Misleading Tax Burden Arguments are Dishonest

Here is my major point: the “federal tax burden” has increased from 17.2 to 17.8 percent of GDP between 1963 to 2016. To point out it has increased from $4,121 per person to $10,114 per person and then to argue “every American should be outraged over this scandal” is misleading and dishonest.

Here is the long version:

Jake Novak, a writer and senior producer for CNBC wrote “Opinion: Here’s the tax scandal every American should be outraged over” where he wrote:

“The scandal first was uncovered earlier this week by Terry Jeffrey at CNS News when he looked at federal revenue numbers and noted that Americans are paying more than twice the amount of federal taxes they were when President John F. Kennedy first took office in 1961. Yes, that’s adjusted for inflation with a jump from $4,121 per person in current dollars 46 years ago to $10,114 in 2016.”


Using the source Novak provides (above)  on The White House website originally from the Office of Management and Budget, Table 2.3 “Receipts by Source as Percentages of GDP: 1934-2022  revenues as a percentage of GDP increased from 17.2 percent  in 1963 to 17.8 percent in 2016. The historical average of federal revenue as a percent of GDP is about 17-18 percent.

  If you were asked “has your food costs increased in the past decade?” you would almost certainly answer the question “well, food as a percent of my income is such-and-such” you would not focus on the dollar price of your food without recognizing your income increased as well.

  Certainly Mr. Novak knows this.

  While thinking about this today (June 4, 2017) I recalled that I have preached this sermon before, in much greater detail, almost two decades ago in “Tax Burden Arguments Do None of Us Any good” Columbia Tribune June 28, 1999


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