Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Revenues, Taxes, and Government Growth

This chart contrasts total federal revenues with the portion that comes from individual income tax receipts. Here we see that the biggest source or rising tax revenues has been income taxes, since they have risen at a much faster rate. One reason for the sluggish growth in total revenues, of course, is the cut in social security withholding rates that has been in place for the past year and is quite likely to be continued. The chart also highlights the fact that since the Bush tax cuts were first instituted in mid-2003, income tax receipts are now substantially higher—36% higher (almost $300 billion on an annual basis)—than they were when tax rates were higher. Once again, we see here concrete evidence that Art Laffer's vision (and his famous curve) was anything but crazy: lower tax rates can promote stronger growth, and thus result in higher tax revenues. If it weren't for the 20080-9 recession, which had everything to do with a collapse of the housing bubble and a 6 million decline in the number of private sector jobs, and almost nothing to do with low tax rates, both the economy and tax revenues would now be considerably higher.

lots of graphs and more analysis

My thoughts: Looking at the chart it should be obvious that the recession lowered tax revenues, not "the Bush tax cut".

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