U.S. taxes are progressive

Here is the opener, by the excellent David Splinter:

U.S. federal taxes are progressive, as shown by Congressional Budget Office and Tax Policy Center estimates, with average tax rates increasing with income. In fact, the OECD (2011) estimated that the U.S. has the most progressive household taxes among developed countries. Moreover, the 2017 tax reform is expected to have little effect on overall tax progressivity (Tax Policy Center, 2017; Joint Committee on Taxation, 2019). But Saez and Zucman (2019) argue that average tax rates are nearly equal over the income distribution. To examine this claim, this paper compares other estimates of average tax rates by income group,all of which suggest a high degree of progressivity. Three issues are found to bias the average tax rates presented in Saez and Zucman (2019). After correcting for these issues, their estimates align more closely with other estimates that show U.S. taxes are progressive.

Here is the full (short) piece.  See also this Jason Furman thread.  Here is the Kopczuk thread.  There is a great deal of Twitter malpractice on this issue circulating these days.


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