Tax Day, April 15, is approaching. About 47 percent of Americans won’t be sweating it, though. According to the Tax Policy Center in Washington, that’s how many had no federal income tax liability for 2009. Their incomes were too low or they qualified for credits, deductions or exemptions that wiped out their bill to Uncle Sam. We’re not just talking about folks at the poverty line, either. The Associated Press reports a study by consulting firm Deloitte Tax found qualifying level for credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, have grown to the point where a family of four with $50,000 in income, with two children younger than 17, won’t owe any federal tax for 2009. Of course, that’s the kind of thing that helps steam the 53 percent who have a tax bill. And it suggests the day when there will be fewer people paying taxes than those not paying them might not be far away. Then we’ll be discussing the fairness of federal tax and spending policies borne by less than half the population.
The president of the United States throwing out the first pitch of the Major League Baseball season truly is a rite of spring. President Barack Obama was the hurler-in-chief before Monday’s Washington Nationals-Philadelphia Phillies game, continuing a tradition apparently begun by President William H. Taft in 1910. Obama reportedly spent some time practicing his pitch. (No one wants to get on a mound in front of 40,000 people and dribble one into the catcher.) The president strode to the Nationals Park mound in a red Nationals jacket, to cheers and some boos. Toeing the pitching rubber, Obama pulled out a Chicago White Sox cap and put it on his head, to more boos. All in good fun. As for his toss, Obama’s left-handed offering sailed high and wide to the left, but Nats infielder Ryan Zimmerman still was able to flag it down. Mission accomplished!
The economy added 162,000 jobs in March, the most since the recession began, but the total still was below many analysts’ expectation of around 200,000. The Labor Department said the total includes 48,000 temporary workers hired for the U.S. Census, which means the private economy added about 123,000 jobs, the most since May 2007. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.7 percent. Job creation isn’t increasing enough to keep up with the growth in the potential labor force, which is why the jobless rate is the same. Experts said the figures suggest the economic recovery is sustained but not particularly robust. That’s not great news for the White House or Democratic candidates, whose election prospects probably will be directly correlated to the monthly jobs report from now until November.