41% of American Households “Lucky Duckies” in 2004

It’s in the U.S., and so I’m expecting a flurry of news releases, blog posts, and media mentions of tax issues and tax resistance stories. I’m going to be over in Oakland at a protest with the Northern California War Tax Resistance group for much of the day, though, and then I’m going on vacation for a few days, so I’ll have to blog some of it later.

Today, though, I want to call your attention to this press release from the Tax Foundation. I’ve mentioned before on The Picket Line how few Americans actually pay federal income tax. Last I checked, about 37% of Americans who could pay (they’re old enough, they’re not dependents of another taxpayer) don’t. A handful of these are tax protesters, but most of them just don’t make enough income to be taxed.

Well, as impressed as I was by that 37% number — it’s so last year!

The Tax Foundation tracks how recent changes to the tax laws and to income demographics have pushed this number higher: “, a record 44 million tax returns — one-third of all returns filed — will have no income tax liability because of the available credits and deductions in the tax code. This is a 50 percent increase in the number of zero-tax filers in just . In addition to these zero-tax filers is 14 million individuals or households who do not earn enough to file a tax return. Overall, some 58 million taxable households are outside of the income tax system.” (That’s out of something like 140 million total taxable households — 41% pay no federal income tax.)

This is amazing. And there are two important implications of this for war tax resisters. The first is that income tax resistance is easy — if you don’t want to pay the federal income tax, just join the other 58 million taxable households who’ve figured out the secret. It’s not rocket science. The second is that the government is perfectly capable of carrying out expensive wars and other disastrous and destructive policies without income taxes from 58 million households it could be collecting money from. In other words — massive war tax resistance may be necessary, but it is not sufficient, to restrain a bellicose government.