The below graph is an interesting analysis of who is paying their fair share in Federal taxes in the USA. Basically, it divides households up into quintiles, averages their taxes paid, subtracts how much in receipts back from the Federal government they receive, and determines net tax liability. The numbers are very interesting. Based on this chart, 2/3 of American households pay no net income taxes to the Federal government.
This made me curious, so I checked, and found that I am, indeed, well inside the third quintile, halfway between the mean and the top of the second quintile. We usually get close to a full refund of our federal tax each year — in some past years we got a lot more than we paid back, due to various credits. But other than that, we don’t get anything directly from the Federal government.
So where does that $9,100 figure come from? Are a lot of other people getting huge paybacks, or does it include a lot of indirect things we get benefit for, schools and such?
But either way, the rich are paying for all the paybacks to 2/3 of the country, plus everything else. Most of us aren’t supporting the government at all. Based on that, we should be doing everything in our power to help those rich get richer, so they can continue to pay more to the government to keep its largesse flowing down to the rest of us! Don’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg (a saying any good farmer would understand — unfortunately probably a good portion of the 2/3 doesn’t know anything about farming).
Now for my segue. Author David Weber in his Honor Harrington universe had an interesting voting requirement — if my memory serves, citizens of the Star Kingdom of Manticore had the right to vote if they paid more to the government in taxes than they received in distributive payments. Based on that, I probably wouldn’t be able to vote — for the federal government (state and local would be different) — but then most of the US wouldn’t be able to vote today either. Still, I like the idea that only those who pay in get to decide how to use the funds. Might make more people more willing to pay taxes, to get a say in how they are used. If it isn’t your money, who cares — but if it is, you watch it a lot closer.
Oh well, another reform that will never happen. Most likely the reverse will happen — those who pay will lose their votes, while those who swill at the trough of federal largesse will get more and more say.
(Note: graph and some of the stats taken from this article)