Best Financial Infographics of 2009
December 23, 2009 11:51 AM   Subscribe

 
As a Canadian, I pay taxes on the uranium I bought with my student loans many years ago.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:52 AM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Finally, a place on the internet to get simplistic formulations of tax vs income!
posted by DU at 11:55 AM on December 23, 2009


Adding the infoporn tag.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:57 AM on December 23, 2009


Ugh, the "Who Is Paying Taxes" infographic is obnoxious and misleading. To quote a commenter,
this chart ignores sales tax, which hits the lower classes harder … it ignores Social Security taxes … it ignores state, local and other taxes … the Federal Income Tax is not in any way an accurate measure of the total tax burden each American faces
posted by kathrineg at 11:59 AM on December 23, 2009 [24 favorites]


Almost 47% of US households don't owe any Federal income taxes. Ignoring state income taxes, local wage (aka "Earned income") taxes, real estate taxes, sales taxes... this is dangerously, outrageously misleading. For that matter, are they including Medicare or Social Security taxes in this? I suspect not. 'Cause we all pay those.
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:01 PM on December 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


47% of households have zero federal income tax liability. That is a very different thing than 'do not have to pay taxes'. I expect the % of households that do not have to pay taxes is very close to 0.
posted by nightwood at 12:01 PM on December 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Right, I should have specified federal taxes. My bad.
posted by desjardins at 12:02 PM on December 23, 2009


the Federal Income Tax is not in any way an accurate measure of the total tax burden each American faces

Not to mention the fact that the "burden one faces" is not well-represented by "share of the total that is contributed to". The actual burden is how to pay for necessities *after* taxes are paid, which is a function of absolute dollars left not percentage of income.
posted by DU at 12:04 PM on December 23, 2009


Actually, it should read federal income taxes - because many of those households are likely to be paying federal payroll taxes (and some paying both the employee and employer portions) while still not having federal income tax liability.
posted by nightwood at 12:08 PM on December 23, 2009


Their infographic on The Descent into Credit Card Debt literally made me nauseous. And I mean that as the highest compliment.
posted by ErikaB at 12:08 PM on December 23, 2009


The graphic is misleading, as it should have pointed out that the fed gov collects about $1 trillion in income tax a year, not just in taxes. It actually should be labeled better to show that it does not include other taxes, such as sales, property, medicare, social security, etc, that are collected by the government.
posted by jabberjaw at 12:09 PM on December 23, 2009


To use myself as an example, only about a third of my taxes are Federal Withholding (eg, income tax.) The rest are all state, federal, and local taxes, pretty much all of which are totally flat - eg, the percentage paid is the same for everyone, regardless of income.
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:11 PM on December 23, 2009


I wish I could pay off my student loans in 10 years.

as it stands 40 is more likely
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:21 PM on December 23, 2009


I just want to point out that President Obama's requested budget for 2010 has 63% of the total being allocated for military or national security spending.

I'm really not sure how to feel about that.

Actually, I am, I just don't know how to articulate those feelings.
posted by Avenger at 12:30 PM on December 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


desjardins, it's not your fault. It's labeled in a misleading way. I couldn't figure out why until I read the comments.

Payroll taxes are awfully regressive. I hate that about them.

I expect the % of households that do not have to pay taxes is very close to 0.

I know households like this--under the table work. Unless you count sales taxes, in which case I know of no households like this.
posted by kathrineg at 12:32 PM on December 23, 2009


I hate sticking a factoid in a plot and pretending like it teaches you something.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 12:50 PM on December 23, 2009


South Africa is not a top producer of diamonds. ??
posted by Jumpin Jack Flash at 1:27 PM on December 23, 2009


katherineg FTW...I was under the impression that all workers pay the payroll tax.
posted by Hypnotic Chick at 1:34 PM on December 23, 2009


The "not paying federal income taxes" one is interesting to me. I am a Quaker, and some Quakers live deliberately on a poverty-level income in order to avoid paying taxes to support the military. Setting aside whether that's an effective choice or whatever, I have always been struck by its lack of sophistication. At the same time that people I knew were doing that, my family was living on $50-60k/year and having no federal tax liability at all because of the deductions we were able to take. I thought some Quakers I knew were suffering needlessly for their convictions.
posted by not that girl at 1:39 PM on December 23, 2009


Hypnotic Chick, I am friends with a handful of nannies, none of whom pay payroll tax. This is to the benefit of their employers, and to a lesser extent, to them, because they don't get unemployment benefits, nor are they contributing towards social security tax credits (or whatever). Of course, for an immigrant who is not likely to receive those benefits anyway, it is an obvious choice.
posted by kathrineg at 1:44 PM on December 23, 2009


And Canada produces more uranium than any other country.

Yes, we do. Some of it gets converted into the bullshit I type on MetaFilter. Living betwixt twelve CANDU reactors has its perks.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:44 PM on December 23, 2009


I like the world commodity production chart. Finally, incontrovertible proof that the United states of America is the world's cornhole.
posted by rusty at 1:45 PM on December 23, 2009


The actual burden is how to pay for necessities *after* taxes are paid, which is a function of absolute dollars left not percentage of income.

Am I reading this right in understanding that you are saying that, if a person is required to pay as tax 100% of what they make above what is necessary to pay for necessities, they have no actual tax burden?
posted by The World Famous at 1:51 PM on December 23, 2009


not that girl: "I thought some Quakers I knew were suffering needlessly for their convictions."

