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NC Group Offers Perspective on Federal Tax Rates

August 12, 2010

RALEIGH, N.C. - With the expansion of the federal health program and funding of two wars, most people assume federal tax rates are at an all-time high. Not so, says the North Carolina Justice Center. An analysis by the think tank found that for a family of four, the current overall tax rate is approximately 6 percent, compared to 9 percent under President Reagan. North Carolina Justice Center spokesman Jeff Shaw explains.

"We're at historically low tax rates for a family of four. Furthermore, when you break that down and you compare Reagan's tax rates to Obama's tax rates, virtually every facet of American society paid higher tax rates under Reagan than they do under Obama."

A study by the House Ways and Means Committee found that under President Obama's plan to let the Bush tax cuts expire, 76 percent of Americans would see little or no effect in their tax bill.

Opponents of Obama's plan to increase rates for the wealthiest of Americans say it penalizes investors and discourages job creation. Shaw insists the fiscal approach from the last two decades has not worked.

"We've had sort of a tax-cutting culture in this country over the last 20 years, and we're just now seeing those economic chickens come home to roost. This kind of tax cut our way out of economic recessions just hasn't worked."

Unlike most others in his party, Obama favors capping the dividend and capital-gains tax rates at 20 percent for high-income taxpayers.


Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC