47% of households pay no federal income taxes

A new report from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center finds that roughly 47% of households won't end up owing any federal incomes taxes for the year 2009.

Most households earning less than $30,000 per year fall into this category, as do nearly half of those earnings between $30,000 and $40,000. Some 22% of households earning between $50,000 and $75,000 pay no income taxes, and an alarming 9% of households between $75,000 and $100,000 pay no taxes.

Those figures don't include payroll taxes.

Most people agree that a progressive tax structure makes sense: It's better to fuel government programs with cash from people who have enough than from milking people who are struggling to put food on the table.

But on the other hand: Isn't it problematic to have a democracy where 100% of households can vote on how money is spent when only 53% of households are contributing to the pot? If a larger percentage of the population paid taxes, would we be tougher on overspending in Washington?

In a country with as much income inequality -- not that there's anything wrong with that -- as the United States, the rich will always pay the overwhelming majority of taxes. But it seems that everyone -- or nearly everyone -- should pay some token amount, if only to give them an incentive to focus on how their money is being spent.

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