Mike Cosgrove, Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business
"Research in Progress: U.S. Economic Sustainability Through Growth"
In the Author's Words
Sixty percent of U.S. households receive, on average, $3.10 in transfers for each
dollar paid in Federal taxes. The other 40% of households get back $0.31in transfers
for each dollar of Federal taxes paid. Federal taxes, as used here, comprise tax revenue
from the Federal income tax, payroll tax, corporate income tax and excise tax for
the year 2013 as outlined in the June 8, 2016 Congressional Budget Office report.
This is not saying that 60% of U.S. households do not pay Federal taxes. Most do pay
Federal taxes but government transfers exceed the value of the Federal taxes paid.
Transfers include cash payments from programs like Social Security, Supplemental Security
Income and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. CBO also includes the estimated
value of in-kind benefits from programs like Medicaid, housing assistance, energy
assistance and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program vouchers.
In perspective, in 1979, 80% of households paid positive net Federal taxes and only
20% of households received more in government transfers than they paid in Federal
taxes. Between 1979 and 2013 the U.S. transitioned to a much larger and more comprehensive
income redistribution system. To sustain the current degree of income redistribution,
in the face of large entitlement increases in future years, economic policies need
to enhance incentives to save, invest, work and grow incomes and, as a result, generate
Federal tax revenues.
Faculty Profile: Mike Cosgrove