Tax Rates on All T-Securities Now Exceed 100%

For the first time I can recall the tax rate on all T-securities (for someone in a 33% income tax bracket) exceeds 100%.  Even for the 30 year bond.  For 10 year T-bonds the tax rate is now nearly 1000%!  For 5 year T-notes the tax rate is now infinite—because the real yield of 5 year notes is now negative.

For those who don’t know how to compute tax rates, here’s an example:

The 10 year bond yields 2.05%.  Someone in the 33% bracket would pay 0.6765% of that in taxes.  But the real yield on the 10 year TIPS is only .07%.  So the tax is nearly 10 times the real yield.  Hence the tax rate is nearly 1000% (actually 966%.)

Tax rates are also extraordinarily high on corporate and muni bonds.  Even the tax on equities is far higher than the advertised rate.  And these calculations ignore the fact that (under an income tax) savings are double taxed.  The actual tax rates (relative to consumption) are still higher.

Of course you’d never find any of this out reading progressive blogs.  They still prattle on about how Buffett pays lower taxes than his secretary.  About how we can solve our problems by piling ever higher taxes on capitalists.  Liberal discourse on taxes is about as reality-based as conservative discussion of global warming.

We really need to switch to a progressive consumption tax.

About Scott Sumner 490 Articles

Affiliation: Bentley University

Scott Sumner has taught economics at Bentley University for the past 27 years.

He earned a BA in economics at Wisconsin and a PhD at University of Chicago.

Professor Sumner's current research topics include monetary policy targets and the Great Depression. His areas of interest are macroeconomics, monetary theory and policy, and history of economic thought.

Professor Sumner has published articles in the Journal of Political Economy, the Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, and the Bulletin of Economic Research.

Visit: TheMoneyIllusion

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