Four Myths about American Taxes


Tax reform — that is, tax code simplification — is a widely popular idea that has polled well for decades. The question is then begged, “why is tax reform so hard?” Here is how Rachel DiCarlo Currie at the Independent Women’s Forum sums up the myths:

There are many reasons, of course, but one big reason is the persistence of several myths about American taxes. For example, many people seem to believe that the United States (1) is a low-income-tax country, (2) has a relatively modest effective tax rate on corporate investment, (3) could raise a massive amount of new revenue by hiking the top federal rate on individual income, and (4) has a less progressive tax structure than most nations in Western Europe. Each of those assertions is either deceptive or just plain wrong.

Her new report, Four Myths about American Taxes, can be found here. She writes:

As this paper will demonstrate, America depends on income-tax revenue far more than most other developed countries; its marginal effective tax rate on corporate investment is among the very highest in the world; its federal tax on individual income has yielded a remarkably consistent amount of revenue over the past four decades, despite huge variations in the top rates; and its overall tax structure is actually more progressive than those of the major European welfare states.

Here are the four myths:

Myth #1: America Is a Low-Income-Tax Country

Myth #2: Rates on U.S. Corporate Investment Are Relatively Modest

Myth #3: Higher Individual-Income-Tax Rates Would Deliver a Gusher of Revenue

Myth #4: Taxes Are More Progressive in Western Europe Than in America

Read more: Independent Women’s Forum

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