"How many are retirees living on savings and Social Security? How many soldiers? Students? How many are unemployed amid the current recession, thus have no income to tax? ... It's also false to imply that households paying no income tax escape federal taxation altogether. Social Security and Medicare payroll deductions, for example, add up to a nonrefundable 15.3 percent -- a slightly higher rate than wealthy citizens pay on income from dividends and capital gains. Low-income earners, meanwhile, pay the same gasoline and sales taxes as everybody else."