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Report: Incentives, Bush Cuts Limit Number Of Americans Who Pay Federal Taxes

April 20, 2011 by  

eport: Incentives, Bush cuts limit number of Americans who pay Federal taxesNearly half of American households did not pay a Federal income tax this year, according to the Tax Policy Center.

According to the report, the proliferation of tax credits has increased the number of Americans who paid no income taxes or received refunds from the government. In addition, the extension of the George W. Bush-era tax breaks allowed citizens of all income brackets to save money.

For example, a family that earns between $50,000 and $75,000 saved, on average, approximately $2,000, the report concluded. Many experts believe that these extra savings will help stimulate the economy and boost consumer confidence.

Last month, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) spoke out against the plethora of tax credits that have been approved by President Barack Obama's administration.

“As a matter of fairness, wouldn’t it make more sense if all citizens paid at least something in income taxes?” asked Orrin Hatch, the top Republican member of the Senate Finance Committee, quoted by Bloomberg. “I am convinced that it would help us in our fight against excessive federal spending."

Democratic lawmakers have lobbied for higher taxes on wealthy Americans, which they say will help reduce the national deficit. Economist Bruce Bartlett told the media outlet that, politically speaking, it is easier to ask for more money from people who are already paying taxes, rather than requesting it from Americans who owe nothing. 

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  • Thomas Phillips

    I had a gross income last year of about $25,000. My federal withholding was increased in January of last year because of a change in the tax brackets. Despite this, I still ended up owing the feds over $200. I checked this on three online tax services. All three had me owing over $200. Who’s getting all these credits? I just have an income of 25k and my taxes went up.

    • 45caliber

      They probably revised the form somewhere.

      Some years ago now they “simplified” the form but assured everyone that you’d pay exactly the same tax. I ran my tax on both the new form for the year and the old form from the previous year – and I paid over $1000 more for the new form.

  • bob

    What we need to do is get rid of the federal tax and put a tax on all consumer goods that way everybody will pay.

    • barbm

      that’s not really true, bob. the wealthy don’t spend as much of their income as we do. it takes every dime i can scrape together to pay my debts and eat. therefore, i spend all my income on goods which would go into the coffers. the wealthy make so much, they can afford to invest and save a good portion of their income. so they get to use their money to earn more money while i give all mine to the govt and stores. i think an across the board 5% tax with no deductions would be more fair. also, i don’t want to hear any more out of y’all about how corps pay too much taxes. ge didn’t pay any for 2010 and sent most of their jobs over seas. same with gm – no taxes. but they aren’t helping by hiring. tax breaks should be given to companies that bring our jobs home. the rest can go to hell.

      • 45caliber

        barbm:

        The only people in the US who pays taxes are people like you and I. Corporations are simply a hidden tax on us because they simply raise their prices on goods so we pay the tax through them. The government knows this but likes to use it since we don’t see us paying directly to the government. ALL businesses do this, rich and poor.

        The rich do pay a lot more tax on a consumer tax basis. We buy a $60,000 house – they by a $6,000,000 house. More tax. We buy a car at $12,000, they spent ten times that. They don’t have to spend every penny of their income, though. Still, many do. Check some of the screams the divorced wives in Hollywood sometime. Anna Nicole Smith, before she died, spent $25,000,000 in only a couple of years. Nicolous Cage, who has made millions on movies, is basically bankrupt. The only reason the banks haven’t foreclosed is because they are certain that he will make more movies soon. Others are the same.

        • http://al@bellaproducts.com al metcalf

          Absolutly correct. Corporations and busnesses do not pay taxes. Their taxes are added to the products they make. The consumer pays all taxes, always. These fools who talk of taxing corporations or businesses are just fools or liars. This is just another method of haveing the Consumer pay another tax without realizing that they did it.
          Same story with the Federal Reserve and loaning money to other nations, there is never a repayment, in reality. The Fed loans out the taxpayers money, renegociates the loan several times and then the country defaults. All of the renegociations is pure profit to the Fed. The default is printing more of our dollars to close the loan that the Fed had made to the defaulting nation. The newly printed dollars that paid off the note at the Fed inflates the money in circulation which devalues the money the U.S. Citizen has in his pocket which in reality is a stealth tax. So the whole thing is a ponzi game.
          The Fed creates the money to loan out in the first place.
          The Nation defaults several times and pays the Fed to renegociate.
          Finally the note is so big the Nation cannot do anything but default.
          The Fed prints the money to pay off the note to itself.
          This clears the loan off of the Fed books.
          And now the U.S. dollar supply has been increased for the total of the origainal loan and the final payoff which inflates the money supply by this amount. This in turn makes all of the dollars in the taxpayers pocket less valuable than they used to be.
          A Stealth tax. On other Government trick with their buddies.

