Business, Economics and Jobs

Americans paid lowest tax rates in 30 years in 2009


US President Barack Obama speaks about middle class tax relief during a campaign event at Kirkwood Recreation Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, July 10, 2012.


Saul Loeb

Americans paid their lowest tax rates in 30 years in 2009, Obama's first year in office, according to a new report by the Congressional Budget Office.

The non-partisan organization's report found that the average tax rate in the United States in 2009 was 17.4 percent, the country's lowest average since 1979. It was also lower than 2007's average of 19.9 percent, Slate reported.

The recession that hit America and cut back income across the economic spectrum is largely responsible for the drop in taxation, Politico reported. From 2007 to 2009, household income fell an average of 12 percent, the Washington Post reported

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People with the highest incomes were hit the hardest by the economic downturn, according to Politico: while those in the four lowest quintiles of income saw their average income before taxes drop by five percent or less, America's wealthiest 20 percent saw an 18-percent drop in their income. Those with earnings in the top 1 percent lost 36 percent of their income, Politico reported.

Those in the lowest quintile paid just one percent of their income to the federal government in 2009, down from 5.1 percent in 2007. The richest Americans gave the government 23.2 percent, compared with 24.7 percent in 2007, according to the reported. 

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Ironically, 2009 was the year that anti-tax protesters gave Republicans control of the House and protested the White House's tax policies, as the Post pointed out. 

“However much Republicans try to perpetuate false claims, the facts speak for themselves: Tax rates have never been lower than under President Obama,” Michigan Representative Sander M. Levin, the senior Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, told the Washington Post.