Many writers (including, ahem, one guest poster to this blog) have fretted that the 47 percent of Americans who pay nothing in income taxes are freeloaders who pose a threat to the nation’s moral fabric. This worry has issued recently in the unusual spectacle of a Republican presidential candidate calling for tax increases. Not on the rich, but on the poor.
There are a few problems with this idea, but the most obvious is that Americans who pay no income taxes do pay a battery of other taxes, including sales tax, property tax, and payroll tax. Indeed, a substantial percentage of these citizens pay no income tax because of family-friendly tax reform ideas like the child credit.
It would be a shame if religiously motivated voters embraced rhetoric aimed against family-friendly policies they successfully championed in the past. As Ramesh Ponnuru warns in a new article for National Review, “worrying too much about this number will lead conservatives down an intellectual and political dead end.”
I strongly encourage you to read Ramesh’s full take.