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JHB

(37,157 posts)
5. Let's look at history: where did income tax brackets fall?
Wed Mar 27, 2013, 08:51 PM
Mar 2013

Last edited Mon Mar 21, 2016, 10:42 AM - Edit history (2)

Most discussion of tax history mentions the top marginal rates of the past (91% in the 50s, 70% in the 60s and 70s, 50% through most of Reagan's presidency, etc.)

I like to highlight a different aspect: leaving aside what the rates were, where did they kick in? We live in times where people argue "are couples who make $250K 'rich'?" "Should we raise taxes on people who make over $250K? Over $500K?"

Where did these sorts of things lie in the past?

Using the inflation adjusted historical tax bracket tables from The Tax Foundation for married couples filing jointly, let's break it down a little and find out the equivalents in 2012 dollars:

1945:
Total number of brackets: 24
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 14
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 9
Top bracket affects income over: $2,551,044

1955:
Total number of brackets: 24
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 16
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 11
Top bracket affects income over: $3,426,776

1965:
Total number of brackets: 25
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 13
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 8
Top bracket affects income over: $1,457,740

1975:
Total number of brackets: 25
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 9
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 5
Top bracket affects income over: $853,509

1985:
Total number of brackets: 15
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 1
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 0
Top bracket affects income over: $360,650

1995:
Total number of brackets: 5
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 1
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 0
Top bracket affects income over: $386,423

2005:
Total number of brackets: 6
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 1
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 0
Top bracket affects income over: $383,773

2013:
Total number of brackets: 7
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 2
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 0
Top bracket affects income over: $440,876

Special Bonus Gipper edition numbers:
1988:

Total number of brackets: 2 (No, not a typo. Two brackets)
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 0
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 0
Top bracket affects income over: $57,738
(There was a reason why Poppy Bush had to go back on his 'Read My Lips' line -- this rate was so low it was unsustainable (naturally, they crucified him for it). And every RWNJ wants to go back to this, or lower...)

ALL income tax progressivity for very high incomes was eliminated under Reagan, and has stayed that way ever since.

That... Ohio Joe Mar 2013 #1
I love how much he emphasizes European public transport in his travel shows. eppur_se_muova Mar 2013 #2
I took a nearly all public transportation weeklong vacation based in Brussels last fall. CTyankee Mar 2013 #22
rec SammyWinstonJack Mar 2013 #3
marked for later. rsmith6621 Mar 2013 #4
Let's look at history: where did income tax brackets fall? JHB Mar 2013 #5
Great info ybbor Mar 2013 #8
I was going to say the same thing you said. Progressive taxes under Reagan + Clinton? Sirveri Mar 2013 #19
Stunning. And sickening. CrispyQ Mar 2013 #25
I showed the video to a right-wing colleague at work ybbor Mar 2013 #6
They are rich wanna-bees ReRe Mar 2013 #14
Harry Chapin, not Cat Stevens, for "Cat's in the Cradle" JHB Mar 2013 #20
You're right... ReRe Mar 2013 #21
I lived by his Europe 101 for 4 months ErikJ Mar 2013 #7
K&R, Rick Steves is my favorite travel guru. smirkymonkey Mar 2013 #9
Scroll back to his Inauguration blog, I followed him on FB to SaveAmerica Mar 2013 #10
Steves writing is very good! Vinnie From Indy Mar 2013 #11
K&R. Well said. Overseas Mar 2013 #12
And, why not bring back the "windfall profits tax" on corporations? Marie Marie Mar 2013 #13
I love Rick Steves SpearthrowerOwl Mar 2013 #15
Rick now has a fan for life! Walk away Mar 2013 #16
I hate Rick Steves! Guy Whitey Corngood Mar 2013 #17
Does Rick have a regular old-fasioned webpage? ReRe Mar 2013 #18
Not sure about his website, BUT he has MANY 1 hour podcasts on iTunes. stillwaiting Mar 2013 #23
Thanks! "Travel with Rick Steves" ReRe Mar 2013 #24
Our local PBS station airs his TV show on weekends. PA Democrat Mar 2013 #26
he's got his own channel on hulu fizzgig Mar 2013 #27
Thanks!!! Bookmarked! ;-) n/t ReRe Mar 2013 #35
ricksteves.com Floyd_Gondolli Mar 2013 #28
Thanks to you too, Floyd! I'm fixed up now. ;-) n/t ReRe Mar 2013 #36
his FB page is public, i don't think you need to log in to read it CreekDog Mar 2013 #32
Just imagine if there were more pundits and politicians advocating what he's saying deutsey Mar 2013 #29
Who Knew? colsohlibgal Mar 2013 #30
Actually, I like to think that we do "know" sometimes. Demoiselle Mar 2013 #33
Big K&R. dgauss Mar 2013 #31
He makes a lot of sense. beemer27 Mar 2013 #34
A progressive?! And all these years I thought he was such a nice guy. Kurovski Mar 2013 #37
Are you quoting his whole post? Do you have a link? Matariki Mar 2013 #38
Answering my own request for a link... Matariki Mar 2013 #39
How's that Laffer Curve, Trickle Down (Voodoo Economics) working for you? sfpcjock Mar 2013 #40
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