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The Cruelest Tax Of All

Watts Up With That?

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

A “progressive” tax is one where the wealthier you are the higher percentage of tax you pay. On the other hand, I’ve said before that a tax on energy, the so-called “carbon tax”, is one of the most regressive taxes available. It is the reverse of progressive, it hits the poor the hardest. This is because poor people spend a larger percentage of their income on energy than do rich people.

Someone challenged me on this claim about energy taxes the other day, and I realized I believed it without ever checking it … bad Willis, no cookies. So of course, having had that thought I had to take a look.

The Energy Information Agency (EIA) collects data on this, with the exception of gasoline usage. I got the most recent data, for 2009. (Excel workbook). Gasoline usage figures are here from the Bureau…

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