Rasmussen asked people to tell them how much will be taken out of a $60,000 a year salary for payroll and income taxes. Here’s what Rasmussen found:
Overall, even if the worker only paid 17% in combined state and federal income taxes, their total payments would top the $15,000 mark.
Nine percent (9%) think the total tax bill would be less than $5,000 annually. That barely covers the cost of the payroll taxes. Twenty-seven percent (27%) think the total would be between $5,000 and $10,000, while 17% estimate a tax burden between $10,000 and $15,000.
Only 11% answered that the bill would be over $15,000. This lack of understanding illustrates why I believe every taxpayer should be forced to write quarterly checks to the United States Treasury and to the state Department of Revenue (in the case of North Carolina). This procedure is the requirement for self-employed taxpayers who must pay quarterly estimated taxes. And if one portion of the citizenry can follow this payment plan, then the rest should be able to do the same. The benefit? Only when you write the checks and deduct them from your checking account do you have an understanding of how much you are paying and, thus, a real-world interest in making sure your hard-earned dollars are being used efficiently and only on core services that are appropriate for government involvement.
Since politicians and policymakers are discussing federal and state tax reform, I encourage you to peruse JLF’s Agenda 2012, which details recommendations for reform.