Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Getting What We Pay For | Commonweal Magazine

2007 Minneapolis Interstate Highway Bridge collapse
Getting What We Pay For | Commonweal Magazine
by Charles Morris

Donald Trump, on a recent morning talk show, was asked to describe his tax plan. He opened with the statement that “this country has the highest tax rate in the world. Everybody knows that.” While it is true that nearly everyone thinks that—or at least nearly all of a group of businessmen I recently put the question to—it isn’t close to being true. The Organization for Economic Development (OECD) is an international think tank that publishes an annual tax league table for the forty-two countries deemed to have the world’s most advanced economies. The data include all taxes actually paid to all levels of government. Your local school tax is in there, as are payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare, and the taxes (if any) paid by the largest companies.

The final version of the 2013 data was just released, and it shows that the United States ranks thirty-ninth in the total tax bite imposed on its citizens. So far from having the highest effective tax rate, the United States has the fourth lowest. The U.S. total tax rate was 25.4 percent of GDP in 2013, which is up from 23.6 percent in 2011, against a median OECD tax rate of 34.1 percent. ...

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