Unexpectedly Intriguing!
May 20, 2008

Ready for a public policy version of the popular game show? Let's get started with the answer - stand by to select the correct question!:

Answer: Between 7.2 and 8.8 Percent of GDP

And now the questions:

  1. How much money can the government reasonably expect to collect in any given year from today's personal income tax rate structure?

  2. If personal income taxes were raised to the levels of the 1950s, as suggested might be necessary to support the level of benefits promised under current law by a recent CBO study (HT: Greg Mankiw for the pointer), how much will the government collect once the higher taxes are fully phased in?

The clock's ticking! Have you selected a question to go with the answer?

Before you commit yourself to your question, here is a really nice discussion that helps explain why the results are as they are. (Note: The higher percentage of GDP identified in the article represents the results of collecting taxes from all sources, not just personal income taxes.)

Did you get it right? And if you don't believe the answer, maybe you should take some time to explain why the evidence doesn't back you up....


About Political Calculations

Welcome to the blogosphere's toolchest! Here, unlike other blogs dedicated to analyzing current events, we create easy-to-use, simple tools to do the math related to them so you can get in on the action too! If you would like to learn more about these tools, or if you would like to contribute ideas to develop for this blog, please e-mail us at:

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