Research desk responds: Tax rates galore!
By Dylan Matthews
What has happened to tax rates on median income people since 1980?
Compared to everyone else?
Can you do federal, state, and local?
Luckily, the CBO has records (PDF) of effective federal tax rates, broken down by income quintile, going back to 1979:
Those figures include all federal taxes: individual income, payroll, corporate income, excise, etc. The numbers really gets interesting when you look at individual income and payroll taxes specifically. Here's individual income:
Interestingly, the Bush tax cuts created a big drop in all groups, while Reagan's affected everyone but the bottom quintile. The Clinton years saw a significant increase in the top quintile and drop in the bottom one. Now here are Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes:
As you can see, the top and bottom quintiles both started at the bottom and then broke apart with the top quintile paying lower rates and the bottom quintile higher ones, while the middle three have been converging. Payroll taxes have always been regressive, and it appears they're growing more so.
As for state and local numbers, the Tax Foundation has calculated average state and local tax burdens since 1977. Unfortunately, they do not provide income quintile breakdowns, but they do show that the average taxpayer's burden has hovered around 10 percent for that period:
June 17, 2010; 10:11 AM ET
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