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Myth: Half of Americans Don't Pay Federal Taxes


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Myth: Half of Americans Don't Pay Federal Taxes


MARCH 7, 2016 Ryan McMaken


It's getting near tax time, again, and the conservative press is busy repeating Mitt Romney's favorite hobby-horse, namely, that nearly half of Americans don't pay enough in taxes.


This drive for driving up the nation's tax burden usually originates with the contention that "only" 55 percent of Americans pay income taxes, and then proceeds from that to the insistence that more people pay taxes. Just last week, Investor's Business Daily complained about the relative dearth of taxpayers, contending that "All of us need to share in the misery of filing and paying income taxes."


How things have changed. Once upon a time, the income tax was sold as a tax primarily for rich people, and — the people were told — ordinary folks would never pay more than one or two percent. The assumption was that any expansion of the income tax would be a betrayal. Scissors-32x32.png

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