Most Regressive Taxes? My Home State :-(
I’m finally getting around to following up on a graph I posted sort of in passing a while back, a graph that to my eyes makes a profound statement about our country and our economic system.
It shows total taxes paid–local, state, and federal combined.
People making $55-90K (fourth quintile, approx.) pay the same share relative to their share of income as those making hundreds of millions. Above $55K, U.S. taxes really aren’t progressive. Like, at all.
So-called conservatives love to crow about how progressive federal income taxes are. But of course (as is their wont), they ignore the inconvenient truths about payroll taxes, and state and local taxes–which in general are horribly regressive. And I’m depressed to say that my home state is right at the top of the list:
Middle-class taxes in my state are three and a half times what they are for rich people. Poor people’s taxes are five and a half times what they are for rich people. This is unfair, of course, but truly even more important, over the long term it makes everyone worse off–including the rich people.
I know, I know: “Look how well Washington is doing. It’s thriving!”
Uh…look at the rest of the states on the list. Tennessee? Michigan? Alabama? I don’t think we need a scatterplot or trend line to draw a judgment on that idea.