Raw Data: Federal Taxes and Spending Over the Past 60 Years

There’s no special reason for posting this except that taxes and tax cuts are in the news:

For more than 60 years, total federal taxes have averaged about 17 percent of GDP.¹ Tax receipts go up and down slightly, mostly because of tax legislation and economic cycles, but always return pretty quickly to their long-term average. Spending has averaged about 20 percent of GDP ever since the Reagan era. It also goes up and down a bit thanks to recessions and expansions, but always returns to around 20 percent.

Bottom line: Taxes have not skyrocketed. Spending has not skyrocketed. Corporations are not burdened with the highest tax rate on the planet.

¹Of that total, personal income taxes have been a steady 8 percent of GDP. Corporate taxes have declined from 5 percent of GDP to 2 percent.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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