Econoquiz: How High Are U.S. Taxes?

Test how well you understand the McCain and Obama tax ideas.

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Name a tax, and chances are either Barack Obama or John McCain wants to change it. Obama wants to cut income taxes on lower earners, raise taxes on others, and give Americans an energy rebate funded by a new windfall tax on oil companies. McCain wants to cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent, and extend the 2001 Bush tax cuts, which lowered rates on higher earners and are set to expire in 2010.

Good or bad? For many Americans, it's hard to know what to think of these various proposals, since the U.S. tax structure is so arcane. Here's a quiz to test your tax IQ:

  1. Out of 30 industrialized countries, the total U.S. corporate-tax rate, including federal and state taxes, ranks where?
    1. Out of 30 industrialized countries, the personal income-tax rate for an average American wage earner, including all government taxes, ranks where?
      1. Which company paid the most income tax in 2007?
        1. Which of the 10 biggest U.S. companies earned a profit in 2007 but paid no taxes?
          1. Of 30 industrialized countries, the lowest corporate-tax rate is in:
            1. The highest average personal income-tax rate is in:
              1. Companies also pay payroll taxes for each employee, mostly as their contribution to Social Security costs. The total combined employee/employer tax payment is highest in:
                1. Of the 10 largest U.S. companies, how many had an effective tax rate in 2007 higher than the average of 39.25 percent?
                  1. Of the 10 biggest U.S. companies that earned a profit in 2007, which had the lowest effective tax rate?
                    1. Of 30 industrialized countries, taxes on wealthy individuals are highest in:
                      1. See answers »

                        corporate taxes
                        federal taxes
                        • Rick Newman

                          Rick Newman is the author of Rebounders: How Winners Pivot From Setback to Success and the co-author of two other books. Follow him on Twitter or e-mail him at

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