Anti-tax protesters were a major political force in 2009—which also happens to be the year Americans paid the lowest share of their income to the federal government in at least 30 years, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. A CBO analysis released yesterday found that the average tax rate in 2009 dropped to 17.4%. The previous average low since the data series began in 1979 was 2003's 19.4%, the Washington Post reports. The only group whose tax rate went up in 2009 was the top 1%, who saw a slight rise to 28.9%, the Wall Street Journal notes.
The CBO gave two reasons for the drop: falling income levels caused by the recession and tax cuts introduced by Obama to combat the recession. No prizes for guessing which parts of the analysis Democrats and Republicans chose to highlight. "The facts speak for themselves: Tax rates have never been lower than under President Obama," said the senior Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee. Under Obama, "Americans have lost their jobs, seen their wages decline, and fallen into lower tax brackets," countered a rep for the committee's Republican chair. (Read more taxation stories.)