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U.S. Government Receipts as Percent of GDP

Sunday, July 17, 2011
U.S. Government Receipts as Percent of GDP
by CalculatedRisk
on 7/17/2011 05:05:00 PM

Several readers have asked me for source data on U.S. government receipts and outlays. I’ve also been asked if receipts are really near a record low since WWII as a percent of GDP.

First, here is the budget data from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Under “Supplemental Material”, the CBO provides historical budget data in both PDF and excel formats.

The White House also provides historical data on budget receipts and outlays. This is from the CBO for 2010 and earlier.

The data shows that total receipts are near a record low as a percent of GDP since WWII. The record low was in 1950, and it will be close this year (in fiscal 2011). But that masks some significant change in the mix of receipts.

The following graph shows receipts by source as a percent of GDP since WWII.

Both income (blue) and corporate taxes (red) are near record lows. Combined income and corporate taxes could rise almost 50% (as a percent of GDP) and receipts would still only be at the median for the 50 years from 1946 through 1996

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