Fifty - Fifty

For this week’s entertainment, some polling results from Gallup. They cleverly released them on the day when our tax filings were due.

The poll results are more than entertaining. They are laughable.

Gallup polled thousands of taxpayers. It found that half of us feel the federal income taxes we pay are too high. Okay. It found that almost half of us feel the taxes we pay Washington are about right. Okay.

That is a nice statistical divide. Gallup drew a few conclusions about it. Various writers did the same. They pontificated about how those who set our tax rates must have them at just about the right level. After all, we the people are about 50-50 on the question. Therefore and to wit …

All these people must know that half of us do not pay federal income taxes. Half of us. We may pay them during the year. But, oh boy, we get refunds. The refunds equal all we pay in taxes. Or the refund checks are larger than what we paid. Because we are a welfare state to many. Bottom line is, there is nothing under the bottom line. Half of us pay no federal income tax. (We are not talking about Social Security taxes. The poll was about federal income taxes.)



I checked to see how much money the people they polled earned. Half of them earned less than $50,000 per year. Those are mostly folks who pay virtually no federal income taxes.

Let me ask a few questions that Gallup and the pundits might find embarrassing. Half of us pay no federal income tax. So how do you suppose those who pay nothing might feel about the federal tax rates?  How many of them are likely to say they are about right?  What do I feel about bus fares? As a senior citizen who rides for free, I figure they are just about right.

I dug ever deeper in my highly scientific studies. I looked over more of the Gallup data. Turns out that those who make little, are more happy with the tax rates they face.  Why, of course. They don’t pay income taxes. Those who make more, are less happy. Why, of course. They pay virtually all our income taxes.

Also those who make little, feel tax rates should be higher for those who earn more. In other words, if the country runs out of money don’t come to us. Go see the rich guys.  

Gallup also found that about 30 percent of us would be happy if the feds did away with the deduction for interest on our mortgage payments. Guess what. Until recently about 30 percent of us had no mortgage. If you don’t pay mortgage interest, you don’t get the benefit of a deduction. So, sure, why not do away with it?  Stick that one in the Duhh File.

Gallup could have saved lots of money with this report. They could have given one guy some data on who pays taxes. Along with a six-pack. And let him draw some conclusions.

A small number of Americans are burdened with most of the taxes the federal income tax collects. Many politicians and a host of pundits rave on about fairness in our tax code when it is clearly unfair. The politicians preach to millions of Americans who pay no federal income tax. They reassure themselves they are on the right tack and track with poll results like those from Gallup.

You can draw your own conclusions. Whatever they are, they are likely to be more logical than those of Gallup and the pundits.           

From Tom ... as in Morgan.                  

For more columns and for Tom’s radio shows and new TV shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.

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