These discussions piqued my interest in the history of income taxes in the US. How do current taxes compare to the historical rates? Thanks to the IRS (3) and the Tax Foundation (4), I can do more than wonder. I used data from these sources to create my own infographic:
|US historical income tax rates. y-axis is year (2013 on top); x-axis is earnings ($0-1,275,000); each color is 10%|
This doesn't take into account payroll taxes (Medicare, Social Security), state taxes, sales tax, or any other kind of tax, so I can't say how the overall tax burden has changed for the average American over this time period. That being said, it's clear that the rich in previous generations haven't shied from contributing.
The graphic also doesn't take into account the various tax deductions available to eligible taxpayers; on this topic, however, I was able to find some interesting data on the history of the Personal Exemption (5):
The Google Spreadsheets in which I calculated the inflation-adjusted exemption data (6) and created the income tax graphic (7) are available.