When We're NOT All In It Together

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Apr 08, 2010 12:35 PM
This report includes a disturbing statistic: Nearly half of Americans pay no federal income tax.  That's right.  Not one penny.

This situation was created by Republicans and Democrats alike -- most of them well-meaning people, no doubt, who were able to stimulate the economy by cutting tax rates for high earners, in exchange for eliminating taxes for lower earners.

But at a certain point, the disparity -- not in wealth (which is addressed by the heavily graduated progressive income tax), but in obligation to government -- becomes disturbing.  Theoretically, we could eventually come to the point where "democracy" simply becomes an exercise in which a majority of citizens support tax increases that they, themselves, will never have to pay -- while the productive minority spends ever more of their time and effort to amass the money that ends up going to the government.

That's not the America I know.  And it strikes me that -- no matter how symbolic and tiny -- every American should be paying something, however small, on tax day.  That's just to remind all of us that government isn't free, and that we're all supposed to be in it together.