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April 18, 2023

It’s Forced Income Redistribution Day

Today marks the tax-filing deadline for most Americans. Let’s mark the occasion with some hard truths.

Don’t worry that your tax dollars are being used to pay for wasteful or immoral things under Joe Biden’s administration. Most of your tax dollars were actually spent a long time ago and we’re just playing catch-up.

Okay, maybe that’s not so comforting on this Income Redistribution Day. But that’s effectively Biden’s argument when it comes to raising the debt ceiling. In October 2021, for example, he declared: “Raising the debt limit is paying our old debts. It has nothing to do with new spending.” PolitiFact even helpfully rated his silly claim “mostly true.”

It is, of course, utterly absurd to argue that today’s spending allocations have nothing to do with our national debt. Yet that’s what passes for political rhetoric and responsible journalism these days.

No wonder the national debt is $31.69 trillion and counting.

So, back to taxes. Today is the deadline for most Americans to file our income tax returns. Unless, of course, global warming climate change caused natural disasters that the government used to justify a delay for some folks. We’re not making up that climate claim.

Most people in the bottom 50% of earners don’t pay federal income taxes at all. In fact, thanks to COVID relief giveaways, the Tax Policy Center said 61% of Americans paid no income taxes in 2020. Last year, that was down slightly to 57% of households. This year, it will still be more than 40%.

If everyone did pay something, you can bet our debt wouldn’t be so high because there would have been a revolt long ago.

The same is true for the clever tactic of withholding federal income taxes from paychecks and then sending out refunds. Not only is the expense largely hidden from view, but people get something after filing (hint: that was an interest-free loan to the government).

If every American had to write a quarterly check to pay taxes, government would be run much differently.

Yet most Americans also view Income Redistribution Day through the lens of envy. No matter how much people pay, most people think the other guy didn’t pay enough. Indeed, according to Pew Research Center, the “top tax frustrations for Americans” are rooted in jealousy: “Majorities of Americans continue to be bothered by the feeling that some corporations and wealthy people do not pay their fair share in taxes.”

Coming from a lot of people who don’t pay any share, that can only mean Democrat messaging has thoroughly sunk in.

Not surprisingly, a majority of Americans are also not bothered that a majority of Americans pay little or nothing. And 56% also claim they already pay “more than their fair share.” Again, that includes at least some people who pay nothing. Astounding.

Here’s the truth: Corporations don’t pay taxes, their customers do when companies raise prices to cover the expense. (In a roundabout way, that means everyone pays something.)

Here’s more: “The top 1% of taxpayers accounted for more income taxes paid than the bottom 90% combined,” says the Tax Foundation. And it’s not close. “The top 1% of taxpayers paid $723 billion in income taxes while the bottom 90% paid $450 billion.” For the top 1%, that’s 42% of the taxes on 22% of the income. The bottom 50% paid about $39 billion, or about 2.3% in taxes on 10.2% of the income.

And still more: As alluded above, millions of American families will pay a bigger tax bill this year because temporary pandemic policies like a greatly increased child tax credit have expired. That will be doubly painful given that stubbornly persistent Bidenflation has kept Americans stuck with falling real incomes for two full years now.

Democrats demanded and won $80 billion more for the IRS. The resulting hiring spree is not going to make Income Redistribution Day any more fun. Doubt that? Well, just $3 billion of that is going for taxpayer services, and another nearly $5 billion for system modernization. The rest is essentially for enforcement.

Maybe all that enforcement wouldn’t be needed if the tax code were a bit simpler.

Yet Democrats succeeded in allocating this spending because they’ve convinced most Americans that the other guy is cheating on his taxes and that the wealthy corporate fat cats aren’t paying their fair share. Playing to that envy, Biden claims to want to raise taxes only on those making over $400,000. In reality, his bill would trickle down to everyone.

Democrats have long used the Marxist strategy of dividing people by income and class. They find ways to pit as many people as possible against “the rich” and “greedy corporations,” and to cast themselves as the fair arbiters and defenders of the little guy. They demand income redistribution that favors the biggest pool of voters, and they scream to high heaven about cruel cuts if Republicans so much as think about slowing the growth rate of federal spending or about “giveaways” to the rich when the GOP cuts tax rates for the people who actually pay. When it comes time to raise the debt ceiling yet again, Democrats dismiss all that talk of spending and huff about the “full faith and credit” of the United States, as if they had no role in calling it into question.

As Pew Research indicates all too well, most Americans fall for at least some of this. That’s why there’s always more work for us to do.

We’ll conclude with one of Ronald Reagan’s many fitting observations about government taxation: “Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July. The Democrats believe every day is April 15.”

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