The Myth of The Overtaxed American

There are a lot of people in both my own private existence and public life in general who voice the sentiment that those of us who live in the United States pay far too much in taxes.  

Leaving issues of the services those taxes allow us to enjoy, and the fundamental fact that as a public sector employee, my entire livelihood is a taxpayer funded venture, I enjoyed this post at fivethirtyeight.com, skewering some recent blather from Jonah Goldberg (a blather king, if ever there was one).

Most of all, I enjoyed this graph showing the tax revenues as a share of GDP (in 2006) for all of the members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development:

Turns out that our tax burden is the fifth lowest of any nation that would consider itself to be part of the developed world, and is seven percentage points below the average of those same nations.  Granted, it’s not as low as it is in Mexico.  

Admittedly, you will bear a larger burden than this average if you are independently wealthy (which, admittedly, I am not).  

So…fifth lowest tax burden in the developed world, and we still get all those nifty services.  I don’t exactly know when that became the running definition of “socialism”, but I imagine it happened sometime after the President tried to get poor people health insurance.

Note:  Anyone who quibbles with the metric used is welcome to check out this graph of taxes on the average worker for all of the OECD nations.  By this measure, we are the ninth lowest, and still a good eight points below the average.  Though, we are still no Mexico.