Building an Economy that Works for Everyone

Four freeloader fabrications poisoning our perceptions of public policy

If “the line is a dot to you”, this is going to be a difficult conversation.

In the “makers vs. takers” debate, the line between truth and opinion is just a dot to some. That might win a debate, but it’s not a good way to run a democracy. So here’s a handy summary of what’s fake and what’s fact, to help square those pesky (mis)perceptions with reality:

  • Fake: Nearly half of all Americans don’t pay taxes.
    Fact: 86 percent of Americans pay taxes in the form of payroll taxes, as well as state and local taxes. Bonus fact: 37 percent of Americans are not in the labor force because they are retired, students, or unemployed. Nobody expects them to be paying taxes.
  • Fake: More Americans are becoming dependent on government benefits.
    Fact: Less than 10 percent of all government assistance goes to non-working adults in their prime years, and much of it is in the form of emergency assistance to people who have lost their jobs.
  • Fake: Americans have more of an “entitlement mindset” these days.
    : Work is still a core value for Americans. Millions of eligible Americans don’t use programs like food stamps, welfare, Medicaid, and so on – even though they qualify. Bonus fact: You think having a full stomach on food stamps is easy? Try it sometime.
  • Fake: Poor people are the biggest freeloaders.
    Fact: The three biggest tax breaks on the books in 2014 are: employer-provided health insurance ($164 billion); retirement savings – mainly 401ks ($162 billion); and the home mortgage interest deduction ($99.8 billion). Bonus fact: Many Fortune 500 corporations have been able to reduce their federal and state income tax bills to zero (or less!), even in years when they were quite profitable.

For a compete mythbusting of the conservative “Makers & Takers” ideology, check out Demos Senior Fellow David Callahan’ Freeloader Fabrications.

  • Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More To Read

June 14, 2024

Join us for EOI’s 2025 Changemakers Dinner!

Celebrate the powerful work of our community and the significant policy strides towards economic justice in Washington

June 14, 2024

The Rising Economic, Social and Political Cost of Anti-LGBTQ Laws

The harm done by anti-LGBTQ laws expands so much further than queer children and teens