Happy Tax Day eve: 54% say the income tax they pay is fair

posted at 4:41 pm on April 14, 2014 by Allahpundit

It’s Monday and your taxes are due tomorrow. If you’re not already depressed, this should do the trick.

No, actually, this is more complicated than the headline makes it seem. It’s true that most Americans think their taxes are fair, says Gallup. It’s also true that fewer Americans think so than used to. In Dubya’s first year as president, this question split 51/46 in favor of those who think they pay a fair share. Then the first of the Bush tax cuts passed. The next year this question split 58/37, and then in 2003 (the year of the second Bush tax cuts) it was 64/33 and stayed at 60 percent or above for the duration of Bush’s presidency. Only since O was sworn in has it begun to dip, diving to 55/42 last year after the Bush cuts sunset and dipping a tiny bit further this year to 54/41. Obama’s slowly building a backlash.

Or is he? How to square this circle?

party

I don’t know what to make of those independent numbers. I can understand feeling that your taxes are “fair” even if you think they’re too low. Some people may simply define “fair” in this context as not being made to pay more than they ought; by definition, then, if you think you should be paying 30 percent and you’re only paying 20, that qualifies as fair. To those people, only gross underpayment — five percent, say, instead of 30 — might rise to the level of “unfair.” How do you decide, though, that your taxes are fair if you think you’re paying too much? Is it an in-the-ballpark thing, i.e. you think you should be paying 30 percent and in reality you’re paying 35, which is a little high but not so much that you’d call it “unfair”? It’s weird to me that anyone would have such a precise sense of which marginal rate qualifies as fair and which doesn’t. Which makes me think that the opposite is true: These responses aren’t precise at all but rather knee-jerk reactions that needn’t be logically consistent. It’s like asking people if they think the feds spend too much, being told yes, and then discovering that there’s not a single item in the budget they’re willing to cut when you offer them options on how to reduce spending. “Do you pay too much in taxes?” “Sure!” “Is what you pay ‘fair’?” “Yeah, I … guess it’s basically fair.” Hmmmm.

Here’s the split by income. Same mystery with the lower class:

income

That’s easier to understand. The less-than-$30K group may simultaneously (a) feel that what they’re paying now is a too-heavy burden to them and (b) know that they pay a lower rate than any other income group, which they regard as inherently “fair.” Whatever the answer, though, this same phenomenon has been true of the entire population overall since the turn of the century: Every year since 2000, a majority has said their taxes are fair — and yet, with only two exceptions, every year a majority has also said that they’re paying too much. In fact, despite the tax cuts of the last decade, a majority said they were paying too much in every year of the Bush presidency. That’s easy to explain — the lopsided Democratic numbers on the fairness question is dragging up the rest of the population — but it doesn’t explain the independent numbers up above. Odd.

Exit question: Only five percent of Democrats think they amount of taxes they pay is too low? I feel like I’ve encountered every one of them on Twitter over the years.


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Almost mirrors the number of Obama fake Twitter follows

Roy Rogers on April 14, 2014 at 4:44 PM

And since about 48% of Americans don’t pay any federal taxes, that means that about 28% of Americans feel the taxes they pay are fair (54% of the 52% who do pay taxes)

This country is tipping over fast.

Lance Corvette on April 14, 2014 at 4:45 PM

haven’t you heard Allah….

liberalisms a mental disorder.

renalin on April 14, 2014 at 4:46 PM

Exit question: Only five percent of Democrats think they amount of taxes they pay is too low?

We call that demographic “Hollywood.”

Good Lt on April 14, 2014 at 4:46 PM

Thank you sir. May I have another?

dentarthurdent on April 14, 2014 at 4:47 PM

I don’t know what to make of those independent numbers.

You’re trying to compare numbers that aren’t comparable. There’s a difference between what people consider a preference versus what they consider an injustice. What people regard as “unfair” versus “too high” aren’t going to be the same thing. Some people may want their taxes to be lower, but don’t regard their level of taxation as being unfair since it’s being applied even-handedly to their fellow citizens.

Stoic Patriot on April 14, 2014 at 4:47 PM

Ignorance is bliss. Compare how much we’re all paying in taxes against the stone-cold destruction of that money in waste, boondoggles, and outright criminality perpetrated by our political representatives.

