Last week, I wrote about an odd Associated Press story that seemed to imply that 47 percent of American households were freeloading. That's the percent of American families who either make so little or qualify for enough tax credits that, for now at least, they owe nothing in income tax. But that analysis ignores the payroll, state, and sales taxes that people pay.
David Leonhardt breaks it down even more, noting that, for many of these middle-income and poorer families, taxes at the local and state levels are actually regressive. And it also ignores the fact that tax rates on the wealthy have fallen more rapidly, and more wealthy households find ways around paying them.
So why are those radio and television talk show hosts spending so much time arguing that today’s wealthy are unfairly burdened? Well, it’s hard not to notice that the talk show hosts themselves tend to be among the very wealthy.
No doubt, like the rest of us, they don’t particularly enjoy paying taxes. They are happy with the tax cuts they have received lately. They would prefer if other people had to pick up the bill for Medicare, Social Security and the military — people like, say, firefighters, preschool teachers, computer support specialists, farmers, members of the clergy, mail carriers, secretaries and truck drivers.
-- Monica Potts
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