Feature

Free riders on the taxes of others

We’re close to a tipping point in which a majority of citizens can vote to tax the hell out of the hardworking, successful minority, said Mark Steyn on National Review Online.

Mark Steyn
National Review Online

For a growing number of Americans, said Mark Steyn, tax season has become just like baseball season: “It’s a spectator sport.” For the 2009 tax year, reports the Tax Policy Center, 47 percent of Americans will not pay a single penny of federal income tax. While many pay state, property, and other taxes, it still means that in this time of massive federal government spending, “half the country is effectively making no contribution” to all the expensive services they receive.

These millions of voters have absolutely no motivation to rein in out-of-control federal spending, let alone to curb taxes, figuring—correctly—that it’s all somebody else’s problem. Indeed, only 10 percent of the population now pays 75 percent of all federal taxes. We’re ominously close to a tipping point in which a majority of citizens can vote to tax the hell out of the hardworking, successful minority—taking us beyond “redistribution” to what is essentially “an assault on the moral legitimacy of the system.” In less than 250 years, the American Revolution has evolved from “no taxation without representation” to “representation without taxation.”

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