Fully going over the fiscal cliff would be the largest tax increase since World War II, according to the Tax Foundation and will result in the highest top tax rates in decades. They’ve composed a chart tracking marginal rates since 1954. Take a look at the end, and the size of the jump projected in tax rates:
Keep in mind that as rates have come down, average tax revenue has stayed roughly the same. Reforms to the U.S. tax code have given us one of the most – if not the single most – progressive tax system in the world. In the past 30 years, the average effective federal tax rate has dropped proportionally much more for the poor and the middle class than for “the rich.”
As the Tax Foundation notes:
[The fiscal cliff] will result in the highest tax rate on individual income (39.6 percent) since 2000, the highest tax rate on capital gains (23.8 percent) since 1997, and the highest tax rate on dividends (43.4 percent) since 1986.