Taxes

How Tax-Rate Changes Would Affect You

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This tax calculator will give you a rough idea of your federal tax bill — and where your tax money went — from 1940 through 2010. Caveats: The calculator is for a taxpayer who files individually, uses the standard deduction instead of itemizing, and has one exemption. The calculator also figures your Social Security and Medicare taxes.

Click on the image above or go here to futz around with this great USA Today tax calculator to get a sense of just where your taxes would have gone over the years, your effective tax rate, etc.—all in inflation-adjusted figures. I plugged in $49,777, which was the median household income for 2009.

Related: The Tax Policy Center has a site set up where you can figure out how changing from the Bush tax rates currently in place and due to expire at year's end could affect you.

Possibly related: In response to my weekend back-and-forth with The New Republic's Jon Chait about taxes, spending, and deficits under George Bush, Rand Simberg noted an elementary mistake in my analysis. In one of my comments, I noted that "federal revenue increased nicely under Bush, despite the tax cuts." Which as Simberg points out, means that Bush actually raised taxes. He writes:

How can federal revenue increase when we cut taxes? The answer is that we didn't cut taxes. We increased taxes. What we cut was the tax rate. This misleading phraseology makes me crazy and if we could get it right, we'd have a strong rhetorical upper hand, but both conservatives and libertarians almost always feed the left with it.

Emphasis mine. Read his whole bit here.

For the record, here are the year-over-year figures for federal revenues from fiscal years 2002-2009 (the years Bush fully controlled the purse), in constant FY2005 dollars. What the figures indicate is that revenues were stepping up throughout the decade until the recession started digging into receipts in FY2008. In billions:

$2,028.6

$1,901.1

$1,949.5

$2,153.6

$2,324.1

$2,414.0

$2,288.5

$1,906.7

Source, which includes Bush's unreal spending hikes in real dollars too, is here.

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  1. I fit the criteria and I paid half the taxes it calculated.

    1. You’ll be receiving a notice in a couple days. Thanks for the information.

  2. By the way, one of Chait’s comments was:
    “Gillespie oddly fails to include those years, instead leaning on the strange implication that the Bush tax cuts began in 2002.”
    While the first round of rate cuts did begin in 2001, the 2001 Act phased in the income tax rate changes. The 2003 accelerated that phase-in so they were fully effective in tax year 2003. So while the rates were lower in 2003 than in 2002, revenue was higher.

  3. I plugged in $75,000 (my income last year) and the calculator spit out a tax bill of $18,350, yet I paid $23,000. Of course, I’m a (very) small-business owner so I guess I have to get punished for exploiting a few of workers with wage slavery.

    1. “The calculator is for a taxpayer who files individually, uses the standard deduction instead of itemizing, and has one exemption.”

      Just sayin.

  4. According to that, my effective tax rate has been pretty flat. Highest it ever was at 29% in 1981.

  5. For the record, here are the year-over-year figures for federal revenues from fiscal years 2002-2009 (the years Bush fully controlled the purse), in constant FY2005 dollars.

    Doesn’t Congress (specifically the House) control the purse or have we silently switched to some type of one person rule?

    1. Depends who the one person is. Surely you know that.

  6. Rand Simberg noted an elementary mistake in my analysis. In one of my comments, I noted that “federal revenue increased nicely under Bush, despite the tax cuts.” Which as Simberg points out, means that Bush actually raised taxes.

    No, it doesn’t. You were right the first time.

    Back to my Walmart analogy…if they put their notebooks on sale during August for the back to school season, and actually bring in more revenue due to increased volume, that doesn’t mean they raised their prices.

    Gorram semanticist idiots driving me berserk these days.

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