Total Marginal Tax Rates In The US

Once in a while I intend to post either the answer to a question that comes up in conversation, or — if I can't find it anywhere — a plea for someone to tell me where to find an authoritative source. So when I say 'FAQ' I don't mean about this site. The first of this very occasional series has to do with tax rates. Total tax rates — federal plus state. Now, obviously this is very much an average since local taxes vary a lot. But it's still much more informative, I think, than just looking at the (seemingly more progressive) federal income tax alone. Throw in all taxes, and the picture looks quite different, practically flat.

Click to see Average marginal total federal and state tax rates.

Source: NY Times, Jan 20, 2003

And note that this data pre-dates the latest round of Bush tax cuts for rich folk.

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3 Responses to Total Marginal Tax Rates In The US

  1. Dear Michael:
    Interesting chart. I wonder why they didn’t include the employer share of social security taxes, since for the self-employed it’s a direct tax on their income. I certainly couldn’t agree that only those in the highest quintile pay it, but since the chart is based on a pile of estimates, I would think they could have made another estimate for that element of the total tax picture.


  2. John says:

    What a pile of crap. I have been in the top 20% for some time, and have never ever had a tax burden anywhere near that number!!! And I live in TX where there is NO State Income Tax. My Tax burden under the progressive Federal Income Tax Rates as of 2003 was 26% Not including Social Security, sales tax on the wine and beer I drink, Property Taxes or the Indirect Rate increase I face from the reduction of itemized deductions by 3% or the phase out of my personal exemption, the phase out of my deductions on interest from student loans (which is 0%) or the tax I pay on Gas.

    The more variables and ranges you deal with, the more favorable you can paint the picture to support the point you are trying to make, The Post clearly paints a very Pro-Taxation and Bureacracy picture with this chart, clearly because they want to continue to give the tax-money of hard-working americans to the NEA so Robert Maplethorpe protege’s can continue the degradation of American Values on Uncle Sam’s dime. Not that I am 100% behind the conservative veiwpoint either – they certainly tend to feed their own pork barrels, but clearly we need to migrate toward a system that focuses more on consumption and local retention of tax dollars to avoid these problems. That way I can make a million, give my local Church $950K and not be taxed at nearly 30% as would happen today given the phase-out deduction program and the lopsided burden on the rich. Whereas my gredy counterpart who makes a million and spends it all on expensive gifts, vacations and club dues is taxed accordingly. Combine this with the forced localization of $$ instead of everybody putting in, then taking right back out to satisfy local needs. This necessarily involves a huge adminstrative cost burden that can easily be avoided. But I see I am just rambling, it sucks to spend 20 years in School, come out with $70K in debt, work 14 hours a day only to have my secretary who never cared about grades – never tried to succeed in school and basically fucked off her whole life having fun and being lazy, now complain because she doesn’t think that it is fair that I make 3 times what she does – even though I do stay at the office every single day after she leaves at 5 on the dot, and am in the office every morning before her. She says she has to go home and take care of her kids because her husband doesn’t get off until 6. Well Fuck me, my wife doesn’t leaver her office until 6 or 6:30, and I would also like to see my kids.

    Well go ahead and say it, we came from different stations in life and she didn’t have the same opportunities as me, so there is an inherent unfairness and we should try to remedy that through a costly federal program. Bullshit, her Father was a veterinarian, my father was a teacher. Her family had much more than mine growing up. My dad told me that I had to get good grades and get a scholarship if I wanted to go to college, so that is what I did – I received a full scholarship, then borrowed the rest. Same with my graduate degree, although the scholarship wasn’t a full one so I had to borrow more.

    I don’t want to make it seem like my choices are the best, certainly there is a right path for everyone – I just like the things a large salary can buy, and I am somewhat materialistic. But I can certainly see the attraction of being a 9-5 person and spending more time with my family. Just don’t point your finger at me and say that I am not giving enough when it is clear I am giving a hell of a lot more than you. And don’t point your finger at me and say that it isn’t fair that I make 3-4 times what you make, because I busted my ass for alot of years to get here, nobody handed me a dime… ever.

    Now there are alot of things I think both sides of our Congress do stupidly, and I can’t claim the people who receive my votes are perfect, but there are some main viewpoints that the republicans center around that I think are undisputable if you look at it from a Logical rather than Emotional view – one is Taxes, the other is education. I was actually a big fan of Clinton’s focus on education and hope that Bush can continue pushing dollars to the local level – but taxes will always have me voting on the conservative side of the house.

  3. Jefferson says:

    Sin taxes, which are all the rage now, are a big part of regressive taxation. That’s why they are included in this chart. People should think twice before supporting big tax increases on tobacco and alcohol. Not only is it irritating for the government to treat us like we’re little kids and they are our nanny, it’s terribly regressive. Trump doesn’t care about a few extra bucks for his cigar. To the average pack-a-day smoker / beer drinker, these taxes can tank his disposable income.

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