[IMGCAP(1)]I remember the tax-cutting years in previous political eras. Those were the good old days. Now it’s easy to get the impression we have higher income taxes and an extra tax on investment earnings. But analyzing taxes and the reasons behind them are not that simple. Some brackets are actually lower today, and some taxpayers are paying at a higher rate while others are paying at a lower rate.

Taxes have come up recently in political banter, comparing today to the 1980s. The discussion quickly polarized along party lines. CNN reported that annual federal tax receipts of over 30 years ago averaged 18.2 percent of the gross domestic product, a little above where they are today at their 40-year average.

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