Chart Detail

Effect of tax policies on each household income group's share of total income, 1979 and 2007, and the difference needed in 2007 to preserve 1979 post-tax shares

* This shows the degree to which the tax system would have needed to increase 2007 pre-tax income shares to keep each group's share of post-tax income stable from 1979 to 2007, given the increasing inequality of pretax income over this period.

Note: Data are for comprehensive income. The changes in the difference needed in 2007 to preserve 1979 post-tax shares do not sum to zero due to the presence of negative-income households in CBO data.

Source: Authors' analysis of Congressional Budget Office (2010 and 2010b)

Updated June 19, 2012

Documentation and methodology

Underlying data are from the Congressional Budget Office,
Average Federal Taxes by Income Group, “Average Federal Tax Rates for All Households, by Comprehensive Household Income Quintile, 1979–2007”and “Sources of Income for All Households, by Household Income Category, 1979 to 2007” [Excel Spreadsheets].

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