Thursday, December 19, 2013
New York Times: Who Pays the Taxes and Gets the Benefits, by Bruce Bartlett:
In the last two weeks, the Internal Revenue Service, Congressional Budget Office and Census Bureau have released new data illuminating the distribution of federal taxes and spending. They show that the tax and transfer system is a powerful force for the equalization of incomes. ...
The CBO data include all federal taxes paid through 2010. They tell the same story: Effective tax rates on the rich have fallen despite inclusion of the corporate income tax, which the agency estimates is largely paid by those with high incomes – 80 percent is paid by those in the top 20 percent of households.
The CBO report also has data on the receipt of government transfers. They show that the tax and transfer system has a powerful redistributive effect, raising the share of post-tax and transfer income for those at the bottom and reducing it for those at the top. ... New data from the Census Bureau show that a rising share of Americans benefit from government transfer programs. Between the fourth quarter of 2008 and the fourth quarter of 2011, the percentage of Americans participating in transfer programs rose to 49.2 percent from 45.3 percent. Key drivers were a 40 percent increase in the number of people receiving food stamps in what is now called the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP, and a 14 percent increase in those receiving Medicaid, a health program for the poor.