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A Nickel for Uncle Sam

Most Americans say their income taxes are fair, a new New York Times/CBS News poll finds. No wonder — for the most part, we’re paying a much smaller chunk of our income in taxes than we did a few decades ago.

This year, a family of four in the middle of the income spectrum will pay less than a nickel out of every dollar it earns in federal income taxes. (It will pay more than this in federal payroll taxes.)

While wealthy households pay at higher rates than middle-class ones, the share of income they pay in taxes has gone way down too. The effective income tax rate for the nation’s 400 richest taxpayers plummeted by more than half over the past two decades.

If you’re wondering where your tax dollars go, here are the breakdowns for federal and state spending.

Update: We just released a new podcast on historically low federal income taxes. Find it here on iTunes.

Chuck Marr
Vice President for Federal Tax Policy