This one’s going to go a long way.
Remember the 53 per cent? Jonathan Bernstein:
For example, this citizen claims to be a college senior working “30+ hours a week making just barely over minimum wage.” Which is great and all, but if that’s all he’s got he’s not paying any income tax. Just as a guess, I’d be surprised if any fewer than 10% of the posters are actually income-tax free, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s about 50/50.
What I’d be curious about is what some of these folks would say if they realized that they’re not actually part of “the 53%.” Of course, to be fair they all do pay taxes; they just — perhaps — don’t pay income taxes.
Hey, reporters! As this “53%” thing grows as a conservative talking point, there’s a serious article to be written involving interviews with folks who mistakenly believe that they’re in the half of Americans who pay taxes (and, what’s more, they may also mistakenly believe that they’re in the group that does not receive any government benefits).
Edit: Brad DeLong wants to know what Erick Erickson’s three jobs are.
Again, I eagerly await when reality hits. Not to be too snarky with this person, because all of this is great. You’ve figured out how a lot of this works and are doing right by yourself. Fabulous.
What happens if you need a loan for something? Maybe a business, a car, maybe you’ve saved up enough money (at least for a sizable down payment) want to buy a home and generate a base of personal wealth and you realize your credit scores are too low because the only way the system raises your credit score is by taking on debt? Seriously! I receive quarterly credit report statements from my bank and when they cite why my credit scores aren’t higher, the most prominent reason is “does not have enough open credit accounts” or “open credit accounts are too old.”
What happens when you’re too old to work? Do you have any protection besides the Social Security taxes you pay?
Do either of your minimum-wage jobs offer health insurance? Do you have it through your school? What will you do for it after graduation? Will you have the several hundred dollars a month to pay for an individual plan if you don’t land a job right after graduation or have one lined up? Are you prepared to put off doctor or dental visits because you can’t afford them?
There are a lot of presumptive fallacies in this note, presuming that all people who are sunk and in over their heads spent their money on frivolous luxuries.
It’s one hell of a conservative meme, this “47% of people don’t pay taxes” crap. But it is solid bullshit. Those 47% who are such “lucky duckies” to not pay income tax usually pay sales taxes, payroll taxes, Social Security taxes, and if they’re lucky enough to have full-time employment, taxes on their health care plans. (This is not even getting into various municipal taxes assessed at the county and city level; those same people who are struggling with their homes and low wages do so because of…wait for it….property taxes! Which are necessary because so much of them fund public education.) Oh, and….they pay federal and state taxes that are deducted from their paychecks. When we talk about taxes and tax refunds on income tax every year, people receive refunds if they’ve overpaid based on their income. They might get some of that money back. They don’t get all of it.
(Ask me, I know! I’ve received a return on my taxes every single year but it’s nowhere close to what went to the state or the feds from my paychecks over each previous calendar year!)
Don’t mistake this for some anti-tax rant, BTW.
The financial system is so far beyond screwed that if you think you aren’t the 99%, it’s only because you’re lucky enough to not have had to run up against said system yet.