There is a vigorous debate among the presidential candidates over how we should tax Americans at different income levels. Some candidates argue that wealthy families should pay more, while most candidates contend that the middle class is overtaxed. Still, others argue that everyone should get a tax cut.
What few of these candidates acknowledge is how progressive the current tax code really is. Recent data produced by Treasury’s Office of Tax Analysis shows that not only is the income tax very progressive, but so too is the overall tax system when we include payroll taxes, corporate income taxes, and various excise taxes.
Treasury’s data for 2015 [found here] allows us to look at two simple ways of measuring the progressivity of the tax code: the share of the total tax burden borne by families at each level of income; and, the average tax rates paid by families at each level of income.
The Treasury data is comprehensive, in that it includes all roughly 167 million families (rather than just the 145 million income tax filers) and it uses a broader “cash” measure of income that includes government transfers in addition to wages, salaries, and investment income. Treasury divides the population into deciles, or ten equal groups of 16.7 million families.
Read the full article by Scott A. Hodge at: TaxFoundation.Org