‘Free Riders’ in America
Mark Steyn of the National Review Online wrote a brilliant column recently. He noted that for more and more Americans the tax season has become a “spectator sport”. The Tax Policy Center says that for the 2009 tax year 47% of Americans will not pay a single penny of federal income tax. While they may pay state, property and FICA it still remains true that almost half the country is making a ZERO contribution to help pay for all the expensive services the federal government is providing.
Within a few years this percentage of ‘non-taxpayers’ is likely to handily exceed 50% of the population [not even taking into account illegal aliens who don't file tax returns anyway].
When you personally owe no federal income tax then every program is ‘free’ to you and you have no concerns over tax rates or wasteful spending since it never affects you except in determining what you are receiving. To these non-taxpayers every new entitlement is a good entitlement.
Our founding fathers knew better. Originally, only landowners voted as our founders understood that only the people that pay the bills should decide how to spend the money. Today with half the voters only on the receiving end we’ve gone completely the wrong way. Indeed, that was the entire 2008 presidential campaign in a nutshell… “Vote for me and I’ll only increase taxes on those making $250,000 and up. Everybody else will pay less than they do now.”
That big lie, in a time of extreme economic distress, was enough to swing the election. Unfortunately, to the detriment of our country.
In the latest tax year the top 10% of the population paid 75% of all federal taxes. In the less than 250 years since the American Revolution Mark Steyn notes that, for about half our population, it’s already gone from “no taxation without representation” to “representation without taxation”.