April 10, 2010

TAX CONSUMPTION, NOT INCOME:

Tax Season: For an increasing number of Americans, tax season is like baseball season: It’s a spectator sport. (Mark Steyn, 4/10/10, National Review)

[F]or an increasing number of Americans, tax season is like baseball season: It’s a spectator sport. According to the Tax Policy Center, for the year 2009, 47 percent of U.S. households will pay no federal income tax. Obviously, many of them pay other kinds of taxes — state tax, property tax, cigarette tax. But at a time of massive increases in federal spending, half the country is effectively making no contribution to it, whether it’s national defense or vital stimulus funding to pump monkeys in North Carolina full of cocaine (true, seriously, but don’t ask me why). Half a decade back, it was just under 40 percent who paid no federal income tax; now it’s just under 50 percent. 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.

The top 5 percent of taxpayers contribute 60 percent of revenue. The top 10 percent provide 75 percent. Another 40-odd percent make up the rest. And half are exempt. This isn’t redistribution — a “leveling” to address the “maldistribution” of income, as Sen. Max Baucus (D., Kleptocristan) put it the other day. It isn’t even “spreading the wealth around,” as then-senator Obama put it in an unfortunate off-the-prompter moment during the 2008 campaign. Rather, it’s an assault on the moral legitimacy of the system. If you accept the principle of a tax on income, it might seem reasonable to exclude the very poor from having to contribute to it. But in no meaningful sense of the term can half the country be considered “poor.”


Don't accept the principle.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 10, 2010 6:54 AM
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