CTJ Study on Progressivity Says CBPP Criticism of Tax Freedom Day is Wrong

April 15, 2009

Today, the group Citizens for Tax Justice, which supports greater progressivity in the tax system, came out with a study that concluded that the U.S. tax system (at all levels) isn’t that progressive. Here’s what the study concludes:

The total federal, state and local effective tax rate for the richest one percent of Americans (30.9 percent) is only slightly higher than the average effective tax rate for the remaining 99 percent of Americans (29.4 percent).

From the middle-income ranges upward, total effective tax rates are virtually flat across income groups.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has for a long time criticized Tax Freedom Day, arguing that an average effective tax rate for the nation as a whole is misleading due to the progressivity in the U.S. tax system. But according to this CTJ study, the CBPP’s criticism is really much ado about nothing because the tax system isn’t that progressive. One could even conclude from the CTJ study that Tax Freedom Day does indeed represent the typical American family’s tax burden, which is the exact opposite claim that CBPP makes every year.

We await CBPP’s criticism of this CTJ study, or a retraction of its criticism of Tax Freedom Day.


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