In the recent debate about the 47% of Americans who pay no income tax, progressives have narrowly argued that these Americans pay other kinds of taxes. The bigger truth is that 96% of Americans rely on some type of federal assistance at some point in their lives. This piece from the New York Times sheds light on the deeper reality:
Throughout our lives, almost all of us help sustain government social policies through our tax dollars and, at some point, almost all of us directly benefit from these policies. Because ideology influences how we view our own and others’ use of government, Mr. Romney’s remarks may resonate with those who think of themselves as “producers” rather than “moochers”—to use Ayn Rand’s distinction. But this distinction fails to capture the way Americans really experience government. Instead of dividing us, our experiences as both makers and takers ought to bind us in a community of shared sacrifice and mutual support.