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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Economics, 2nd Edition by Tom Gorman

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The Government Share of the Economy

The most comparable measure of tax rates among nations is their percent of GDP. By that measure, U.S. taxes are well below those of most other countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). According to the OECD, total U.S. taxes—including state taxes—average about 28 percent of GDP, compared with about 34 percent in the rest of the OECD. Opponents of taxes compare metrics such as tax rates, but what matters is what those rates are applied to, and definitions of income vary among nations.
With 28 percent of the U.S. economy accounted for by government at all levels, private spending makes up the other 72 percent. That 28 percent figure breaks down as shown in Figure 12.1. ...

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