The Feds Collect Most of the Taxes in America—So They Have Most of the Power
In 2021, it’s clear Americans now have thrown off any notions of subsidiarity and instead embraced the idea that the federal government should be called upon to fund pretty much anything and everything. From “stimulus checks” to “paycheck protection,” it’s assumed an entire national workforce can be propped up by federal spending. Moreover, in the wake of 2020’s Covid Recession, every pressure group from local governments to weapons manufacturers looks to the federal government to offer ever larger amounts of federal spending ladled out from the federal pot of more than six trillion dollars of annual spending. Need some “infrastructure”? The federal government will pay for it. Need a bailout? You know where to go.
And how is all this spending possible? Naturally, it can only happen when governments tax or borrow. And the federal government does a lot of that. Moreover, the federal government can borrow in increasingly stunning amounts thanks to the monetization of debt going on at the central bank.
The Feds Tax Us a Lot More than the States
But even if we ignore all the ways the federal government can spend at astronomical levels thanks to huge deficits and monetary tricks, we find the feds are still very much in the game of collecting good old-fashioned taxes. And lots of them. Moreover, the feds are collecting a lot more in taxes than even all state and cities combined. When it comes to taxes, the federal government is the biggest game in town, and it should surprise no one that everyone is looking to DC for some easy cash. We might hear a lot about how “blue states” are levying crippling taxes on their residents. But not even the governments of California or New York have anything on the federal government when it comes to extracting wealth from the taxpayers in America.
According to a 2018 study from the Tax Policy Center, for example, “Federal, state, and local government receipts totaled $5.3 trillion in 2016. Federal receipts were 65 percent of the total, while state and local receipts (excluding inter-governmental transfers) were 20 percent and 15 percent, respectively.”
State and local governments may certainly be taking their pound of flesh from the taxpayers, but the fact is the federal government is taking a whole lot more.
Indeed, contrary to the US’s reputation for “local control,” the United
Article from Mises Wire