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Who Pays Federal Income Tax?

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John Cassidy picks up on an AP report stating that 47% of Americans will not pay federal income tax for 2009, and he says that's a good thing. "How should we react to these figures? As somebody who believes that wealth is ultimately socially created and that the marginal utility of income declines rapidly with income—a finding confirmed by countless surveys—I believe they are almost wholly positive. By redirecting money to families further down the income distribution, a progressive tax system increases overall welfare—a point A. C. Pigou, another utilitarian egalitarian, made a century ago. But the figures do raise interesting questions of political economy. When almost half the population isn’t paying income tax, what is the politics of higher or lower government spending?"
SOURCE:   New Yorker