      • bob

        I agree with tax cuts for businesses bringing jobs home. But think of the extra money the government will have because of all the illegal imagrants here. Do you think they are paying taxes at the end of the year? I dont think so. if they do away with the federal tax, the illegals will have to pay too.

        • barbm

          i don’t want the illegals to pay, i want them to go home and take their anchor babies with them. they should have the choice of taking the anchor babies or leaving them here to be reared by americans to be americans. and, if they take them with them, they should NEVER be allowed to come back and be the ones to sponsor their extended families later.

      • meteorlady

        Unfortunately 5% would not cover it, per the tax policy institute. It would have to be more like 15 to 20%.

    • meteorlady

      A VAT tax or national sales tax puts the burden on small business like me. I came from a state where I was their tax collector. It added cost to my end product. So go ahead and tout the national sales tax, but you will pay for it when businesses like me pass the cost of collecting the tax and sending it to the government on to you the consumer. I hated it. I had to pay sales tax to the state even though my customers hadn’t paid me yet. Each month I filled out forms, wrote the check and waited for the customer to pay, when they didn’t it was months before I could collect from the state and it took lots of paperwork.

      How about a flat rate tax where we just send money to the government, do away with the IRS and get on with our lives.

  • Doc Sarvis

    Those who benefit most from our country’s resources, infrastructure, laws seem to be above contributing to improving our country’s fiscal health. While the rich buy more boats, cars, houses, etc. any money they invest in manufacturing goods is going overseas – which gets them even more tax breaks. Incredible!

    • meteorlady

      Here’s a quote from THe American:

      “In the early 1960s, the highest marginal income tax rate was a stunning 91 percent. That top rate fell to 70 percent after the Kennedy-Johnson tax cuts and remained there until 1981. Then Ronald Reagan slashed it to 50 percent and ultimately to 28 percent after the 1986 Tax Reform

      Although the federal tax rate fell by more than half, total tax receipts in the 1980s doubled from $517 billion in 1981 to $1,030 billion in 1990. The top tax rate rose slightly under George H. W. Bush and then moved to 39.6 percent under Bill Clinton. But under George W. Bush it fell again to 35 percent.

      So what’s striking is that, even as tax rates have fallen by half over the past quarter-century, taxes paid by the wealthy have increased. Lower tax rates have made the tax system more progressive, not less so. In 1980, for example, the top 5 percent of income earners paid only 37 percent of all income taxes. Today, the top 1 percent pay that proportion, and the top 5 percent pay a whopping 57 percent.”

      The fact we have the second highest corporate tax rates in the world today. Businesses have lobbied the government, and won, for loopholes. GE is a good example…. they book their money off shore because if the brought it in they would pay around 38% to 42% of their profits to the government. Japan is the highest and they are considering lowering theirs so that businesses will return to their country. We need to lower the rates, allow for expansion, and give breaks for hiring American citizens.

