President Obama recently gave a lengthy speech on inequality, poverty, and what to do about it. He claimed inequality is increasing, which is debatable, and then offered a few populist ways to reduce it, such as raising...
- Who Pays Taxes and Who Receives Government Spending? An Analysis of...
Who Pays Taxes and Who Receives Government Spending? An Analysis of Federal, State and Local Tax and Spending Distributions, 1991-2004
Working Paper No. 1
While the U.S. tax system is progressive, the distribution of government spending makes the overall fiscal system more progressive than is apparent from tax distributions alone. Using a microdata model we estimate the distribution of federal, state and local taxes and spending between 1991 and 2004. We find households in the lowest quintile of income received roughly $8.21 in federal, state and local government spending for every dollar of taxes paid in 2004, while households in the middle quintile received $1.30, and households in the top quintile received $0.41. Overall, tax payments exceeded government spending received for the top two quintiles of income, resulting in a net fiscal transfer of between $1.031 trillion and $1.527 trillion between quintiles. Both taxes and spending appear to have large distributional effects on households, and these effects have grown since 1991. The results suggest tax distributions alone are an inadequate measure of progressivity, and policymakers should examine both tax and spending distributions when judging the overall fairness of policy toward income groups.
Lawmakers are currently looking to reform the United States’ corporate tax code, mainly focusing on the high corporate income tax rate. At a combined federal and state rate of 39.1 percent, it is the highest rate in the...
This study provides an in-depth discussion of the distribution of U.S. tax and spending policies across various subgroups of the population, mainly income groups, from 2000-2012. The study finds that in calendar year 2012, governments at all...
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