For the lowest quintile, average cash wages and salaries (“market income” times the percent of income from cash wages & salaries) increases from $6,721 to $11,566 — an increase of 72%, which is, substantial, percentage-wise. I have to say I didn’t believe this at first. I thought I had read the wrong lines or columns. But it’s real.
It’s quite real. I can tell you from past research that ever major tax package since Reagan (so, that’s Reagan 1 2 and 3, Clinton, Bush, and now Trump — Bush I and Obama being the only two to never pass broadbased rate adjustments) the less you earn, the larger the tax cut you got ON A PERCENTAGE BASIS. The bulk of the tax cut DOLLARS always went to the rich, but when you figured it out based on a percentage, it was always the poor that made out the best.
And right, we’re the only OECD nation that taxes our lowest earners at a negative rate. (Basically, we use the tax code as a supplemental welfare system. That started, pretty much, with the Clinton package.)
What you discovered is that gross wage is a horrible way to determine where the income growth is ending up. You have to look at net wage after all taxes and adjustments, which essentially means taking your years net wage from your tax form bottom line and seeing how that compares with your gross wage on the W2, over time.
Bottom line is that politics and the tax code have not treated our low income earners badly, not by a long shot. They would be taxed more in every OECD nation I am aware of.