Whether a country has high taxes or low taxes would seem to be a straightforward question. Yet in the United States, the debate rages on.
Many disagree, and few more so than Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). “We don’t have this problem because we tax too little," McConnell said in a press conference at the end of last May. "We have it because we spent too much.”
Still, the statistics show otherwise. Among the 30 nations included in studies by the Organization For Economic Co-Operation and Development, the United States ranks among the countries with the lowest effective tax rates. At an average of 26.9 percent of America's gross domestic product from 2004 to 2008, the effective federal tax rate is significantly lower than in Denmark, for example, whose average effective tax rate was the highest of the countries studied, at 49.3 percent of its GDP.
Similarly, the United States taxes corporations at lower rates than other countries. American corporations enjoy a rate of 13.4 percent of their profits. Compare that to Australia, whose corporations cough up 30.5 percent of what they make.
In many ways, American taxes have decreased significantly over the last half-century. In 1945, for example, the highest possible tax rate was 94 percent of income. Today, the highest rate is only 35 percent.
Federal tax revenue today accounts for only 14.8 percent of America's gross domestic product. In 2009, the most recent year with data available, the average ratio of tax revenue to GDP of OECD nations was 33.7 percent.
Below are ten charts showing how low American taxes have become. This material, "Ten Charts that Prove the United States Is a Low-Tax Country," was published by the Center for American Progress.