A sharp decline in income — especially among the wealthiest Americans, who pay the highest tax rates — also played a role, according to the report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Household income fell 12 percent on average from 2007 to 2009, with income among the top 1 percent of earners decreasing by more than a third.

Still, at the very moment anti-tax protesters were emerging as the most powerful force in American politics, handing Republicans landslide control of the U.S. House, the data show that people were sending the smallest portion of their income to the federal government since 1979…

The tax burden — which includes all forms of federal levies, including income, payroll and corporate taxes — lightened for households across the board, the result in part of Obama’s signature “Making Work Pay” tax credit and other tax cuts passed as part of the 2009 economic stimulus package, the CBO said.