But they don't pay no taxes. They pay no federal income taxes, which is a large chunk but far from all. Their employers have to pay payroll taxes for their job. They have to pay social security and medicare taxes, state taxes, gasoline taxes, and even property taxes via landlords indirectly.
A large percentage of the people who pay no federal income tax are at or below the poverty level. Elderly people receiving some social security benefits that are not taxed, or the working poor. I am not sure a moral argument can be made that these people should be pushed further into poverty to the benefit of those above them on the ladder.
Of the much much smaller percentage who pay no payroll nor income tax, nearly all are elderly or make below $20k/year.
That said, I feel like it is worth making a few other points:
* The government should not be taxing people who don't have kids. This is, effectively, what is going on with the child tax credit. No kids, higher taxes. I often wonder how many people opposed to the penalties for not having insurance in Obamacare because it is an invasion of personal liberty would feel if they realized the government is already actually in their bedroom...
* I think the fact that many poor or near-poor people pay *zero* federal income tax rather than *extremely low* likely is detrimental to their cause because it allows this takers argument to exist.
* Ronald Reagan strongly supported the Earned Income Tax Credit, which he called a “sweeping victory for fairness” and “perhaps the biggest antipoverty program in our history.” This is a big reason a large % of the "takers" exist. Tt would be good for the more socially conservative to recognize that helping the poor and others was the prime directive of Jesus.
* People seem to forget that medicare and social security count as "taking", but are worthy programs with near-universal praise. There is definitely an information gap that exists where people don't understand the benefits their taxes go to fund.
* There is a high correlation between states that pay more than they get back from the federal government and their tendency to vote democratic for president, and the opposite.
* Calling this an "experiment" is ignoring vast swaths of human history both via government and organized religion and tithing.
I want to make sure people didn't miss what I feel is one of the most important facts in this whole debate that I mentioned earlier: Americans both support the concept of smaller government in the abstract, and support the specific programs it provides and are costing the most money. *Both* sides have a *legitimate* claim to popular opinion on the budget, and exploit this regularly. Those on the right need to understand that the abstract argument isn't intellectually honest. Those on the left need to understand that the position that we can afford the current track is intellectually dishonest as well. This will only get harder and more painful to solve as time goes on.
(Edited to make it not appear as if i was suggesting not following Jesus was somehow causing the takers problem)
Last edited by mmcnulty; 03-24-2013 at 10:47 AM.