Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Does America Tax the Poor Too Much?

Relative to other rich countries, the answer is no.

Not surprisingly, America taxes both the rich and poor less than other countries.*


The green panel on the left shows that America takes less from someone making $25K than any other G-8 country except Japan, and the difference there is $50 per year.

The panel on the right shows that America does not tax the rich as much as other countries.

You can also get some interesting information about progressivity from the two charts. A rough measure of that is the difference in the (average) tax rate shown on the two charts. A bigger difference shows a more progressive tax system:

  • U.K.: 22.3%
  • Italy: 21.1%
  • America: 20.7%
  • Canada: 20.1%
  • Japan: 18.8%
  • Germany: 16.6%
  • France: 16.2%
  • Russia: 0%

Not surprisingly, England tops the list: that’s why all their rock, movie, and sports stars live in other countries.

The original source data is here, and here’s the table of all 19 countries surveyed:

* This chart shows strictly income taxes. In Europe, the wide use of VATs changes the picture, while the wide use of sales taxes in the U.S. will do the same. Also, international comparisons like this are always fraught with problems because of the relatively larger burden placed by states in America, which if often not included in international comparisons.

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