How Tax-Rate Changes Would Affect You
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: