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Wisconsin and California Show that Local Taxes are a Political Death Trap

Federal (Left-hand scale) vs. State+Local (Right-hand scale) Tax Collections

Source: Census Bureau

Because it's easier to push up property tax rates than to pass new sales or income taxes, that's where the incremental tax burden has fallen.

Property Taxes as a % of Total State and Local Tax Collections

Source: Census Bureau

State and local governments are standing on the sore toe of the American middle class--the housing market. It's much worse than under the Carter administration. During the 1970s, home prices tripled while consumer prices doubled, so the net worth of the middle class actually rose. Now the 30% collapse in housing prices has wiped out the net worth of perhaps half of American middle-class families, at a moment when less of the population is working than at any time since the data have been kept:

Graph of Employment-Population Ratio - Men