We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Who pays taxes? From Spread Your Own Wealth Around at Powerline:
According to the most recent (2006) data released by the IRS, the top 1 percent of filers paid nearly 40 percent of all income taxes; the top 5 percent paid 60 percent of all income taxes. The bottom 50 percent paid virtually no income taxes (3 percent of all income taxes paid).
The personal income tax, the federal government's main source of revenue, is collected overwhelmingly from a relative handful of Americans. The large majority of all Americans pay little or no income tax.
Given that poorer citizens always outnumber the rich, political philosophers have long worried that government based on majority rule could lead to organized theft from the wealthy by the democratic masses. "If the majority distributes among itself the things of a minority, it is evident that it will destroy the city," warns Aristotle.
We have turned into a two-class society: the shrinking paying class and the large receiving class. Disgruntlement ensues, because the paying class resents carrying everybody else's load, and the receiving class covers up their embarassment and shame about receiving with resentment, envy, and a trumped-up sense of entitlement: it is basic human psychology that the recipient always must resent their benefactor who, in politics, is their neighbor and compatriot.
The obvious political strategy is to increase the % that pay no taxes (or, under Obama's plan, get "refund" checks without paying taxes, aka welfare, aka vote-buying), while raising the numbers of government employees in any way you can. That's how you create a "grateful" population of spirit-crippled dependents, incentivized to work the system and to vote to their economic advantage. Obama's plan will take from the middle class and the small number of wealthy while bringing the number of non-taxpayers up to the magic number of 50%.
100 economists say it's a disastrous idea, and so do I. I believe that everybody should pay their dues so as to feel like a part of the country by contributing their sweat and to have a stake in it, but with 50% of people paying no taxes and getting checks instead, you'll never get a flat tax through. The receiving class would rebel.
The now-famous Joe the Plumber understands life better than any Dem politician, latte liberal, or academic, because he is in real life and he made it work.
The 'vast majority of Americans pay no income tax'? Can someone please kindly explain to me what that chunk of my yearly adjusted is that I never see? For the record, I am the sole earner in a 2-parent, 2-child home, earning about 62k before taxes. Does this mean I'm in a minority class? =)
I had to find something good in your post, B. It is finely written. I like this line: "That's how you create a "grateful" population of spirit-crippled dependents, incentivized to work the system and to vote to their economic advantage."
I am starting to think that we need a constitutional amendment prohibiting anybody whose income is a federal-government check from voting in federal elections: such a person has an individual, personal, financial conflict of interest when determining whom to vote for that does not exist for the general population.
The statement was that half of Americans pay "little or no" federal income tax. And most of what you see taken out of your paycheck is FICA, not income tax. Theoretically, FICA is not "tax" because you're supposedly going to get it back when you retire or are disabled -- though you'd have to be crazy to count on that.
KV- Joe The Plumber can tell you all about this one- it's FICA that you are missing, a/k/a as that cushy government retirement plan, Social Security, half of which is employer paid and half paid by the employee. The self-employed pay the entire tax including SS and Medicare, 15.2% these days, with the present (but sure to increase) cut-off at $94,200 of income. It's easy for them to just raise the income ceiling rather than the tax rate when they need more blood- that way they can say they didn't raise taxes. Bet there's a bucketful of FICA funds being "loaned" to the bailout!