Bishop on April 14, 2014 at 4:48 PM

And since about 48% of Americans don’t pay any federal taxes, that means that about 28% of Americans feel the taxes they pay are fair (54% of the 52% who do pay taxes)

Lance Corvette on April 14, 2014 at 4:45 PM

Indeed.

Allahpundit, why didn’t you emphasize this obvious point?

itsnotaboutme on April 14, 2014 at 4:49 PM

And since about 48% of Americans don’t pay any federal taxes, that means that about 28% of Americans feel the taxes they pay are fair (54% of the 52% who do pay taxes)

This country is tipping over fast.

Lance Corvette on April 14, 2014 at 4:45 PM

I’d guess, since 48% don’t pay any federal taxes at all, there’s most of the 54% who think what they pay (zero) is fair. That leaves another 6% – likely the super rich who can afford to avoid most taxes – who also think what they pay is fair.
Voila – 54% say it’s fair.

dentarthurdent on April 14, 2014 at 4:50 PM

These responses aren’t precise at all but rather knee-jerk reactions that needn’t be logically consistent. It’s like asking people if they think the feds spend too much, being told yes, and then discovering that there’s not a single item in the budget they’re willing to cut when you offer them options on how to reduce spending.

We need a lot less knee-jerk’in in this country.

2L8 on April 14, 2014 at 4:50 PM

And since about 48% of Americans don’t pay any federal taxes, that means that about 28% of Americans feel the taxes they pay are fair (54% of the 52% who do pay taxes)

Lance Corvette on April 14, 2014 at 4:45 PM

++++++++duh

bazil9 on April 14, 2014 at 4:51 PM

54% is unimpressive when you consider that 4/15 is Governmentmas for about 50% who get a “refund” in excess of what they paid in.

ConstantineXI on April 14, 2014 at 4:52 PM

And by “too high” they mean the earned income tax credit is too low.

Fenris on April 14, 2014 at 4:54 PM

Perfect pic of the oaf, who’s chief.

Schadenfreude on April 14, 2014 at 4:54 PM

Is there a more useless waste of time than speculating on what people THOUGHT as they answered an opinion poll call?

The reason so many lower-income people think their taxes are “fair” and/or “about right” is that they pay little or no taxes.

How hard was that?

Adjoran on April 14, 2014 at 4:54 PM

54% of those who PAY?

or 54% of those who FILE?

Wife and I got SCREWED this year.

portlandon on April 14, 2014 at 4:54 PM

And since about 48% of Americans don’t pay any federal taxes, that means that about 28% of Americans feel the taxes they pay are fair (54% of the 52% who do pay taxes)

This country is tipping over fast.

Lance Corvette on April 14, 2014 at 4:45 PM

Beat me by 7 minutes. Another way of putting it is 6% or under 200,000 people think it is fair.

CW20 on April 14, 2014 at 4:55 PM

This poll make no sense… On on hand a majority of people think that there taxes are too high but yet a majority think it is fair? Unless by fair they pay that we paying more than enough and I do not want to pay more…

Your interpretation of the poll makes no sense…

mnjg on April 14, 2014 at 4:59 PM

Record-high 60% of Kalifornians think state taxes are too high:

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-California/2014/04/13/Record-High-60-of-Californians-Say-They-Pay-Too-Much-Tax

Yet, Moonbeam has a 40 point lead in the most recent Field poll. Yes, the average American, especially the average Kalifornian, isn’t all that bright.

bw222 on April 14, 2014 at 4:59 PM

Of course they do – 50% don’t *pay* any taxes. I’d think that was ‘fair’ to me, as well.

Midas on April 14, 2014 at 5:01 PM

I’m only interested in the views of those who actually pay taxes. Not the parasites that make money off of the taxpayer once you factor in welfare programs like “earned income tax credits.” And anybody on any welfare program be it food stamps, unemployment, or whatever need not respond. You are takers not payers. I don’t want to hear you whining that your unemployment ran out after two freakin’ years.

Happy Nomad on April 14, 2014 at 5:02 PM

Get rid of withholding and get back to me.

