In advance of the April 15 tax deadline, the conservative media have complained that, according to a Tax Policy Center report, 47 percent of households pay no federal income taxes. These complaints come despite the fact that the vast majority of these households pay other taxes.
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Nearly half of U.S. households pay no federal income taxes, but most pay other taxes
Tax Policy Center: 47 percent of U.S. households will pay no federal income tax this year. In a June 29, 2009, report, the Tax Policy Center (TPC) stated that "[e]arlier this year, [President] Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5), which, among other things, temporarily put into place some of the refundable credits proposed during the campaign. TPC estimates that under the new law, 47 percent of tax units will owe no income tax in 2009." The Associated Press cited that statistic in an April 7 article, noting that "their incomes were too low, or they qualified for enough credits, deductions and exemptions to eliminate their liability."
AP: "[V]ast majority of people who escape federal income taxes still pay other taxes." The AP further wrote that "[t]he vast majority of people who escape federal income taxes still pay other taxes, including federal payroll taxes that fund Social Security and Medicare, and excise taxes on gasoline, aviation, alcohol and cigarettes. Many also pay state or local taxes on sales, income and property."
Conservative media apparently object to tax cuts and credits for poor and middle class
Drudge: "Rob Thy Neighbor: Half of Households Pay No Fed Income Tax." On April 7, the Drudge Report linked to the AP article with the headline, "Rob Thy Neighbor: Half of Households Pay No Fed Income Tax." From the Drudge Report:
Fox Nation: "Fair? Half the Country Doesn't Pay Income Tax." The Fox Nation also linked to the AP article with the headline, "Fair? Half the Country Doesn't Pay Income Tax."
Fox & Friends: "Is that fair?" On the April 9 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, after co-host Gretchen Carlson stated that "yesterday we were reporting a story that 47 percent of all Americans don't pay any taxes," Fox Business host Stuart Varney stated: "Yes, 47 percent of households pay not a single dime in taxes. And some of those households actually make a profit from the Treasury." Co-host Steve Doocy asked, "Is that fair?"
Greta Van Susteren: "Is it fair for half the country to be paying all the federal income tax?" On the April 7 edition of Fox News' On the Record, host Greta Van Susteren noted the report and said, "Is it fair for half the country to be paying all the federal income tax?" Her guest, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), said: "You're talking about people who are, you know, earning $50,000 a year who have kids, four kids. And they -- because of deductions and other things, they don't pay any income tax, and they may be eligible for a refundable tax credit above the fact that they don't pay any income taxes. ... [W]hen you reach the point where people feel like they don't have to pay anything and they're getting money out of the Treasury for nothing, then there's no end to the amount of government that people want."
Sean Hannity: '[I]t seems like, at this point, what incentive is there going to be for the people that are paying taxes?" On the April 8 edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity said: "But there was a big report today. It came up on the AP. It was the Drudge headline last night before I went to bed. And I got here in Grand Rapids, and I'm reading the Internet, and 50 percent of Americans no longer pay taxes. They don't pay income taxes. So we -- and it seems like, at this point, what incentive is there going to be for the people that are paying taxes?"
Las Vegas Review Journal: "[W]hen people get something for nothing, they have every incentive to continue voting to forward the bills for their goodies to someone else." In an April 9 editorial, the Las Vegas Review-Journal stated of the statistic: "[W]hen people get something for nothing, they have every incentive to continue voting to forward the bills for their goodies to someone else. ... That's maddening for the dwindling taxpaying majority, especially those who make just enough to have to pay income taxes. For if their sentiments are tilted in the wrong direction and they demand to join the freeloading crowd, how soon before only 40 percent have to pay? How long before Tax Day is a headache for only 30 percent?"