More than half of all U.S. households pay no federal income tax — and that, says Sen. Orrin Hatch, is proof that high-earners are more than shouldering their part of the tax bill.
The figure, showing that 51 percent of homes paid nothing in federal
tax in 2009, was put to a congressional hearing on tax policy. It is the first time since 1992 that the figure passed the 50 percent mark, reports the Wall Street Journal
"Most taxpayers are skeptical that the answer to our fiscal problems is for them to sacrifice more, when more than half of all households are not paying any income taxes and an increasingly smaller group of Americans is shouldering the burdens for an increasing larger group of Americans," said Hatch, R-Utah, the top GOP member on the Finance Committee.
Democrats claim the reason high earners are paying more is because their incomes have shot up faster. They also point out that most of those who pay no income tax contribute to the national coffers by means of Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes.
"The question shouldn't be what kind of taxes people pay, but whether every American is paying his or her fair share,” said committee chairman Max Baucus D-Mont.
Those who paid no taxes are mainly low-earners, students and seniors, the Democrats say.
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