Paying Nothing On Tax Day

In recognition of Tax Day, I’m revealing the amount of income taxes I paid for 2009 after filing my return earlier this year:   . 

No, that’s not a typo after the colon. I paid nothing.  Thanks to our “progressive” income-tax system, I received all of my federal witholdings back in the form of a check. I had a modest income last year thanks to the part-time job I’ve had while in graduate school. Because I only made so much (or should I say, so little), the government (read: politicians seeking votes) decided to essentially not charge me anything for the services it provides me.

This has been a trend in my years in college. I wrote a column for my student paper a few years ago in my undergrad. when I was first catching on to the progressivity of our income-tax system. Here’s one notable excerpt from it:

I have this crazy notion that if there is going to be an income tax, and I’m skeptical of that, it should at least be the same rate for everyone — none of this earned income tax credit or “progressive” system. You might say then, “Well, that’s not fair to the poor people.” But, you would be wrong.

That’s fair to everyone — although some would argue that it’s still unfair to wealthier people because they pay a higher dollar amount for receiving basically the same services from the government.

 That’s another problem. Why is it that we only expect different prices for services when it comes to the services government provides? We’d surely complain if one person was charged a higher price than someone else for the same exact service for a car repair, but most of us don’t say a word when the same thing happens to people when they pay for government services through taxes.

I’ve at times contemplated returning my check to the U.S. Treasury. However, nothing about the federal government’s spending habits have convinced me that it would spend the money in a responsible manner — like using it to pay off our government’s massive debt.

* The preceding was originally posted on the Young Americans for Liberty blog.

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