  • Dave

    Let’s look at where tax dollars should be used and maybe another venue will be acknowledged and supported. In my opinion I pay taxes to support schools, roads police, fire fighters, public land/recreation, etc. (the list goes on and on). Why should a family with six children pay less taxes than I do? We sent our son to a private school (our choice) but we still paid our fair share to support public schools. We have never directly utilized the police or fire department but we’re sure glad they are available and we will continue to support them. We drive on public roads daily but certainly not as much as a family with six kids or two kids or teenagers or many others, still we contribute via our taxes. Actually my wife and I utilize public services much less than the ‘average’ family however we continue to pay our taxes. We have been quite successful and pay a much higher tax rate and considerably more in taxes than the ‘avarage’ tax payer.
    In our business we hired people, provided incomes and careers for families, we provided benefits and all of the other fruits workers enjoy. We gave freely because our team was very successful and committed to excellence, everyone was well compensated for their efforts, they became our family. We were good community and corporate neighbors. We donated time and money to worthy causes and got involved.
    My point is: We suppported others, provided jobs, helped communities become better places to live and raise families. We supported education and family values and continue to do so.
    Why is it almost half of our entire adult population pays no taxes or gets money back after no contributions?
    They utilize the same public services we do.
    I am convinced the ‘Union Labor Movement’ was a wonderful thing many years ago. Unfortunately, the ‘Unionized Labor Mentality’ has been instrumental in creating a society of people who feel ‘ENTITLED” to virtually everything. The feeling of ‘tax the rich’ (what is rich?) is the only way it should be. This type of mentality reminds me of the childhood story about the grass hopper who played all summer and the ant who prepared for winter.
    The U.S. mentality must change if we expect to remain the world power. Our Government must stop wasting money and precious resources, we must slow spending and get back to the basics of being ‘the best in the world’.
    After all, “The speed of the leader determines the rate of the pack”.
    Who is our leader and what is he doing to ‘right the ship’?

    • independant thinker

      ” In my opinion I pay taxes to support schools, roads police, fire fighters, public land/recreation, etc. (the list goes on and on). Why should a family with six children pay less taxes than I do?”

      The schools, at least in the states I am familier with, are funded primarily by property taxes so how do ypou know if they are paying more or less than you? The roads are funded by fuel taxes so more trips to the ball games or more driving by the teenagers means they are paying more fuel taxes than you. To the extent that sales taxes goes to support the local police, fire department, etc. a family of 6 is paying more than your family of 2 or 4. I am not saying there isn’t some validity to your argument but you have chosen some poor examples to illustrate it in my opinion.

      • Dave

        Thanks for pointing that out.
        As a matter of fact I’m surprised it took so long for someone to point out the errors of my e-mail.
        “Mr. Berger I rerst my case”.
        You are the absolute perfect example of why our system is failing.
        You challenge the problem but never answer with a solution!
        “It’s easy to keep your head above water when you are standing on someone’s shoulders”!
        Get real, get serious…we have deep tax and entitlement problems, we need answers and solutions not contradictions.
        No need to look toward DC for leadership or direction, he’s on the Oprah Show!
        By the way, why won’t he make his Birth Certificate public, after all, ‘Transparency’ was a campaign promise……wasn’t it?

        • 45caliber

          Dave:

          The taxes you mentioned are all actually local taxes. Let’s talk about federal spending.

          Approximately 40-45% of spending is for welfare. About 35-40% (Not counting Iraq)is for military. The remaining is used for about everything else. Right now a good part of it is offically going to interest on our debt – but I’d be surprised if they pay that much out. What it is doing is accummulating interest which we also are to pay interest on when the loaners cash in. SS is still pretty close to paying out what they receive plus whatever the government wants to steal from it.

          Federal roads are paid for by fuel taxes, as you say, but I understand about half of those go into the federal budget. Let’s forget corporate taxes because we also pay those through increased pricing. About $28-30 of your telephone bill goes to them, multiply by the number of phones you have. (The costs are hidden so your bill won’t show that much.)

          The feds pay out 90+% of their income to themselves really as salaries. Those on welfare get about 5% of what the welfare department spends. They are constantly building new office buildings rather than fix the old ones. As one person once pointed out, the way their salaries are set REQUIRES them to hire more people – they can’t get a raise until they get a certain number of people under them. And ALL funded money MUST be spent, unlike private industry, or they lose it. That is what really costs us money. And every offical is looking for more ways to increase the number of people under him so he can get another raise.

          The real key is to start rewarding government officials who CUT employees, who DON’T spend all their budget, and who saves the government (us) money. That will then encourage them to shrink government instead of growing it.

      • meteorlady

        Obviously you don’t know what your state does with the money. In the states where I have lived it all goes into the general fund. They say it goes for those things and if it did go to them exclusively we would have some damn fine roads and infrastructure, As for education, throwing money at it has done nothing, it’s the government that is the cause of our failure to educate our children, not money.

