If you paid any taxes this year, you’re a minority. Forty percent of the country’s households — more than 44 million adults do not pay taxes.
In The Taxpaying Minority, former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer wrote, if “you find 100 people standing on the sidewalk [dropping off their taxes, forty] of them will be excused from paying income taxes thanks to Congress. Twenty of them, the middle class, will pay barely a thing. The 40 people who remain, the upper middle class and the wealthy, will pay nearly all of the income taxes.”
Remember, the “middle class” is not you anymore. The middle class now consists of single people or single parents with one income. The traditional “middle class” from 50 years ago (Dad, mom, two kids, a dog, car, and a home.) is now the upper class because the traditional middle class family now has two incomes. (See “Changing Demographics of the ‘Middle Class’: Married Couples with Children No Longer in Statistical ‘Middle Class.’ )
Ari continues: “Look at that crowd again and find the richest person there. That individual will pay 37% of all the income taxes owed by those 100 people. The 10 richest people in the crowd will pay 71% of the income-tax bill. The 40 most successful people will pay 99% of everyone’s income taxes.”
This phenomenon is a natural result of a democratic form of government ruling a people who have a diminishing sense of personal responsibility. From a purely pragmatic perspective, why did bike helmet laws pass on the ballot box in California years ago? Because the law applied only to those under 18. The law didn’t affect voters, therefore, they could pass the law without feeling any personal consequences. California voters have passed two tax increases by initiative over the past few years. Why? The first passed because it applied only to the “rich” (those making more than $500,000.). Lo and behold, it only applied to a little over 200 people. Funny how millions of voters can impose a tax on 200.
The next tax increase lowered the bar. It defined “rich” as those making more than $150,000. Those could be my friends, my neighbors, my boss. They aren’t wealthy people and, in California, $150,000 isn’t too much to live on.
It is a sad day when voters make decisions simply because they will feel no personal consequences.