Lanceman on April 14, 2014 at 5:04 PM

This isn’t a mystery.

“Too high” > “Not fair” for all groups, and “Fair” > “About right” for all groups. Again, it’s the difference between a preference (based on desire), and a principle (based on rational judgment). There’s a segment of society that would like for their taxes to be lower, but don’t regard their current level of taxation as being unjust.

Stoic Patriot on April 14, 2014 at 5:05 PM

And since about 48% of Americans don’t pay any federal taxes, that means that about 28% of Americans feel the taxes they pay are fair (54% of the 52% who do pay taxes)

This country is tipping over fast.

Lance Corvette on April 14, 2014 at 4:45 PM

I saw this week that Rome is the latest European city where there were anti-austerity riots. Which is the MSM way of saying the parasites are not happy when the public dole gets scaled back. These riots are our future. Inner cities will be on fire when the worthless mooches suddenly don’t have service on their Obamaphones.

Happy Nomad on April 14, 2014 at 5:06 PM

Until you also ask how much tax they paid, their answers are really meaningless.

The break point for voting dem/gop is 45k/y. that is also the point you start paying real taxes and stop getting subsidies.

aniptofar on April 14, 2014 at 5:06 PM

No, I don’t think it’s fair to have money confiscated from me and my family and given to those who are too lazy to earn a living.

Bob Davis on April 14, 2014 at 5:06 PM

I’m sure that half the people who pay no taxes think the amount they pay is fair.
I’m surprised the number isn’t higher.

Mimzey on April 14, 2014 at 5:07 PM

I’d guess, since 48% don’t pay any federal taxes at all, there’s most of the 54% who think what they pay (zero) is fair. That leaves another 6% – likely the super rich who can afford to avoid most taxes – who also think what they pay is fair.
Voila – 54% say it’s fair.

dentarthurdent on April 14, 2014 at 4:50 PM

You said it all

jake-the-goose on April 14, 2014 at 5:07 PM

TIME FOR A FLAT TAX!!!!!

Sorry for the caps but that is the only tax reform that makes sense.

Happy Nomad on April 14, 2014 at 5:09 PM

This country is tipping over fast.

Lance Corvette on April 14, 2014 at 4:45 PM

Well dayam – I thought only islands like Guam could do that…
Must be too many people on one of the coasts – probably DC area – we’re getting lopsided….

dentarthurdent on April 14, 2014 at 5:11 PM

TIME FOR A FLAT TAX!!!!!
Sorry for the caps but that is the only tax reform that makes sense.

Happy Nomad on April 14, 2014 at 5:09 PM

Actually – I’d go for a national sales tax – at about 5 or 10% (max) – and cut the budget enough to make it work.

dentarthurdent on April 14, 2014 at 5:13 PM

Well those demorat libtard moochers I am sure feel that their zero taxes is fair.

txdoc on April 14, 2014 at 5:13 PM

So 6 of people paying income taxes think they are paying a fair share. 100% of the 48% of the people that pay no income taxes think that is just about fair.

jukin3 on April 14, 2014 at 5:13 PM

Must be too many people on one of the coasts – probably DC area – we’re getting lopsided….

dentarthurdent on April 14, 2014 at 5:11 PM

You’re probably right. The last American left the West Coast years ago.

Happy Nomad on April 14, 2014 at 5:13 PM

Actually – I’d go for a national sales tax – at about 5 or 10% (max) – and cut the budget enough to make it work.

dentarthurdent on April 14, 2014 at 5:13 PM

That would work to.

Keep in mind the FDR concocted this tax scheme so that Americans were not mindful about how much they were paying by witholding “just a little bit” of their paycheck instead of the previous system of having a tax bill come due each year.

Part of me wants to do away with the witholding and force taxpayers to pay their tax bill with one payment.

Happy Nomad on April 14, 2014 at 5:21 PM

Darn…y’all beat me to the “48% pay no Federal Income Tax Anyway” factoid.
Smart people here at HT!

Pelosi Schmelosi on April 14, 2014 at 5:22 PM

…and cut the budget enough to make it work.

dentarthurdent on April 14, 2014 at 5:13 PM

Someday, billions of years from now, the sun will become supernova, vaporizing the atmosphere and turning the earth into a lifeless, burning wasteland. After that, Congress may consider cutting the increase in the budget.

