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: Tax Policy & Budget

Chart Mar 14, 2013

Debt-to-GDP Ratio under Various Policy Assumptions, 2012-2023

Over the next ten years, approximately $4 trillion of deficit reduction are set to take place through the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA) the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) and the sequestration, which went into effect on March 1, 2013. This graph, from the introduction of The Hamilton Project’s 15 Ways to Rethink the Federal Budget shows how these policies are projected to affect the debt-to-GDP ratio over the next decade. 

Chart May 3, 2012

Federal Spending vs. Tax Expenditures: Total tax expenditures are greater than many critical spending programs

One of the primary reasons America’s tax revenues remain low relative to other industrialized countries is our use of special tax preferences, or “tax expenditures,” that provide individuals and businesses with opportunities to reduce their tax bills by undertaking certain actions. The magnitude of tax expenditures is comparable to the largest government spending programs; in total, they are about 8 percent of GDP.

Chart May 3, 2012

Before-Tax Profits Required to Pay $1 to Investors Across Sectors: Industry-specific tax breaks incentivize investment in specific industries.

This chart shows how different effective corporate tax rates translate into pretax profitability. Companies in high-tax industries, such as steel, trucking, or utilities, must earn more than $1.40 in before-tax profits, on average, to return $1 to investors. On the other hand, companies in low-tax industries, such as biotechnology and Internet services and software, need to earn less than $1.20.