I think there's something to be said for purposefully absenting yourself from a system instead of reaping the benefits of working within it, even though the end result might be the same.
posted by kathrineg at 1:52 PM on December 23, 2009


You mean you don't "know of" illegal immigrants living in Texas or Florida? I find that immensely implausible
posted by jock@law at 1:52 PM on December 23, 2009


Income and payroll taxes are important, because like other sin taxes, their purpose is to create a disincentive for engaging in an activity. Conversely, the government has eliminated death tax, because they wish to create an incentive to engage in that activity. In summary, the tax system demonstrates that the government want us to stop working and die.
posted by mullingitover at 1:57 PM on December 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


As several have already pointed out, that tax info graphic is complete and utter bullshit. It reiterates the bullshit that many of the tea party types like to spout, "I'm supporting welfare queens and illegals with my taxes hamburger hamburger hamburger!!"
posted by nestor_makhno at 1:57 PM on December 23, 2009


"Conversely, the government has eliminated death tax"

A. There is no such thing as a "death tax." Please show me a statute that says people must pay a tax when they die.

B. Assuming you mean the estate tax you are wrong because Congress only suspended it temporarily. It is coming back.
posted by nestor_makhno at 2:01 PM on December 23, 2009


Sorry, I should've added the asterisk, "* temporarily, so act now!"
posted by mullingitover at 2:04 PM on December 23, 2009


Jock@law, are you responding to my comment? I live in New York, where I know undocumented immigrants who pay no income tax; all of them pay sales taxes on some of their purchases. I am from Colorado, where there is a state sales tax. Is there no sales tax in Texas or Florida? If so, you probably should have said so. It would have been infinitely more constructive than your petty snarking.
posted by kathrineg at 2:08 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sorry, I should've added the asterisk, "* temporarily, so act now!"

What about the part where you claimed there is a tax for dieing?
posted by nestor_makhno at 2:16 PM on December 23, 2009


Oh good. I was noodling around last nite looking for economic charts and data and found a ton at www.stateofworkingamerica.org so I'll just throw it in here. The presentation isn't anywhere near as attractive as the ones linked above but they cover a huge range and include international comparisons in Chapter 8.
Some examples:
Table 3.2: Trends in average wages and average hours, 1967-2006 (2007 dollars)
Table 4.4: Unemployment rates by gender, race, and educational status (25 years or older), 1992-2007
Figure 6C: Poverty rates by race/ethnicity, 1973-2006
Figure 7O: Percent of adults going without needed health care due to costs, 2004
Table 8.8: Employment rates by gender, 1979-2006

WRT clicking their links, download = display in browser.
posted by vapidave at 2:21 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Correction: a chart I saw was mislabeled. FL and TX have sales tax but no income tax. Make it New Mexico then.
posted by jock@law at 2:24 PM on December 23, 2009


A. There is no such thing as a "death tax." Please show me a statute that says people must pay a tax when they die.

Nonsense. Of course there's a death tax: 100%. But it ain't imposed by congress.

You can't take it with ya.
posted by Zalzidrax at 3:44 PM on December 23, 2009


Correction: a chart I saw was mislabeled. FL and TX have sales tax but no income tax. Make it New Mexico then.

Heh.
posted by kathrineg at 4:11 PM on December 23, 2009


re: Death and Taxes. Isn't this only approximate? Congress hasn't finished passing the the Fiscal year 2010 appropriations I thought?
posted by NikitaNikita at 4:42 PM on December 23, 2009


My thought process:

"Almost 47% of US households do not have to pay taxes."

1. They must be talking about income tax.
2. Holy SHIT, the US is either completely fucked or it as a really high exemption for income tax.
posted by Decimask at 6:31 PM on December 23, 2009


Okay, I'm confused. Is this a chart of people who don't pay income tax at all (i.e., they get it all refunded); or just people who don't owe any income taxes on April 15th?
posted by Target Practice at 7:00 PM on December 23, 2009


so am I paying too much or not?
posted by Balisong at 8:26 PM on December 23, 2009


Holy SHIT, the US is either completely fucked or it as a really high exemption for income tax.

Well, we used to tax the highest bracket at 90-70%, from WWII until Reagan was president. We're fucked, but not in the way you might think.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:40 PM on December 23, 2009


Well, we used to tax the highest bracket at 90-70%, from WWII until Reagan was president. We're fucked, but not in the way you might think.

what does that even mean?
posted by jock@law at 7:11 AM on December 24, 2009


I just want to point out that President Obama's requested budget for 2010 has 63% of the total being allocated for military or national security spending.

I'm really not sure how to feel about that.


Does it make you feel any different to know that the 100%, of which the DOD/DHS comprise 63%, doesn't include social security, medicare, or other mandatory programs? When you include all government spending, I think it works out to around 25% on DOD/DHS. It's still a ton of money on bombs and boarder guards that would probably serve us better in schools and preventative care, but it's not as huge as 63% of the total budget makes it sound. Some people would like to see it at zero, or close to it, but "63% of the budget" and charts like the one by Ben and Jerry are unnecessarily (and, often, intentionally) misleading.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 9:55 AM on December 24, 2009


It's hard to argue that payroll tax is regressive.

The OASDI portion (Social Security) is actually rather steeply progressive because benefits are capped, benefits as a percentage of tax paid decline with income, wealthier people's benefits are themselves subject to income tax because of returns on their already-taxed-at-least-once savings, and lower income people are far more likely to avail themselves of the disability portion of Social Security benefits (although this last may be largely neutralized in fair or complete measure by wealthier people's longer life spans ... I don't know.)

The Medicare portion cannot be thought of as regressive because it is uncapped and indeed can be considered to be progressive insofar as rich people will get a far lower return in Medicare payments received per dollar of Medicare tax paid. (And, of course, the Senate version of health care reform makes Medicare tax directly progressive with its surcharge payroll tax on high income people.)
posted by MattD at 12:21 PM on December 24, 2009


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