Why don’t 46 percent of Americans pay federal income taxes? Poverty might have something to do with it.

One of the big Right-wing talking points for awhile now is that we don’t need to raise taxes back to previous levels – like in the 1990s, when taxes and regulations killed economic growth – but get more people paying taxes.

They make much of the Tax Policy Center report last July that noted 46 percent of Americans do not pay federal income taxes. (It is false that they pay no taxes; they still pay federal payroll taxes, local taxes, etc.) Get these deadbeats back on the tax rolls, and we can keep taxes on rich people low!

Well, it would be easier to get those folks on the tax rolls if they weren’t so poor. What the shouters on the Right tend to ignore is that about half of Americans who don’t pay federal income taxes have low incomes and are therefore not liable. Of the rest, three quarters of them because of provisions in the law that give a break to seniors and low-income working families with children.



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