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I get a bit frustrated over comparing apples and oranges on tax rates and deficits and what it all means. Best clear data on rates that I found in a quick search is from the GPO

Table 14 at this link:

shows that the tax rate as a percentage of GDP has varied over the post WWII era from 16.7% in 1948 to 16.2% in 2010 -- low I can see was at 14.4% in 1949 but that seems to have been an analogy and otherwise 16.X% seems to have been the average low. During the:
- 1980s it was 18-19%
- 1990s it was 18-20% (ending at a high of 20.8% of GDP in 2000
- 2000s it continued to drop from the 20.8% high to 16.2% in 2010

Thus, it would seem that total federal taxation in recent years has been a couple percentage points below its post WWII average.

One thing I find interesting is the co-existance of very high tax rates as a percentage of GDP in the late 1990s at the same time as excellent economic growth and declining budgets deficits to eventual surplus.

Of course there may be lag effects which you don't see in this data, but overall it makes me wonder. I have no desire to pay more taxes than necessary, but I must admit that numbers like like these make me wonder if the debate over tax rates is missing something.

I welcome anyone who can educate me on what I may be missing


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