Your taxes are (probably) lower than they were in the ’80s

November 30, 2012

As Republicans spar with the White House over tax increases, the New York Times did a deep dive into tax history and basically tells most Americans to stop complaining

But in fact, most Americans in 2010 paid far less in total taxes — federal, state and local — than they would have paid 30 years ago. According to an analysis by The New York Times, the combination of all income taxes, sales taxes and property taxes took a smaller share of their income than it took from households with the same inflation-adjusted income in 1980.

Households making $200,000 or more a year benefited the most from tax cuts; middle-class earners benefited too. Lower-income households fared worst, saving little or nothing over the past few decades. As federal taxes have gone down, state and local taxes — which hit lower-income Americans harder — generally increased. 

Supporters of lower taxes argue that the decline is simply a good trend that should not be reversed now.  The paper found one person who actually wanted his taxes to go up — Representative-elect Bill Enyart, an Illinois Democrat.

Rachel Weiner covers cops and courts in Arlington and Alexandria.
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Rachel Weiner | November 30, 2012