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.