  • Howard R Gray

    It is always assumed that tax is the solution, it isn’t and it never will be. Let’s take a look at some of the ways taxation and public finance works.

    Corporate taxes, you would think that corporations pays them wouldn’t you? Not so, most of it, rightly passes on to the consumer of the goods in price hikes on the one hand and onto the shareholders by less dividends on the other or of course in bankruptcy. Either way tax ends up where it always does on the population at large usually hitting the poorest worst of all.

    Stealth taxes, these are the small nips and tucks in the economy, just look at your phone bill. There are a number of these charges that are paid without much thought by the targets of the cash bite. The mother of stealth taxes of course is inflation; the government borrows so much money and creates so much money out of nothing that there is just too much chasing too little in the economy so our currency is worth less each day, quite simply inflation is a tax that always hurts the poor most of all.

    Inflation of course can easily be stopped with the abolition of legal tender laws and permit the public to decide what money is and who should provide money and how it is backed by value. Real money would emerge to replace the fiat or so called fiduciary currency, the government would not be able to borrow very much of it and would be stuck to living within its means. The Federal Reserve Bank should be audited and prevented along with the Treasury from fixing interest rates. The result would be a fairer economy with less manipulation by the establishment.

    Sales taxes, the so called indirect taxes, so what exactly is indirect about them? You pay them up front every day, it couldn’t be more direct could it? These are taxes that hurt the poor very directly, who is to decide which goods and services are to be tax exempt, it is an innately unfair tax.

    You will notice the inverted language and nature of tax.

    1. Allowances, you mean you are allowed to keep what is yours in the first place?
    2. Progressive taxation meaning regressive, the more economically viable you or your company is the less able you are to expand and create more wealth or more jobs
    3. Sales tax the more sales tax the less sales there will be. Try the European VAT the very awful tax which hits at each link in the production or service chain, not only is it a sales tax but it is a transaction tax at all major stages of production, stifling the economy.
    4. Revenue, the more tax the less revenue, the old Laffer curve idea.
    5. Tax the rich hit the poor, less jobs, less bank liquidity to make loans and so on. Tax the rich and you simply tax the poor. Most of all the left haven’t a clue about how taxes work, they create poverty pure and simple. I guess they need a constituency so why not have as many poor as possible, hence illegal immigration. Poverty pays handsomely those who claim to alleviate it.
    6. Robin Hood is so often held up as virtuous for robbing the rich to pay the poor, the irony is that isn’t the story, the story is about returning unjust taxes collected on behalf of King John, but why let a good folk tale to go to waste.
    7. Property taxes create tax hostages; you don’t pay you eventually dispossessed. More to the point if you can’t pay because the governing class is making a dog’s breakfast of the economy putting so many out of work and preventing others from running successful businesses.
    8. Those who work for the government don’t really pay any tax, they are paid out of taxes raised that includes money borrowed as that gets paid by inflation on all of us, paying a public servant is just an accounting exercise, the government holds back notional tax money and calls it tax. There is no reason why public servants shouldn’t be paid up front without tax there would be significant saving in not operating the tax collection function on public salaries. Yes they would pay other taxes when due on other nongovernmental activities they may engage in. They would be, as they are, a privileged class on the public dime, paid tax free.
    9. What about all those government assets, acres and acres of lands, mineral rights and other valuable entities that are held allegedly for the public benefit. How do these appear in the charting of the public revenues? Perhaps they should be sold off to assuage the public debt?

    So how should the government raise cash? Voluntary contributions, lotteries, and charges for services that it provides, it really is that simple. If there is any tax at all it should be a fixed 10% or less rate of income tax where the rich pay more, to keep the socialists happy. All elected officials should receive expenses only no salaries ever, thus legislation would be at a minimum. There should be a system to recall laws and regulations for extinction by public petition in parallel with laws to recall and deselect miscreant politicians.

