President Obama said during the campaign, “How many people here know that not only did we cut your taxes when I first came into office, but back in December we just cut your taxes again? Taxes are lower now than they have been in a generation. Taxes are a lot lower now than they were under Ronald Reagan. They’re lower than they were under Bill Clinton. They’re lower than they were under George Bush, in many cases."
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or as often referred to “stimulus act” passed in 2009, contained $237 billion in tax cuts for individuals and $51 billion for businesses. This included a payroll tax credit of $116 billion for those earning less than $75,000.
So, why didn't a lot of people know that? Well, they weren't exactly crowing about it on Rush Limbaugh or FOX News for one thing. But also, workers were paying a little less each week in their payroll taxes, which may be why they didn’t notice the extra money like they did when stimulus checks were sent out under President George W. Bush. A national poll indicated that fewer than 10 percent of people knew that their taxes had been lowered. Being a low information voter didn't help matters much.
The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimated that the cuts saved 97 percent of U.S. households an average of $1,179 in 2009, and the program was extended in 2010.
The budget compromise with Republicans at the end of 2010 also ended up meaning lower taxes for about 80 percent of taxpayers, according to the Tax Policy Center.
The Tax Policy Center last week released an analysis called “Historical Federal Income Tax Rates for a Family of Four.” It looked at the average income tax rate based on the median income for a family of four from 1955 through 2010.
They found an average income tax rate under Reagan (1983) was 11.06%, Clinton (1992) was 9.18% and under President Obama in 2010, it was 4.68%.
So, for the vast majority of Americans, taxes were lowered through the stimulus package passed in 2009 and extended to 2010, and they were also lowered in the tax compromise between Obama and Republicans. Current rates are at historic lows compared with ones from 1955 — when the numbers started being tracked — through 2007.
Those are the facts.