Fenris on April 14, 2014 at 5:23 PM

Someday, billions of years from now, the sun will become supernova, vaporizing the atmosphere and turning the earth into a lifeless, burning wasteland. After that, Congress may consider cutting the increase in the budget.

Fenris on April 14, 2014 at 5:23 PM

But that won’t happen if we pay enough taxes now to “save the earth”…..

dentarthurdent on April 14, 2014 at 5:26 PM

Part of me wants to do away with the witholding and force taxpayers to pay their tax bill with one payment.

Happy Nomad on April 14, 2014 at 5:21 PM

And with a sales tax, we tax consumption instead of income.
No more fuss about income from wages vs interest vs capital gains.
So we don’t care how you made your money – the gubmint gets their share of the action when the legitimately rich or drug dealers buy their cars, boats, mansions, electronics, etc.

dentarthurdent on April 14, 2014 at 5:31 PM

But that won’t happen if we pay enough taxes now to “save the earth”…..

dentarthurdent on April 14, 2014 at 5:26 PM

Did I just say “vaporizing the atmosphere”?

Fenris on April 14, 2014 at 5:33 PM

My taxes are clearly too high, on my salary alone (don’t even get me started on the business side), the fed income tax is easily enough for 2-3 welfare babies. I only have 1 child of my own, and yet I’m supporting like 4 at the point of a gun. Everyone was all sad about Romney and his 47% comment, but I completely understand why he made it. Those people make me sick.

nullrouted on April 14, 2014 at 5:33 PM

If Hillary Clinton can lose $6 billion at State … if Kathleen Sebelius can come up with $1 billion from slush funds within HHS to further fund ObamaCare … and neither agency is hurt in the least by it – then we’re paying too much in taxes.

majorzot on April 14, 2014 at 5:37 PM

I’d rather talk about how the taxes are spent.

Cindy Munford on April 14, 2014 at 5:38 PM

Did I just say “vaporizing the atmosphere”?

Fenris on April 14, 2014 at 5:33 PM

Yabut – algore and the UN warmmongers can save the earth from ANYTHING – if we just pay enough penance taxes, dontcha know…..

dentarthurdent on April 14, 2014 at 5:41 PM

And since about 48% of Americans don’t pay any federal taxes, that means that about 28% of Americans feel the taxes they pay are fair (54% of the 52% who do pay taxes)

This country is tipping over fast.

Lance Corvette on April 14, 2014 at 4:45 PM

I’d guess, since 48% don’t pay any federal taxes at all, there’s most of the 54% who think what they pay (zero) is fair. That leaves another 6% – likely the super rich who can afford to avoid most taxes – who also think what they pay is fair.
Voila – 54% say it’s fair.

dentarthurdent on April 14, 2014 at 4:50 PM

You know, after I posted I started wondering if they first asked if the person taking the poll pays any taxes. Then I figured, I had my chance and I blew it.

Anyways, 87% of statistics are made up on the spot. 7 out of 10 people know that.

Lance Corvette on April 14, 2014 at 5:48 PM

Part of me wants to do away with the witholding and force taxpayers to pay their tax bill with one payment.

Happy Nomad on April 14, 2014 at 5:21 PM

Yes, this must be required.

IMO, the best solution is a flat tax that must be paid monthly like every other bill, and *no* withholding – everyone must pay it directly, every month, and thus be *very* in tune with exactly how much the government costs them by putting it in perspective to their other bills.

Midas on April 14, 2014 at 5:49 PM

I’d guess, since 48% don’t pay any federal taxes at all, there’s most of the 54% who think what they pay (zero) is fair. That leaves another 6% – likely the super rich who can afford to avoid most taxes – who also think what they pay is fair.
Voila – 54% say it’s fair.

dentarthurdent on April 14, 2014 at 4:50 PM

47% pay no Federal taxes at all.
3% pay 2.3% of taxes
40% pay 26.7% of taxes.
The top TEN percent pay SEVENTY-ONE PERCENT of all Federal taxes.

