Americans Forked Over Record Taxes in January

And still the government is awash in red ink


Americans paid out a record amount of taxes in January, eclipsing the early 2008 peak, as payroll-tax relief expired and tax rates rose on higher earners.

Personal and social insurance taxes totaled just over $2.6 trillion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, Commerce Department data out Friday showed. Receipts jumped by $113 billion from December's total, which had been inflated by year-end bonuses and dividends awarded before the tax hikes.

January's tax take is more than $500 billion above the mid-2009 level. Rising revenues have helped trim budget deficits, but they remain high because spending has outpaced the economy over the past five years.