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Tipsheet

Makers vs. the Takers: Half of Americans Not Paying Income Tax

When people at tea party rallies tout signs reading, "Taxed Enough Already," they have a point. We are at the point in America where one person paying income tax is carrying the load for another.

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Only half of U.S. citizens pay federal income tax, according to the latest available figures.

In 2009, just 50.5 per cent of Americans paid any income tax to the federal government - the lowest proportion in at least half a century.

And the number of people outside the tax system could have climbed even higher since as the economic downturn has continued to bite and unemployment has remained high.

The decreasing number of taxpayers threatens government revenues, and could also cause resentment from those who believe that welfare recipients are taking money out of the economy.

151.7million U.S. citizens paid no federal income tax in 2009, according to figures compiled by the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think tank.

In 1984, the middle of the Reagan era, 85 per cent of Americans paid federal income tax, meaning just 34.8million people did not.

While a record number of people in America aren't paying their "fair share" in income tax, a record number of those same people are dependent on the federal government for basic services.

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Another finding by the Heritage Foundation shows that 21.8 per cent of U.S. citizens receive financial assistance from the federal government.

This means that 67.3million people - a record high - are 'dependent on the federal government', excluding government employees who rely on the public sector for their salaries.

And what does this mean for elections? More free stuff please!

The Heritage Foundation argues that the reduction in the number of taxpayers will create an electorate dominated by non-taxpayers, who will always support higher taxes and spending because their own money is not at stake.

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