I’m surprised the 54% number isn’t higher.

Maddie on April 14, 2014 at 5:49 PM

I saw this week that Rome is the latest European city where there were anti-austerity riots. Which is the MSM way of saying the parasites are not happy when the public dole gets scaled back. These riots are our future. Inner cities will be on fire when the worthless mooches suddenly don’t have service on their Obamaphones.

Happy Nomad on April 14, 2014 at 5:06 PM

If we can keep ‘em penned in there while they finish their carnage, we might have a shot.

Maddie on April 14, 2014 at 5:56 PM

Get rid of withholding and get back to me.

Lanceman on April 14, 2014 at 5:04 PM

Preach it, brother.

Thanks to withholding (the most pernicious act of taxation ever devised) most Americans who actually pay federal taxes have no idea how much they pay, because it never amounts to writing a damn check for it. Just a number on a page you staple a W-2 to.

Its all stolen, drop by drop throughout the year. We stand for it like cattle- stupid and unaware- being bled by a federal vampire bat, never noticing.

Small business people notice, by God, and I doubt that any of them felt “fair” was a good descriptor.

Pless1foEngrish on April 14, 2014 at 5:58 PM

Lies, damned lies and stats….

Schadenfreude on April 14, 2014 at 6:02 PM

Should be rephrased..

“the majority of those that don’t pay taxes, think the taxes others pay to support them are fair”…

celt on April 14, 2014 at 6:37 PM

Taxes won’t be “fair” until EVERYONE pays something.

GarandFan on April 14, 2014 at 6:47 PM

Small business people notice, by God, and I doubt that any of them felt “fair” was a good descriptor.

Pless1foEngrish on April 14, 2014 at 5:58 PM

The tax code for small business is a nightmare. Wading thru the rules & regulations that apply to the multi-billion dollar companies you have an idea why it’s a nightmare.

I suggest there be a Small Business Tax Section, based on Gross Profit of 500,000.00 or less. Simplify it!!

bluefox on April 14, 2014 at 7:02 PM

Taxes won’t be “fair” until EVERYONE pays something.

GarandFan on April 14, 2014 at 6:47 PM

Totally agree. And everyone, means everyone!!

bluefox on April 14, 2014 at 7:03 PM

And since about 48% of Americans don’t pay any federal taxes, that means that about 28% of Americans feel the taxes they pay are fair (54% of the 52% who do pay taxes)

This country is tipping over fast.

Lance Corvette on April 14, 2014 at 4:45 PM

Good, but you made a common error here, assuming that the 54% is evenly distributed over the 47% and the other 53%.

As someone else pointed out, it’s much more likely that among the 47%, the percentage that are okay with what they pay is much higher than 54%.

Within the 53% that pay taxes the number that think what they pay is fair is likely to be much lower than 54%.

slickwillie2001 on April 14, 2014 at 7:11 PM

I wonder how that breaks out by state…..

cthulhu on April 14, 2014 at 8:55 PM

What is the % of tax filers who get “backdoor welfare” in the form of EIC and ‘extra child tax credit’?

listens2glenn on April 14, 2014 at 9:05 PM

I guess that would be the 54% that are paying zero, right?

Diluculo on April 14, 2014 at 9:40 PM

Exit question: Only five percent of Democrats think they amount of taxes they pay is too low? I feel like I’ve encountered every one of them on Twitter over the years.

I think they polled Warren Buffett and Bill Gates multiple times.

talkingpoints on April 14, 2014 at 10:53 PM

Someday, billions of years from now, the sun will become supernova, vaporizing the atmosphere and turning the earth into a lifeless, burning wasteland. After that, Congress may consider cutting the increase in the budget.

Fenris on April 14, 2014 at 5:23 PM

I’m not currently using an email signature line, but that would be a good one. I’ll take it into consideration.

talkingpoints on April 14, 2014 at 10:54 PM

54% say the income tax they pay is fair

Just more proof that most amerikans are dumber than a bag of hammers.

earlgrey on April 14, 2014 at 11:47 PM

Whenever someone uses the term “fair,” you had better check your wallet and keep your hand on it.

NoPain on April 15, 2014 at 11:50 AM