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What It Means That 47% Pay No Income Taxes

In a poll released today, Rasmussen Reports™ writes, “Sixty-six percent (66%) believe that America is overtaxed. Only 25% disagree.” What will likely surprise many liberals, Rasmussen also reports, “Lower income voters are more likely than others to believe the nation is overtaxed.”

The Rasmussen poll comes on top of a report last week from the Tax Foundation showing that Friday, April 9 was Tax Freedom Day® 2010, which we growled about last Wednesday. With April 15 fast approaching, an Associated Press story, posted at Breitbart, reports:

“Tax Day is a dreaded deadline for millions, but for nearly half of U.S. households it's simply somebody else's problem.

"About 47 percent will pay no federal income taxes at all for 2009. Either their incomes were too low, or they qualified for enough credits, deductions and exemptions to eliminate their liability. That's according to projections by the Tax Policy Center, a Washington research organization.”

Leave it to the inimitable Mark Steyn, however, to make the numbers perfectly clear. In an essay at National Review Online, Steyn writes:

“By 2012, America could be holding the first federal election in which a majority of the population will be able to vote themselves more government lollipops paid for by the ever shrinking minority of the population still dumb enough to be net contributors to the federal treasury. In less than a quarter-millennium, the American Revolution will have evolved from “No taxation without representation” to representation without taxation. We have bigger government, bigger bureaucracy, bigger spending, bigger deficits, and bigger debt, and yet an ever smaller proportion of citizens paying for it.”

Which brings us to liberty, and how it is affected by taxation. As Jonah Goldberg pointed out in a USA Today op-ed last week:

“Individual liberty is far from the only concern, either. The kind of country we want to be is deeply bound up in taxation. The Tax Foundation estimates that some 60% of American families already get more from the government than they pay in taxes (and the top 10% of earners pay more than 70% of the income taxes). If all of President Obama's plans are enacted, that percentage will increase. We are heading toward being a country where instead of the people deciding how much money the government should have, the government decides how much money the people should have.”

The concluding paragraph of Mark Steyn's essay pretty much puts a final touch on where the nation is headed if we don't clean-up our current tax system:

“We are now not merely disincentivizing economic energy but actively waging war on it. If 51 percent can vote themselves government lollipops from the other 49 percent, soon 60 percent will be shaking down the remaining 40 percent, and then 70 percent will be sticking it to the remaining 30 percent. How low can it go? When you think about it, that 53 percent of American households props up not just this country but half the planet: They effectively pick up the defense tab for our wealthiest allies, so that Germany, Japan, and others can maintain minimal militaries and lavish the savings on cradle-to-grave entitlements. A relatively tiny group of people is writing the check for the entire global order. What proportion of them would need to figure out that the game’s no longer worth it to bring the whole system crashing down?”

p.s., For more details on who pays income taxes, and how much, visit the National Taxpayers Union “Tax Basics” webpage. Note especially how the numbers change from year to year.


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