Doesn't Want You to Know About Taxes, Jobs and Corporate America) . Drop him an email or follow him on Twitter .