    The present government policy it to spend until the Weimar moment arrives, and it will, that will be the moment when all entitlements cease as the currency no longer bears any value it is no longer money. The government will attempt to issue more bogus currency probably backed by something illusory such as a basket of commodities or some other sleight of hand. The only real solution is to abolish legal tender laws. Hayekian private or nongovernmental money would be a least a more honest solution to fiscal insanity. Ironically, there may come a moment when the coins are worth their metallic value as a contradistinction to the paper currency which is well on its way to being worthless.

    None of this need to be all that frightening, massive inflation is already here at least 10% on groceries, the official inflation numbers appear more ridiculous each day, soon they will be ignored as are the unemployment numbers that don’t count those who no longer look for work but are unemployed. Gross dishonesty in public statistics doesn’t change the reality. The truth is we will survive, now is the time to debate how bedrock financial structures should be reformed. The Creature From Jeckel Island, the Fed, needs to be audited and stripped of much of its powers, if it is to issue currency it had better be money backed by an honest foundation.

    One way or another there will be a debate about the dollar as it declines into nothing. The current debate on spending cuts is absurd, the scale of debt in the trillions will have the final say in the value of the dollar. When the reforms come the question is how to prevent governments from stealing wealth as they always do. Borrowing and creating cash to spread the wealth around is just bribery or more to the point social burglary. Perhaps we need the Weimar moment to knock down the present system and impose fiscal discipline.

    • 45caliber

      And the latest way I’ve heard for the government to back their money is with land. The last thing I’ve heard about it is that if they cannot provide money for their treasury notes, they MUST turn over land to whoever owns it – primarily other countries. This is a move to insure that we no longer have country borders since the lands owned by any “country” could extend all over the globe.

  • Eddie47d

    Yes of coarse everyone should pay taxes and every able body adult should also work. Neither is happening whether rich or poor and we have become a nation of beggars. “what’s in it for me” is America’s battle cry and we only care about ourselves. We need to end all loopholes and tax deductions and start over with our tax code. We have become paralyzed in trying to make people work. The left says the government isn’t doing enough to create jobs and the right says the government has no business creating jobs. We have a stalemate from hell and nobody wins. The wealthy aren’t creating jobs even with lower tax rates so I don’t think taxes are the problem. America has plain and simply run out of good ideas and we don’t want to admit it.The rich and poor alike have become greedy in their demands and the middle class is being squeezed for more.

    • Ellen

      Our biggest problem in America is our welfare system. Medicaid now costs the taxpayers as much as Medicare. That’s ridiculous. How did we become a nation with so many poor people? Easy: welfare. 40% of all babies born each year in the US are born into welfare. 37% of all US children currently live in poverty. Now only does this drain the Treasury, it degrades our school systems and fill our prisons.

    • 45caliber

      Eddie:

      You say American has run out of good ideas. Not true. We still provide more good ideas than the rest of the world combined.

      The real problem is developing those ideas. Have you tried to start up a new company in the last few years?

      The moment you start thinking of hiring anyone, you have to hire a safety expert to write and manage a safety program that meets the government’s “guidelines”. The moment you start thinking of buying equipment and a place to put it, you have to hire an enviornmental expert to insure you don’t break any federal or state environmental law. Don’t think you can handle that yourself – the OSHA book alone is in the thousands of pages.

      Whatever item you want to make and sell then must be approved as safe by whatever agency governs. And it has to be something that will make the government money in taxes rather than cut them. That’s why we don’t have cars with 100+mpg fuels. The government would lose taxes as people buy less fuel.

      If you are very lucky, you will be approved to start making your widgets in about five years. Now … how did you support yourself for that period of time and still have the money to build your business and pay those useless people? And I say useless since they do absolutely nothing to bring in any cash to replace what you spend.

      And they aren’t the only ones you have to make happy. The DOT requires paperwork everytime you make a shipment, no matter how small it is. And if you misplace a single period you can be charged a $10,000 fine, so you have to have someone who knows exactly how to do those forms. Water boards must be brought on board. Electricty is a problem or can be if you use very much of it. Raw material acquisition can also require all sorts of special permissions, especially if it is hazardous.

      So what now happens is that if someone does have a good idea for a new business, they can afford to do only one of two things. They can forget it or they can try to sell it to some large company. And if you sell you generally don’t get very much. In fact, if you aren’t careful, the company you show it to will politely tell you they aren’t interested and then hastily patent the idea as their own. And they don’t patent just the item you made – they patent the idea of the item so that no matter what you do you can’t make and sell it.

