Just the Facts, Ma’am

From the rhetoric routinely employed by politicians trying to curry favor with voters, you’d think Americans were struggling under a massive tax burden. You’d also think service delivery and taxation were unconnected–that we can all have our cake and eat it too. (Just ignore that decaying bridge…and by the way, it might be a good idea to hire a private security guard, seeing as how we can’t afford to hire those extra police officers we need…..)

The next time one of our legislators is crying crocodile tears over our high levels of taxation, you might share this study.


  1. About those armed guards in all schools; I keep seeing panicked children and teachers trying to protect them. No matter how well trained those armed guards might be, they cannot shoot over, around or between running people of all ages. How many of the intended victims will have presence of mind to stand still or drop to the floor? Having been a gun owner in the past, and having been trained and practiced with my handgun; I know how difficult it is to hit a stationary target. And this is while standing still in a gun range shooting at a paper bullseye or human outline – not having a loaded weapon pointed at me or trying to protect others. Levels of taxation aside, it is sad we cannot legislate logic and common sense in our elected leaders as easily as they enact foolish laws and ways to waste our tax dollars.

  2. Why must we compete with other countries and their tax rates? That chart also fails to add in the various state and local taxes.

  3. As to JoAnn’s point about the armed guards.

    Why would you rather keep people defenseless in a situation against a determined psycho?

  4. Your fact-checking skills need some brushing up. You can make numbers say whatever you like, but OUR tax rates HAVE gone up. Since 1900 our taxes as a share of GDP have steadily risen from 7% to over 35%, that’s a five-fold increase! Most of those increases have been state and local taxes, but nevertheless we are NOT paying less than we used to.

    This guy is comparing international tax rates and many of the nations he speaks of were third-world countries a decade or two ago. Really? That, as they say, is the rest of the story.

    JoAnn, you can spin it however you like, but in today’s world we have fire drills and tornado drills, despite the fact that a child hasn’t died in a fire or tornado drill in decades. It’s stupid beyond comprehension not to make our children safer from what truly threatens them.

  5. Top 6 largest budget items, in order:
    Social Security
    Income Security
    Net Interest on Debt
    Federal Pensions

    Those 6 things account for over $3T.

  6. One of these days there is going to be an armed bystander who encounters a gunman spraying bullets into a crowd. That bystander will pull his gun and either be shot dead himself, panic and start firing back into innocent civilians or flee in terror. The Harry Callahan or 007 some of you imagine yourselves to be does not exist.

  7. Old Irish Saying: “You can lead a Horse to water, but you cannot make it drink”
    You can give somebody a gun. However, you cannot give them a killer instinct. By the time they have pulled out a gun and said “Stop or I’ll shoot” they will be dead on the floor.

  8. Marco, you make some pretty bold statements about tax rates as a percentage of GDP. I know little about taxation and less about tax rates of the past, but as you said, “You can make numbers say whatever you like” (suspiciously like how you try to make climate science say whatever you want. You still never addressed my questions in the last climate change debate. So I’m led to believe that you just don’t have any substantiating evidence). Anyway, I was wondering if you can provide any evidence as to the statements you put forth. It seems Bruce Bartlett, who served under Reagan and Bush senior, disagrees with you in some way. Again, I know little about this, so let me know what I’m missing.


  9. I like how it is assumed that non-criminals would never stand a chance, and yet, people defend themselves with guns quite often.

    Also, why would you want to disarm someone who is just going to die in your hypotheticals anyway? Why not at least give them a 1% chance? Isn’t that better than 0%?

  10. That’s not a very good economic article. It is making the assumption that revenues necessarily correlate with rates.

    There are simply too many variables for that argument to be valid.

    Lazy economics is not good economics.

  11. Ok, you don’t like the article. You’re apparently smarter than a career economist who worked under two presidential administrations. Where is my article substantiating that the effective tax rate is “35% GDP up from 7% GDP”? I can’t seem to find any such numbers. I still can’t seem to find any such substantiation for Marco’s claims that CO2 concentration is the sole determinant factor in the temperature of the atmosphere. When you guys continue spouting things, and never backing them up when someone questions it, kinda makes it seem like there’s no substantiation to begin with…

  12. RR, if spouting things and never backing them up when challenged was discreditation, well…

    Anywho, I checked three independent websites for historical government revenue data and they were consistent. No, I didn’t use the heritage foundation or mother jones or anything like that. Like I said, you can make the numbers say anything you want. I understand the comparison that he’s trying to make. However, I stand by my comment. I don’t see anything in your article that contradicts my statement, and you haven’t provided anything otherwise.

    Off-topic on the CO2 thing: it’s been a few years since I’ve seen An Inconvenient Truth, but that’s, well, the “plot.” I don’t agree with it, but if the science is settled, well, who am I to argue? For that matter, who are YOU to argue? Now they’re saying we haven’t had significant warming in 15 years. Whoops, I guess the debate wasn’t over…

  13. Regardless of whether one thinks taxes are too high or too low, the author’s title “Americans Really Need To Stop Complaining About Taxes” is Orwellian.

    No, don’t question your government, citizen. All spending is good spending. Priorities are perfect.

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