Taxes Up (but not so much as you might think…)

ca-2016-10-2-tax-revenuesIf you think taxes are higher than their historical rates, well, it depends on how far back in history you’re comparing them to.  Take a look at the accompanying chart, which shows tax revenue as a percent of total national income for four countries—France, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the U.S.—since 1868.  The chart ends in 2008, and is taken from research by tax policy analyst Thomas Piketty.

People who think taxes are too high will note that today’s total tax haul is much higher today than it had been during the period from 1868 through 1940, and the spike due to World War II’s considerable expenses was never compensated for by a fall back to previous levels.

However, notice that the total for America has largely leveled off in the past 30 years, and most especially notice that the U.S. share of total income, at 27.5%, is considerably lower than the other countries.  Both France and Sweden are flirting with 50% levels, while the U.K. is just above 35%.  In the case of the U.S. and Britain, total tax levels are largely unchanged since around 1960—which is not something you hear in Presidential or Congressional debates about our tax rates.

You also aren’t hearing much about the growing national debt these days, in part because the rate of growth has slowed dramatically and is now at or below historic averages.  The accompanying chart shows an encouraging trend of federal deficit as a percentage of U.S. GDP; the black line represents a zero budget deficit, which was breached briefly during the Bill Clinton presidency.  The dip starting in 2008 represents the historic government bailout which was designed to address the Great Recession and global banking crisis that began in 2008.

 

About Objectively Speaking

Tom Batterman, founder of Vigil Trust & Financial Advocacy and Financial Fiduciaries, LLC is in the business of representing the best financial interests of his clients. Having provided objective, fee-only financial management services for over two decades, he specializes in managing the investment and related financial affairs of individuals and mutual insurance companies who do not have the time, interest or expertise to manage such matters on their own. As an objective, unbiased professional who takes on a fiduciary responsibility to his clients, he guides clients to the financial decisions they would make themselves if they had years of training and experience and the time and expertise to fully research and understand all of their options. Founded in 2010 as an outgrowth of Vigil Trust & Financial Advocacy, Financial Fiduciaries, LLC is a financial management solution for individuals and mutual insurance companies who recognize they do not have the time, interest or expertise to properly attend to their financial matters on their own. While there are many financial “advisors”, most of them have investment products to sell and the “advice” they provide is geared toward getting their clients to engage in a purchase. As one of the rare subset of advisors known as “fiduciary advisors”, Financial Fiduciaries does not sell any investment product so its guidance is not compromised by conflicts of interest which plague ordinary advisors. Prior to his employment in the financial industry in financial advocacy and trust positions, he worked at a private law practice in the Wausau area in the areas of estate planning, tax, retirement planning, corporate organizations and real estate. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the UW-Madison Law School and has during his career held Series 7, 24 and 65 securities licenses. A longtime resident of the Wausau, Wisconsin Area, Tom is active in the community. He enjoys golf, curling, skiing, fishing, traveling and spending time with his family.
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