      For instance, Kodak patented the idea of instant photos rather than the method of making them. Polaroid tried to patent their method of making them, so the court ruled that Kodak was owed a huge percentage of their profits as a result – even though their method of totally different and a lot better.

      So don’t say we Americans no longer think of new things. Say instead that we no longer can afford to produce them thanks to our government.

      • http://?? Joe H.

        45caliber,
        The very reason mine will always be a one person business!!! I could get enough business to hire about ten guys, but why?? I would make less with all the hoops and fees, so why should I? right now I can give people a good reliable service and keep my costs low as well as keeping theirs low as well! Through places I have worked, I know I could under bid some of the companies that sullpy them with welded parts, but again why should I when I’m gonna have the government poking its nose in every aspect of my life and all it takes is one azzhole to ruin everything. Nope, I’ll depend on ME!!!

  • bus

    I’m giving up my citizenship but staying here as an illegal alien. I already have some anchor babies so I’ll be eligible for food stamps, free medical, and if Obama wins again he’ll probably get me some free government housing. I’ll do a little work on the side and get paid in cash, just for the niceities of life. But NO MORE TAXES for me!!

    • Dave

      Right on Brother!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      Let the ‘rich’ support us, “They can afford it”!
      They don’t need anything else, just ask our leader.

    • 45caliber

      bus:

      There has been a lot of talk about the illegals taking jobs at cheaper rates than Americans do. THere is a good reason for that. For one thing, they live on all the free stuff an American has a hard time getting. And they take the lower pay since they can usually get it as cash so they don’t pay taxes on it we do.

  • barbm

    sometimes i wonder if y’all know the difference between corporations and the people who own/run them. big difference. the author says, “Economist Bruce Bartlett told the media outlet that, politically speaking, it is easier to ask for more money from people who are already paying taxes, rather than requesting it from Americans who owe nothing.” it’s not that the poor owe nothing. they owe a lot for all those free services, but the govt doesn’t make them pay for it. all adults on medicaid should have to pay a monthly premium, an annual deductible, and 20% of all charges just like medicare recipients do. maybe then, they’d stop running to the emergency room for a cold.

  • excowpoke

    Some very interesting thoughts here & I’d like to ad a few as an 84 yr old crippled up excowpoke! If I were able to do so, I’d fire all our so called ‘public servants’ & convene a congress of governors twice a month! I’d work for $1 a year, living on my social security of $900 a month & use medicare, if really needed, sell those limos, helicopters & airforce ones, use the best volunteer advisers I could get, where needed, & eliminate welfare, section 8 housing, encourage neighbor helping neighbor to eliminate the cost of all insurance, reduce taxes to the very minimum & listen to all the people of this ‘once’ great country! We’d have a government ‘Of the People, by the People & for the People’!!! I know I couldn’t please everyone but I’d do my best for all deserving folks! I would also get some justice back in our so called ‘justice’ system! If we’re not paralized, everyone can do something to help themselves!!! I’d also get rough on criminals!!! I know there’s more & I’m listening!!! excowpoke

  • http://com i41

    indepent tinker. this is the argument dems use for allowing illegals in and saying they pay taxes, only when they buy something at a store but no federal taxes. They feed off of federal funds with welfare and freebies. If cuts limit the number of Americans who paid taxes, I guess again dems are lying fools once again, the cuts put more burden on the few paying taxes. So again the regressive depressive libatards are talking s–t when saying Bush was helping the rich, it was justt the opposite. You must like the fact that fuel prices have climbed every day for the last 45 days, the soros socialist dumbocraps and the marxist muslim moron, are the bastards you can thank, they have been at the helm.

  • http://com i41

    excowpoke, a good place to start is by neutering all these welfare sires, illegals, and all convicts in prisons. Put all the gang bangers after gelding them, to work breaking rocks and patching roads, doing road ditch clean up These worthless frence crawlers are never going to amount to good dog food any way!. You know a gelding always is way more productive animal, when his running gear is altered. If a dam has more than 2 kids spay her also, and tie off short.

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