Monday, May 9, 2011


Updated 1/19/2013

by James Craig Green

You've probably heard Republicans say a very small percentage of the highest income taxpayers pay the most taxes. And, you may have heard Democrats respond that may be true for the income tax, but what about payroll, sales and other taxes, more equally distributed? Like most public debates, this one provides convenient sound bites for both sides to parrot, while ignoring the bigger picture. But the other day, I came across a report from the Tax Foundation that compares all government spending with all taxes in the U.S.

In 2007, the Tax Foundation published a detailed study of government spending and taxes for the years 1991-2004, allocated to each of five income groups. It contains several tables and graphs, from which I developed the following presentation.

For each of five income groups, my graph below shows the ratio of government spending received to taxes paid, including federal, state and local spending; and taxes of every kind. As you can see from my summary of tax and spending categories taken from the report in the boxes to the right of the graph, the scope of the tax foundation study is much wider than anything you've seen before. I can only hope the tax foundation will do this for more years after 2004.

Below the graph is my table based on data from the report's Figure 1, which I used to calculate the ratio of spending received to taxes paid by each income group. Click on the graphic to enlarge it.

The lowest income group receives about 15 times the amount of taxes paid, and the highest group about one third. A ratio greater than one means that group receives more in government spending than it pays in taxes. A ratio less than one means the opposite.

Since the first three categories are all greater than one, 60% of the people (3 x 20%) get more from government than they pay in. This leaves the remaining 40% who pay more than they get back. This must be what Karl Marx meant by "winning the battle of democracy."

The 2010 congressional elections, after energetic campaigns by tea party and other so-called "limited government" conservatives, were as complete an electoral success as they were a complete failure to reduce government spending. As Congressman Ron Paul recently noted, Instead of the left agreeing to cut social spending and the right agreeing to cut military spending, the right agrees to more welfare and the left agrees to more warfare. Such is the nature of an out-of-control Empire past its zenith.

I assume you knew, but maybe not, that the primary purpose of government is to perpetuate itself. No government in the history of the world has been as successful at this as the current American Empire of Debt described in Bonner and Wiggin's 2006 book by that name.


1. Although 2004 was more than six years ago, the levels of government spending received and taxes paid by each income group are fairly representative of today, at least compared to decades ago. If anything, it's gotten worse.

2. When 60% of the voting population receives more from the government than they pay, there is no reason for this majority to accept LESS government spending or taxes. The more government spends, the better off they appear to be. Besides visiting Afghanistan, empires have in common the self-destruction of their currencies, from promising wealth they don't have (i.e., unsustainable public debt).

3. There is no rational reason to think the democratic process can ever produce less government spending. Consumers outvote producers, which is cheaper than buying their products. They don't seem to realize, or care, that taking more from producers by force reduces wealth for everyone, by reducing production incentives and replacing win-win trades with win-lose plunder. Thomas Paine said, "What we obtain too cheap we esteem too lightly."

4. Economic reality (i.e., collapse) is the most likely way for government spending to decline. It is already happening with municipal bond defaults, which have caused many towns and cities to lay off police and other emergency services. The same thing is happening to many states who are cutting both lean and fat. Despite having Congress' permission to create unlimited dollars (but not wealth), the Fed and Congress seem to be on the same downhill path as the states and cities.

5. Observe the rule of holes: when you're in one, stop digging.

6. Read my "Unchain the Builders" series on this blog to understand the principles which made the U.S.A. the most prosperous country in the world, and "Subordinate Acts" to understand how the Supreme Court has poisoned American minds against the Constitution, which may be the best republic-restoring tool we have. It needs to be protected, not changed.


  1. Interesting post. Restoring the Republic is a fool's errand. It's not going to happen for the very reasons you point out in the article.

    Just as I love the term "libtard" for liberals who keep supporting idiotic policies that are proven failures, I like the term "patriotard" for people who bleet on and on about the Founders and the Constitution.

    It's over, deal wiht it. The 60% is here, and they can not be eduated to vote for Constitutionalist legislatures.

    There is a huge racial component to all this. The NY Times recently published a map showing food-stamp usage in every county in America. Because the data was there they included a black/white racial breakdown. In Multnomah Co. Oregon (Portland area) 47% of blacks get foodstamps and 11% of whites. These types of ratios are common across the nation.

    Portland was never part of the Old South, the blacks who moved here presumably had a reason for doing so but now 1/2 of those here are on welfare. Amazing.

    Attacking welfare is attacking black people, whether you have a racist bone in your body or not.

    Because patriotards are highly invested in the racial myths of colorblind America (think patriotard leader Glenn Beck holding a rally in honor of MLK) they are unwilling to deal with any of this in a coherent manner. Yes, it would be wonderful if there were more black conservatives like Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell but there are not. And will not be.

    And, more bad news, therear are now approximately 50 million Latinos who are modeling their politics on the Black model: defacto reparations from whites for alleged wrongs. This in spite of the fact that 90% of them arrived long after whatever trivial anti-Latino policies and attitudes were abolished (if they ever existed. "I Love Lucy" was one of the highest rated TV shows in the 1950s.)

    Pining away for the lost land of liberty in the face of the demographic tusnami washing over us is pointless. Refusing to discuss the racial aspects and retreating to cold economic statistics is delusional.

    The only remaining question is if there is some remnant of traditional America that has the will to break away. The whole is well beyond saving.

    If you doubt this I humbly suggest you spend a month in the greater Los Angeles area (out side of the Santa Monica - West Hollywood enclave.) Don't forget your portable Spanish-American dictionary. And body armor.

  2. I agree with some of what you said, but not your obsession with race or name-calling.


    The 60% is here.

    Some ethnic groups are more highly represented in the 60% than others.

    The 60% is not going to vote for government cutbacks.

    The Republic has been destroyed. That's why some, like my friends at the Liberty Ink Journal, think it should be restored. It may indeed be a fool's errand.

    America is not colorblind, though it is fashionable among some whites to pretend they are. A black lawyer friend of mine who once met Governor George Wallace in Alabama told me he preferred Wallace's open racism to the disguised kind so many whites hide.

    People who never suffered under slavery (or other past evil against their "group") have no right to force people living today to pay them restitution.


    It makes no difference to me what race, religion, or culture the 60% are.

    Restoring the Republic may not be a fool's errand.

    I won't predict there will be no more black conservatives in the future.

    I don't "pine away for some lost land of liberty." I create my own liberty.

    I left Southern California 30 years ago, but not because of race. It was too crowded.

    Nothing in your post was humble, but I enjoyed the discussion.