The Tax Policy Center has released a series of data tables taking a look at the effect of the major tax changes enacted since 2001.For each table, the center compares the amount of tax owed under current law with the amount that would have been paid if the law had stayed the same as it was in 2000. Estimates are computed both for dollar-income classes (for example, $40,000 to $50,000) and for percentiles of income distribution (for example, middle quintile, which includes households in the middle 20 percent of the income distribution).
According to the center, there are various ways to interpret the tables. One meaningful measure is the percentage change in after-tax income, which shows how large the tax cuts are as a share of income.
For example, in 2006, the tax cuts raised after-tax income by 0.3 percent for the poorest 20 percent of tax units, and by 4 percent for the highest-income 20 percent. The next column, labeled "share of total federal tax change," shows how the total tax cut is distributed by income class. The middle 20 percent received 9.5 percent of the tax cuts, while the top 20 percent received almost 70 percent. The average tax cuts show a similar pattern, but supporters of the tax cuts point out that high-income people also pay a disproportionate share of the taxes.
All of the tables are available at www.taxpolicycenter.org/newsevents/events_bush_tax_cuts.cfm.
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