The fact that most people who don’t owe federal income tax in a given year do pay substantial amounts of other taxes — and also are net income taxpayers over time — belies the claim that households that do not owe income tax in a given year will form bad policy judgments because they “don’t have any skin in the game.”
Economic activity as measured by real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) was contracting sharply when policymakers enacted the financial stabilization bill (TARP) and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The economy has been growing for 12 straight quarters, but the pace of recovery has been modest.
SOURCES: Data for 1962 are from Social Security Administration, The Aged Population of the United States: The 1963 Social Security Survey of the Aged (1967). Data for 2010 are Social Security Administration calculations from the March 2011 Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey.