Are Americans overtaxed?

Many people would answer a resounding 'yes.' But some experts caution that tax rates, when looked at historically and in comparison with those of other countries, aren't that bad. Here are some statistics – and how the debate might go between those who think taxes are too onerous and those who don't.

Jack Hollingsworth/Newscom
People walking on a crowded sidewalk.
Rich Clabaugh/Staff
Rich Clabaugh/Staff
Rich Clabaugh/Staff

What are you all worked up about? Look at how much less we pay than the French and Germans (see top chart).

Who cares about the 'socialist' Europeans? If you want to do some comparing, look at the tax rate on corporations, which affects actual jobs and economic growth. The US has the second-highest in the industrialized world (see second chart)

There you go again. The corporate tax rate doesn't mean anything.

A federal study in 2008 found that two-thirds of US corporations pay no federal income taxes at all because of all those loopholes and such.

Plus, the tax burden on Americans has been doing nothing but dropping. Last year, federal tax receipts as a percentage of the gross domestic product fell to a 60-year low – less than 15 percent.

And your beloved rich – look at how little they're paying (see bottom chart at left). In the early 1960s, the highest income earners paid a tax rate of 91 percent. Today it's 35 percent – the lowest level since 1931, except for a brief period from 1988 to 1992.

Don't start with the class warfare. The wealthy are paying more than their fair share. The IRS says the top 1 percent of income-earners now generate 20 percent of all personal income, and get this: They pay 38 percent of all federal income taxes.

Besides, all your numbers largely refer to income taxes. You're forgetting about all the other taxes – sales taxes, property taxes, automobile taxes, estate taxes, sewer taxes ... you want me to go on?

I will anyway. Don't forget all the 'hidden' taxes – the ones that don't show up on a bill, like taxes on hotel rooms, airline tickets, firearms, candy bars, imported brooms, hammocks, bicycles, and peanut butter. Did I mention cigarette taxes and gas taxes?

I don't smoke and I drive a Prius.

Yeah, you probably recycle cork, too.

Want the one from my olive oil cruet?

RELATED: Budget stalemate: Why America won't raise taxes

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