Walter E. Williams
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Aside from the fairness issue, 47 percent of taxpayers having no federal income tax liability is dangerous for our nation. These people become natural constituents for big-spending, budget-wrecking, debt-creating politicians. After all, if you have no income tax liability, what do you care about either raising or lowering taxes? That might explain why the so-called Bush tax cuts were not more popular. If you're not paying income taxes, why should you be happy about an income tax cut? Instead, you might view tax cuts as a threat to various handout programs that nearly 50 percent of Americans enjoy.

Tax demagoguery is useful for politicians who prey on the politics of envy to get re-elected, but is it good for Americans? We're witnessing the disastrous effects of massive spending in Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal and other European countries where a greater number of people live off of government welfare programs than pay taxes. Government debt in Greece is 160 percent of gross domestic product, 120 percent in Italy, 104 in Ireland and 106 in Portugal.

Here's the question for us: Is the U.S. moving toward or away from the troubled EU nations? It turns out that our national debt to GDP ratio in the 1970s was 35 percent; now it's 106 percent of GDP. If you think we're immune from the economic chaos in some of the EU countries, you're whistling Dixie. And when economic chaos comes, whom do you think will be more affected by it: rich people or poor people?

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Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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