"Nearly half of Americans don't pay taxes?" - Why that should make us mad!

    No doubt many of us have heard by now that nearly half of all Americans pay no taxes. Now, of course, an easy response to that is to correct that statement by pointing out that all Americans pay taxes, but that still leaves the statement that nearly half of all Americans pay no federal income taxes as being true.

    It is true, and it should make us madder than it makes the conservatives.

    Why? Because of the reasons that this is true. Consider this: the percentage of Americans who don't pay federal income taxes actually increased during the Bush administration under a Republican congress. Why is that? Is it because Bush and the Republicans are looking to give lower income people a break? Right.

    The reason that fewer people are paying federal income taxes these days is because median wages are falling while mean wages are rising. Another way of saying that is the old expression that the rich get richer while the poor get poorer. That the mean wages are rising means that the rich are getting richer faster than the poor get poorer. Yay for them. That the median wages are falling means that more than half of us make up that poor who are getting poorer. That's what should make us mad.

    So, the next time someone complains to you about having to shoulder more than their "fair" share of the tax burden, tell them to blame their employer for paying them too much. I'm sure lots of people would love to have that problem to complain about.


    If we're going to discuss this, one needs to address what is reasonable to expect in terms of a citizen's duty to support their government.  The median household income has dropped, but for the most part it has remained stagnant and the significant drop has to do with buying power of those dollars.  In 1984-1986 avg, it was $45,000.  The 2007-2009 avg was $50,618, which down from the 2006-2008 average of $51,118.  But a question that has to be answered, if take that perfectly on the median family, who is saw their income drop from to just above 51K to just below 51K, should we expect them to contribute a little something to the federal government?  How about the household making 40K?  Is it unreasonable that give say $500 to the federal government?  Even a household making 30K?  Could they find $50 to go to the cause?  Even if they saw their income drop from 32K?  Does it make a difference if a family who is making 30K saw their income rise from 28K or drop from 32K when we assess whether they should or should contribute something to the greater good?

    Actually under the current EITC - it is the family of four or five who makes around 30K to 40K who really get the big credit, and are in many cases receiving money from the government.  I support this (and work implementing free tax preparation sites to help them get these credits, and avoid the predators like H&R Block), but it has to be addressed head on if we're going to overcome the Repub/conservative talking points.

    Well, keep in mind, they are contributing something, it's just through other tax revenues. On a federal level, they're still paying FICA taxes, and most likely FUTA. On a state and local level they're paying SUTA, sales taxes, and property taxes (either directly or indirectly). I'm probably missing some taxes in that list, but you get the idea.

    I recall beckerhead going on and on about this calling all those who do not pay taxes NAZIs which is just one of 2,000 reasons why I hope he rots in prison or at least hell. hahahaha



    I  ran into that Lincoln memo that was discussed somewhere on this site discussing the first income tax that everyone ignores; the one instituted during the Civil War.

    And the 16th Amendment went into effect during the Taft Administration--not the Wilson Administration which makes we hope that George Wills ends up with beckerhead. Simply because Wills has no excuse and should know the true history and because beckerhead is an idiot who never escaped high school.

    You see the actual Amendment was passed during the Taft Administration by Congress with a 2/3 vote from both Houses and one month before Taft hit the great Hottub in the sky (The U.S. Supremes), that Amendment was in force!

    And I must add, I despise Wilson as a war mongerer and a racist. ha

    I have come to a crossroads or a mood swing that shall end soon...

    But I do wonder what the value of argument is? Breitbart and Boehner and McConnell and the rest of THEM simply make up their facts anyway and will dispute those non facts till the end!

    Rhetoric without regard to facts is unassailable.

    If the dunces buy the rhetoric then all is lost.

    And I believe, America is lost even though we all know it has never been found! 

    That reminds me of a story our old Pastor used to tell about a man who didn't want to tithe because the amount was so great... The Pastor said to the man, "well, son, let's get on our knees and pray that God will give you a job that doesn't pay so well!"

    It's kinda scary that we are in a downward spiral where fewer and fewer people are paying taxes because they are either unemployed or make so little money, so tax revenues decline right at the time when more and more people need help. In the meantime, the "job creators" (we don't call them the obscenely rich anymore) who are not creating any jobs, are getting job-creator-er and job-creator-er.

    People who don't make money don't pay taxes.   So, yeah, you've identified the tragedy.  All of these people should be making enough money that federal income taxes are an issue for them.  Do the Republicans who complain about this actually imagine that people are happier earning less, just to avoid paying taxes?  Heck, take it a step further.  Has anyone here who does pay income taxes ever asked their employer to pay them less to avoid the bill? Has anyone ever turned down a raise to avoid moving into a higher tax bracket?  Of course not.  Because, while, in theory, people might not work to avoid punitive taxes, our system is better designed than that.

    A choice for you.  $1 million salary a year, with every penny taxed at 50%.  Or, $100,000 a year tax free.  Sigh.  It's almost hard to continue to be part of this argument.

    Say VA:

    This is a fantastic and timely post.  I borrowed from it a bit in response to some of my more "conservative" buddies from high school on Facebook.  I like FB for reconnecting with folks, but I usually don't do politics on it.  But one of my buddies made this tax argument and so you had me fully prepped.  Thanks!



    My pleasure. Its genesis is partly inspired by a conversation I had with my (conservative) dad about the same issue. At the time, my response wasn't quite as pithy.

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