According to a national poll last week, 79% of Americans think that all Americans should pay income tax, regardless of their incomes. That includes 85% of Republicans and 83% of independents. Even Democrats agree, by an overwhelming majority: 71%. Politicians should take note: these are huge margins.
These Americans understand instinctively what a recent report from the Tax Foundation said: "Aside from the revenue impact of not having 58 million Americans pay income taxes, economists worry about the social and political effects of having so many people disconnected from the cost of government -- a phenomenon known as fiscal illusion. The concern is that when people perceive the cost of government to be cheaper than it really is, they will demand ever more government benefits because they either don't feel the cost directly or believe that others will be paying those costs. Indeed,when one takes into account those who do not file, about half of all households pay no federal income tax, making the situation particularly worrisome in a majority-rule democracy."