The Cumulative Effective Tax Rate

By Susan Boskey

Early Americans would roll over in their graves if they heard about modern-day America’s topsy-turvy departure from many of the hard-won freedoms and liberties of the American Revolution. They would be unable to make sense of all the different taxes we pay today, and especially the government’s legal entitlement to a portion of an American’s labor via an income tax. There was no such tax on labor for the earliest Americans; it was unconscionable to tax someone’s personal property, which one’s labor was then considered. The concept of paying one’s “fair share” did not exist until after mid-20th century.

In general, operating expenses of private corporations and the federal, state and corporate-county municipal governments are passed on to the end users (public) in the form of taxation.

A partial list of the transparent as well as all the unseen hidden taxes include: federal and state income tax, county taxes, federal and state sales tax, accounts receivable tax, alcohol tax, alternative minimum tax, building permit tax, cigarette tax, corporate tax, dog license tax, education tax, estate tax, excise tax on imports, food license tax, fuel permit tax, gift tax, hotel tax, inheritance tax, inventory tax, car rental tax, IRS interest charges, IRS penalties and levies, license tax, labor tax (withholding), marriage license tax, Medicare tax, municipal state tax on insurance premiums, worker’s compensation and unemployment tax, property tax, recreational vehicle tax, sales tax, self-employment tax, road usage tax for truckers, school tax, Social Security tax, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), telecommunications tax, travel tax, utility tax, vehicle licensing registration tax, vehicle sales tax, watercraft registration tax, well permit tax, hospitality tax and last but not least, the hidden tax of inflation of a debt-based central banking system and all finance charges.

I’m sure I must have missed something!

While on a TV talk show in 1981, President Reagan mentioned that 46 different taxes contributed to the price of one loaf of bread. Imagine how many more taxes have been added since then. How many taxes and fees are hidden in an airline ticket? Seldom considered is how the cost of doing business has the effect of decreasing one’s purchasing power as more and different kinds taxes make up the retail price you end up paying.

The retail price accounts as the total of the multiple costs of doing business. Throughout a company’s chain of events from production to sales and marketing, labor costs take a huge bite; they are the wages, taxes and fees imposed on the labor of every employee from the factory-floor worker to CEO. Materials, essential resources, and the interest amounts on a company’s business loans are all rolled into the price you pay.

Americans take a beating from taxes that appear to now exponentially erode earnings (personal property). “Bracket creep,” as it is called, over time automatically moves a taxpayer into new, higher tax brackets. For example, in 1970, private pensions and Social Security retirement were not considered taxable income, though today, they are. These sort of official changes often move people into a higher income bracket with subsequent increased amounts due to state and federal governments.

What if mainstream media routinely reported on the cumulative total of what everyday American pays annually in taxes? Would you connect the dots to the direct impact this has on your personal finances, e.g., actual disposable income and increasing dependence on credit? The addition of all taxes, transparent and not so transparent, (hidden taxes mentioned above, upfront fees and regulation costs of federal and state regulatory compliance, federal fines (like what British Petroleum passed on to consumers after the Gulf oil spill) lead this writer to the educated guess that the average American pays somewhere in the range of a cumulative 30 to 60 percent of their annual gross earnings in taxes, depending on their tax bracket.

Are you powerless when it comes to this topic? I don’t think so. Knowledge is power, and power can lead to informed action.

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Susan Boskey is author of the book, The Quality Life Plan®: 7 Steps to Uncommon Financial Security. After exposing the bottom-line of why more and more families need credit each month just to make ends meet, Susan provides game-changing practical strategies, tactics and templates to help you create a life of greater ease. You can reverse the downward trend of credit and debt while learning how to establish a long-term, debt-free lifestyle; a life that allows you to build both financial wealth and the wealth of well-being midst the challenges of today’s economic landscape. To learn more or to purchase the book, please visit her website at http://TheQualityLifePlan.com 

Susan can customize her strategies and templates for your particular situation and is available to coach you through this process. She can be reached through her website.

  • doucyet

    So on average you work 6 months of the year to pay taxes. Yea………..land of the………taxed.

  • littljo

    This is a huge problem. They say this tax goes for something, but it never ends. No taxes ever end. The beast is alive and ravenous, it knows no boundaries. Taxes are out of control and the highway folks want to toll you.
    Cripe.
    Another point, CEO’s make more than they are worth.
    Income tax is unConstitutional.

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