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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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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