Politics drive anti-tax movements and low-income families suffer
By the Rev. Fred Kammer, S.J.
Everyone seems to be worshiping at the “no new taxes” altar. This continues some 30 years of anti-tax propaganda whose most vociferous current harbinger is the Tea Party movement. The actual results have included a widening of the gap between rich and poor to its current morally grotesque levels and the substantial deterioration of U.S. infrastructure.
Are we overtaxed as a nation? The facts don’t support the rhetoricof the tax cutters. In 2008, total U.S. taxes at the federal, state, and local level were 26.2 percent of our gross domestic product (GDP). The United States ranks 25th among the 27 nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for which data are available. Only Turkey and Mexico had combined lower taxes at 23.5 percent and 20.4 percent of GDP. Many industrial countries have tax levels much higher; for example, 17 of the 24 OECD nations with higher taxes exceed the U.S. tax level by at least 25 percent. Nine of these have taxes at least 50 percent higher as a percent of GDP.