U.S. Taxes At Lowest Level Since 1958

According to congressional Republicans and Tea Partiers, Americans are already overtaxed and contemplating any increase in government revenue, even from the richest Americans, would be unfair. “How high do taxes have to go to satisfy the appetite of people in this Congress to spend money?” asked Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) this week. However, the numbers show that the economic recession and a decade of tax cuts have resulted in some of the lowest taxes of the post-war period. According to a new USA Today analysis, personal taxes — including federal and local — are at their lowest level since 1958:

Americans are paying the smallest share of their income for taxes since 1958, a reflection of tax cuts and a weak economy, a USA TODAY analysis finds.

The total tax burden — for all federal, state and local taxes — dropped to 23.6% of income in the first quarter, according to Bureau of Economic Analysis data.

As McClatchy’s Kevin Hall wrote yesterday, “At a time when Washington is wrestling with how to end federal budget deficits and trim the national debt — huge questions that are expected to dominate the nation’s politics through the 2012 elections — the fact that Americans are under-taxed compared with U.S. historic norms is central to the discussion.” The USA Today analysis shows that if tax receipts today were at the level they were through the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, that would eliminate “one-third of the estimated $1.5 trillion federal deficit this year.”