Bob Owens

The saddest truth in politics is that people get the leaders they deserve

I am the fifty-point-five

Written By: Bob - Feb• 23•12

Hi. I’m Bob.

And as far as the IRS is concerned I’m one of the 50.5% of Americans that pays federal income taxes.

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.

49.5% of Americans pay no federal income tax. I’ll take a leap of faith and suggest that if you want to get a good survey of that 49.5%, you can go to any Occupy encampment (with your rape whistle) or anywhere Barack Obama supporters exist in large numbers.

Half of Americans don’t “pay their fair share.” I’d be willing to bet the overwhelming majority are strong supporters of the Food Stamp President.

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  1. Scott says:

    It’s worst than that really.

    At least 35% of that 50.5% are Federal and State employees.

    I’d suggest that in terms of actual tax revenue, they contribute a net of zero, since they are simply giving back a portion of the taxes they were paid with initially.

    Thus, 100% of the actual taxes is paid by about 35% of the working adult population of the US.


  2. Mark says:

    I question the statistics. I believe that these numbers represent those who actually file. These numbers do not count illegals (who get government services) and people who have decided to go ‘off the grid’.

  3. Rick says:

    I question the statistics too.

    Your suggestion is wrong. State government employees aren’t paid with federal funds. This is one of the reasons so many states are having issues balancing their budgets as well. Of course recently the feds have started to subsidize some of the state’s budgets, but that’s another story.

    Everywhere I’ve been able to find Federal & State employees make up roughly 8% of the TOTAL JOBS in the US. The percentage would be even less when you consider the 50.5% mark includes the entire US population. These numbers include “children, retired workers and other who do not participate in the work force”.

    I guess there isn’t any reason I shouldn’t put my 2 and 5 year old kids to work. If its good enough for the Chinese and Apple, it should be good enough for me. I guess there also isn’t any reason old folks should enjoy their retirement. And we really should put do something with the mentally ill, other than let them stay home and munch on lead paint chips all day.

    In other words, if you want a “good survey of that 49.5%” you need to interview the under 16 crowd, over 65 crowd and patients at mental hospitals (though it may be hard to distinguish between them and the occupy movement).

    Remember kids, 87.35% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

    Or as Mark Twain quoted, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics”.

    • Bob says:

      I guess there isn’t any reason I shouldn’t put my 2 and 5 year old kids to work. If its good enough for the Chinese and Apple, it should be good enough for me.

      But if you give your 2 and 5 year old kids an iPad to play with, does that count as some sort of a labor offset?

  4. Scott says:


    It’s perhaps wrong in part, but state employes are still paid from tax revenue, so anything they pay in taxes is still simply giving back taxes previously used to pay them.

    The fact that some of the “give back” goes to Federal doesn’t really matter to the point of my statement, which is simply that you cannot count state and federal employees as making a positive contribution to the tax base.

    Of course, that’s just government salary. If those individuals have capitol gains, a second job, etc. then they are contributing to the whole to a degree.

    And, it’s actually 89.3% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

    Now to be really controversial: If you don’t pay tax, and are under retirement age (whatever that may be) you don’t get to vote.

  5. Rick says:

    I agree, in principle, with only tax payers being allowed to vote. The problem is it’d never fly. The logistics of tracking would be a nightmare, not to mention the types of exceptions required would be more complex than the tax code. You’d need exceptions for those who retire early (why work to 65 if I start at age 20), those who become disabled in service to the country, etc…

    I’d be less bothered if they were using useful numbers in the article…

    How many of the “electorate” that the Heritage Foundation is concerned about aren’t paying any taxes?

    What percentage of workers(or those eligible to work) are paying some form of taxes?

    What percentage of workers(or those eligible to work) are net contributors to the Government’s income?

    My main issue is the premise of the article is misleading at best. Its like saying only 50% of the people in my house-hold pay taxes. Well, that’s technically correct, but since there are only two of us of “a working age” its 100% of those eligible.

    If someone wanted to factor out the “non-necessary” public employees to create a Gross Income factor I wouldn’t argue, too much. My issue is folks that lump all government employees together. I haven’t seen too many people who want to privatize the Military, Fire Depts, Police Forces and Education.

    Well, except Rick Santorum, who wants to get the States and Feds out of education, and he’s a moron.