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.

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

We have about a $200,000 funding gap and less than a week to go in our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, this week so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

We have about a $200,000 funding gap and less than a week to go in our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, this week so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate