Taxes Are Down For the Rich Yet Again

David Leonhardt presents us with a chart today based on data from a new book by Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman. It shows the effective total tax rate for all income levels in the United States. This includes all state, federal, and local taxes:

The effect of the latest Republican tax cut shows up in the 2018 line: the very richest Americans now pay a total effective tax rate of 23 percent. The poor and the middle classes, by contrast, pay about 25 percent. As you can see, the tax rate for the rich has been dropping steadily for half a century.

The federal income tax code, of course, remains progressive. But it’s no longer progressive enough to make up for payroll taxes and local sales taxes, which have always been regressive. As a result, conservatives have finally reached their dream of a flat tax by stealth. It makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, doesn’t it?

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And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

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