McCULLOUGH: America, now half off

"When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic." — Benjamin Franklin

Last week in this space, I made a list of some of the ridiculous ways the government is trying to take your money. I may have been negligent in condemning only the government because now the story gets weirder — and more infuriating.

The Associated Press reported this week that the Tax Policy Center projects that 47 percent of households will pay no federal income tax this year.

Let me repeat that: No federal income tax. None. Zero. Zip.

In other words, 47 percent of the American people — making up to $50,000 — live here for free. Oh, I'm sure some of them pay rent or something. But as for all those other things they enjoy, like traveling on roads and living under the protection of the world's best military, well, I guess the rest of us will just pick up the tab for them.

In fact, according to the report, new tax policies have the bottom 40 percent of earners getting a payment from the government. No wonder Uncle Sam wants to tax tanning beds. He's got to make it up somewhere.

Furthermore, the top 10 percent will foot nearly three-quarters of the country's tax bill.

None of it seems very fair to me.

No one likes paying taxes. As I made clear last week, the burden is ridiculous, and I don't know anyone who doesn't believe that they already pay too much. But some taxes are necessary to keep the country going, and now we find out nearly half not only aren't contributing a dime but are actually getting checks from the Treasury.

So let's get this straight: The government, in an effort to help out everyone in the universe, spends trillions of dollars it doesn't have. Then, because of its own "helpful" tax policy, will not only take in less revenue, but will have to fork out more money to some folks.

People who know me will tell you I love irony. But this is ridiculous.

I don't want anyone to pay too much tax. But I don't want half the country getting off for free, either. I'm sorry, I'm just not that compassionate. I've got my own problems. You pay your own way instead of sticking me with the bill.

Why is John Linder leaving office? If ever it was time to pass the FairTax, it's now. The FairTax is just what the name implies — fair. It eliminates the burden for the poor, makes everyone else pay a fair share and makes American business more competitive, a benefit that might give many of them the incentive to stop treating customers like suckers and criminals.

The FairTax is a good plan for saving Franklin's republic. Of course, half of the republic is getting a free ride, so it may already be too late.

E-mail Nate McCullough at nate.mccullough@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Fridays.