The 47% is Now 43% and Falling

Remember the 47%? Well, my colleagues at the Tax Policy Center just updated the numbers. For 2013, they estimate that the fraction of Americans not paying any federal income tax is down to 43%. Why? Because the economy is recovering and tax cut stimulus has ebbed. A decade from now, they predict, it will be 34%.

Bob Williams, the Sol Price Fellow at the Urban Institute, explains the number in this video. Key point: the 43% may not pay any federal income tax, but that doesn’t mean they don’t pay taxes:

5 thoughts on “The 47% is Now 43% and Falling”

  1. That 47% canard is such a pile of BS. Strictly speaking it was true, but the reality was so distorted. The fact is, only 10% of the national income goes to the bottom 50% of the income distribution. That is, the lower half of the population receives 10% of the total income while the upper half receives 90%. So people are outraged that the these poor folks are not paying in? And we’re talking about income taxes only here – this doesn’t account for payroll, sales taxes, excise taxes, etc that they contribute.

    And then we need to go back in time and examine the history of the income tax. When it was introduced in 1913 only those with an inflation adjusted income above $75,000 – about 3% of the population – had to pay. Up to WWII the percentage of the population that paid any income tax was less than 20%. So we’ve come a long way in tax equality. And the party of low taxes seems to say we should tax poor people even more to make the system fairer. What a bunch of crap!

  2. I fall into the camp that I think everyone should be paying income tax if they are earning an income; even if it was as little as 1 to 3 percent of their income. Everyone benefits from national defense, education, national parks, etc, so everyone should help pay the bill.

    And I think the comments that even if people don’t pay income tax, they still pay a host of other taxes – I look at it from the other view point. High income earners are often paying 35 percent federal, 10 percent state income taxes PLUS all of those other taxes like payroll, sales, gasoline, property, etc. Asking them to pick up more of the slack is insulting.

  3. I think the wealthy can well put up with more of these “insults” as opposed to taking away money used for food, shelter, and clothing from poor people who are spending every last dollar they make on basic necessities.

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