Given the extent of the economic collapse that began in December 2007 and continued throughout 2008, it should be no surprise that a record number of Americans earned too little income to incur an income-tax liability in 2008.
This is a very bad thing, according to a study released today by the conservative Tax Foundation -- not because of the difficulties that middle-class American families are experiencing in making ends meet, but because it leaves the rich to pay a higher percentage of all income taxes.
The percentage of tax filers in 2008 who had no income-tax liability varied from a high of 45 percent in Mississippi to a low of 21 percent in Alaska. California -- still a relatively rich state, despite all the talk of the state's economic woes -- ranked 16th, with 37 percent of California filers owing no income taxes.
What this means, according to the Tax Foundation's Scott Hodge, is that there is "a growing population of Americans who have no skin in the game" when it comes to financing the federal government.
What it also means, of course, is that there is a growing population of Americans who would like nothing more than for their economic conditions to improve to the point where they can afford the day-to-day costs of supporting their families and actually have enough left over to pay for some other things, including taxes.