Think You Know a Lot about Federal Taxes?

Taxes MatterThe good folks at The American Prospect and Demos have been making a compelling case for tax reform with a series of blog posts over the past week. It is a must read for anyone who cares about improving tax fairness.

The following Top 10 Tax Facts — Part 5 of the series — is a nice quick read chock full of good information on the federal tax system. One minute of your time, and you'll be smarter for it.

1. The government has collected less in taxes as a proportion of the economy in the past three years than it has in any three-year period since World War II, and tax rates are at historic lows.

2. One out of three multi-millionaires pays a lower percentage of their income in taxes than the vast majority of people making $60,000 a year.

3. Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget proposal, which has been praised by Governor Romney, would deliver benefits to people with incomes over $1 million that are 10 times greater than the benefits to those earning $40,000 or less.

4. Corporate income taxes for the past three years have hovered at just over 1 percent of GDP, lower than for any three-year period since World War II. The average for OECD countries is 3.5 percent.

5. The Bush tax cuts added $1.7 trillion to the nation’s debt between 2001 and 2008, which is more than it would cost to send 25 million kids to four-year public universities.

6. America has a revenue problem, not a spending problem. It is only because of the Bush tax cuts that our national debt is rising. If not for those cuts, our debt would be stabilized at under 60 percent of GDP.

7. General Electric, which reported over $4 billion in US profits in 2010, paid ZERO taxes.

8. A financial speculation tax of only 0.50 percent on financial trades could raise up to $170 billion annually.

9. Upper income households save an average of $5,500 thanks to the mortgage interest tax deduction whereas families earning between $40,000 and $75,000 save only $500.

10. Only two OECD nations collect less revenue as a percentage of GDP than the United States — Chile and Mexico.

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