Raw Data: Federal Taxes and Spending Over the Past 60 Years

There’s no special reason for posting this except that taxes and tax cuts are in the news:

For more than 60 years, total federal taxes have averaged about 17 percent of GDP.¹ Tax receipts go up and down slightly, mostly because of tax legislation and economic cycles, but always return pretty quickly to their long-term average. Spending has averaged about 20 percent of GDP ever since the Reagan era. It also goes up and down a bit thanks to recessions and expansions, but always returns to around 20 percent.

Bottom line: Taxes have not skyrocketed. Spending has not skyrocketed. Corporations are not burdened with the highest tax rate on the planet.

¹Of that total, personal income taxes have been a steady 8 percent of GDP. Corporate taxes have declined from 5 percent of GDP to 2 percent.

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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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