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Does Federal Government Get Too Many Tax Dollars?

Last week we growled about what Americans think of taxes, and yesterday we growled about federal spending. Today, let’s look at the revenue side of the federal budget by looking at taxes, again beginning with charts from the Heritage Foundation’s Budget Chart Book.

Even a cursory look at the chart below, which shows that the federal budget problem is not that the government gets too little tax dollars, but rather that it spends too much, or at least that federal politicians fail to set priorities. In inflation-adjusted dollars, the federal government collected $11,202 in taxes per household in 1965. By 1992, that amount increased to $16,357, and grew again to $23,947 by 2000. During the current decade, taxes have been on a roller-coaster ride, and are currently $16,543 per household.


For background information on the FY 2011 federal budget, take a few minutes to read Web Memo 2790, February 3, 2010 by Heritage Foundation senior analyst Curtis Dubay. He writes the budget has “tax hikes for everybody,” which he breaks down into six categories:

  1. Higher taxes on businesses
  2. Higher taxes on upper-income earners
  3. Death tax increase
  4. Higher energy taxes
  5. Health care taxes
  6. Other taxes

Dubay points out that President Obama said his number one goal for 2010 was job creation, but that all of the tax increases contradict that objective. As Dubay writes:

“Higher taxes on businesses, upper-income taxpayers, and fossil fuels; an increased death tax; and new taxes to pay for health care would destroy jobs and slow economic recovery. Congress should reject these higher taxes and the rest of its business-killing agenda to speed economic growth and encourage job creation.”

Nothing to disagree with there!


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