A Chart is Worth a Thousand Words

Here is a graph showing how progressive our tax system is. It’s from the brilliant Catherine Mulbrandon and her website, Visualizing Economics (link).  The data is from the CBO and is slightly dated.  More recent data is avilable here, here and here.


2 thoughts on “A Chart is Worth a Thousand Words

  1. Robert, great post. Just wondering whether that study, to your knowledge, include capital gains and its associated taxes. I would feel that the structure becomes much more regressive if you include that into the mix.

  2. The CBO calculations do not include capital gains. Since, by their nature, capital gains taxes aren’t collected annually, they would distort the data. Roughly 47% of people pay no federal income taxes, a number that has gone up because of the Bush tax cuts. The federal system is much less regressive than is commonly assumed. However, state taxes can be pretty regressive and local taxes — like sales taxes — tend to be very regressive.

    Thanks for reading.

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