There's a new CBS News poll getting a lot of attention the past few days claiming that more Americans believe their taxes are fair today than did in 1997.
Unfortunately, the coverage ignores why this likely is the case: the percentage of Americans that don't pay taxes has doubled since 1997.
As such, it makes sense that more folks feel their taxes are fair.
Such logic wasn't included in CBSNews.com's article on the poll's findings:
Fifty percent of Americans think the amount they pay in taxes is fair - a slight decrease from the last few years, but up from an April 1997 CBS News poll. [...]
Back in 1997 Americans viewed the amount of taxes they paid as even less fair. Then, 49% said they were paying more than their fair share of federal income taxes, while 47% said they paid the right amount.
Well, why might that be?
As NewsBusters reported last Thursday, 47 percent of Americans didn't pay any federal income taxes in 2009.
According to a June 2005 article published by the Tax Foundation, only 23.6 percent of Americans paid no federal income taxes in 1997.
That means that the percentage of Americans not paying federal income taxes has doubled since 1997.
It should therefore not be at all surprising that more people think their tax burden is fair today than thirteen years ago.
Alas, the folks at CBSNews.com didn't feel it was necessary to share this inconvenient truth with readers.
Why might that be?