Obama is Right: There is a Lack of Shared Sacrifice

Obama is Right: There is a Lack of Shared Sacrifice

Share this

Scott Hodge of the Tax Policy Blog says that more than a third of Americans do not contribute a single dime in income taxes to the federal bureaucracy and wonders whether this is evidence of the lack of shared sacrifice President Obama keeps talking about (emphasis is mine):

During his speech [two nights ago], President Obama spoke about the need for shared sacrifice in any plan to reduce the nation’s debt.

He insisted that some taxpayers were not paying their fair share of taxes and that they should pay more taxes as part of a balanced approach to deficit reduction.

While the target of the President’s remarks were those taxpayers earning over $250,000, he could have just as well been talking about the record 51 percent of Americans who now pay no income taxes and, thus, contribute nothing to the basic cost of government.

IRS data for 2009, the most recent available, shows that more than 50 million tax filers had no income tax liability after credits and deductions. This amounts to 36 percent of all filers.

The table below shows the distribution of non-payers by state.

Perhaps some of these nonpayers could share some of the sacrifice of reducing the deficit.

Tax Year 2009 All Returns     Returns with Tax Returns with No Tax Percent with No Tax
 All Filers U.S.  141,458,638  91,002,524  50,456,114        36%
         
Alabama 2,048,831 1,221,150 827,681        40%
Alaska 357,870 271,068 86,802        24%
Arizona 2,670,661 1,650,283 1,020,378        38%
Arkansas 1,211,644 726,653 484,991        40%
California 16,384,130 10,349,112 6,035,018        37%
Colorado 2,331,974 1,586,959 745,015        32%
Connecticut 1,711,715 1,239,360 472,355        28%
Delaware 420,472 291,903 128,569        31%
District of Columbia 312,067 225,425 86,642        28%
Florida 8,910,654 5,412,972 3,497,682        39%
Georgia 4,447,966 2,528,362 1,919,604        43%
Hawaii 648,846 441,800 207,046        32%
Idaho 657,773 396,145 261,628        40%
Illinois 6,008,183 3,912,678 2,095,505        35%
Indiana 2,951,362 1,872,611 1,078,751        37%
Iowa 1,392,004 952,967 439,037        32%
Kansas 1,310,164 859,148 451,016        34%
Kentucky 1,841,152 1,162,251 678,901        37%
Louisiana 1,960,107 1,199,901 760,206        39%
Maine 624,567 424,701 199,866        32%
Maryland 2,751,233 1,958,962 792,271        29%
Massachusetts 3,171,888 2,309,081 862,807        27%
Michigan 4,534,729 2,862,459 1,672,270        37%
Minnesota 2,541,797 1,768,618 773,179        30%
Mississippi 1,241,390 686,539 554,851        45%
Missouri 2,683,562 1,741,836 941,726        35%
Montana 472,039 297,586 174,453        37%
Nebraska 846,101 564,886 281,215        33%
Nevada 1,243,552 803,998 439,554        35%
New Hampshire 659,001 479,329 179,672        27%
New Jersey 4,236,533 2,961,268 1,275,265        30%
New Mexico 912,316 550,401 361,915        40%
New York 9,116,699 6,031,027 3,085,672        34%
North Carolina 4,144,875 2,535,771 1,609,104        39%
North Dakota 322,972 231,224 91,748        28%
Ohio 5,409,661 3,633,497 1,776,164        33%
Oklahoma 1,585,616 997,675 587,941        37%
Oregon 1,732,774 1,124,531 608,243        35%
Pennsylvania 6,058,513 4,096,027 1,962,486        32%
Rhode Island 501,586 346,562 155,024        31%
South Carolina 2,024,495 1,213,925 810,570        40%
South Dakota 385,157 255,518 129,639        34%
Tennessee 2,794,712 1,714,210 1,080,502        39%
Texas 10,784,887 6,545,993 4,238,894        39%
Utah 1,124,569 683,431 441,138        39%
Vermont 316,053 215,389 100,664        32%
Virginia 3,685,674 2,588,534 1,097,140        30%
Washington 3,144,952 2,202,129 942,823        30%
West Virginia 778,130 507,614 270,516        35%
Wisconsin 2,728,034 1,830,127 897,907        33%
Wyoming 269,357 189,351 80,006        30%
 
About Peter Pappas

Peter is a tax attorney and certified public acccountant with over 20 years experience helping taxpayers resolve their IRS and state tax problems.

He has represented thousands of taxpayers who have been experiencing difficulty dealing with the Internal Revenue Service or State tax officials.

He is a member of the American Association of Attorney-Certified Public Accountants, the Florida Bar Association and The Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants and is admitted to practice before the United States Tax Court, the United States Supreme Court, U.S. District Courts - Middle District of Florida