Note: based on income as of selected base year (default 2008), inflation-adjusted for other years      

A (Tax) Fan's Notes

With taxes, tea parties, and so forth in the news lately, I was looking around the Web trying to find out how my taxes have changed over the years, since Eisenhower.

Why Ike? Because he was my first serious president - I was born in 1946, first of the baby boomers, along with Clinton and Bush the Younger; during Ike's reign, I went from 6 to 14. Then came the 60's. But that's another story.

Well, I couldn't find anything, so I rolled my own. It has both payroll (Social Security) and income taxes - all the money the Feds take out of your paycheck. (If you're the type who objects that this is apples and oranges, no problem - there's a switch to let you see just income taxes.) All the rates, etc., are from the IRS; the inflation data (CPI) from the BLS, the payroll tax rates and income limits from the SSA. For 2009, the official brackets are in place (adjusted for inflation as law requires the IRS to do), and are used, except for changes to show what Obama plans to do.

Which is: leave taxes the same for those making less than $250,000; for those making more, raise the rates (in the 2 top brackets) from 33% to 36%, and from 35% to 39.6% (the same as they were under Clinton - which, by the way, is a bit lower than the 91% maximum tax bracket under Ike).

So return once again to those thrilling days of yesteryear when presidents were generals and taxes were ... ? (When payroll taxes are included, Ike looks pretty good; without them - not so good.)

Age-old question

On a slightly different but related topic, which I ran into while looking for data for the tax calculator:
Do the rich get richer and the poor get poorer? Answer: not quite.

From 1979 to 2004, the poorest one-fifth of the population got richer - by a whopping total 6% (about a quarter-percent per year).
The richest one-fifth got richer by 69% - 12 times as much.
The richest 1% got richer by 176% - 30 times as much.


IRS - tax rates, exemption amounts, deduction amounts, algorithms for calculating taxes (in the Form 1040 instructions for each year)
See for example: Instructions for Form 1040 1988

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) - CPI (Consumer Price Index) data used to adjust for inflation. See also their CPI Inflation Calculator
U.S. Social Security Administration - for payroll tax data (rates, maximum income subject to tax, etc.)

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Copyright © 2009 Sue Gleason      Last updated: May 8 2009     Home