by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
With tax day looming, let’s wallow in misery by contemplating the burden on America’s taxpayers.
But we’ll ignore the angst caused be dealing with an indecipherable tax code and an oppressive IRS and simply focus on the amount of money that gets extracted from our income each year.
The bad news is that the federal government is collecting a record amount of money, even after adjusting for inflation. Here’s a chart, based on the latest numbers from the Office of Management and Budget.
But there is some good news. This isn’t a record tax burden when measured as a share of economic output.
Federal taxes are projected to consume 17.7 percent of GDP this year. That’s higher than the post-WWII average of 17.2 percent of GDP, but there have been several years in which the federal tax burden has been higher than 17.7 percent, most recently in 2007, when it reached 17.9 percent of economic output.
So while it’s bad news that the IRS is collecting a record amount of revenue in inflation-adjusted dollars, I guess we should consider ourselves lucky that it’s not a record share of GDP.