Re: On Our Backs, Ourselves

by Ramesh Ponnuru

I’m not sure why the accurate observation that most poor people pay payroll taxes is “boilerplate blather.” But even excluding this question, I see two other problems in the argument. First: If the problem is that some people are net beneficiaries of federal spending, making them pay some taxes is not going to do much to make the problem go away. Net taxpayers are still going to be carrying them. Nor is it clear that we should concentrate on taxing them more, as opposed to spending on them less, if we’re concerned about this problem. Second: This is a strange argument to make in favor of Rick Perry’s tax plan, since it doesn’t increase the number of people paying income taxes but rather almost certainly decreases it.