It’s common knowledge that a large percentage of Americans pay no federal incomes taxes. When GOP presidential contender and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, made that the comment that 47 percent of Americans were dependent on rather than helping to pay for government during the 2012 election, it sealed his campaign’s fate. However, the number of non-payers is steadily rising.

The Tax Policy Center just updated its estimates and calculates that 45.3 percent – or some 77.5 million – American households don’t pay federal incomes taxes. This is up five percent from 2013 estimate of 40.4 percent. Isn’t the economy recovering Mr. President? So if more Americans have jbs why aren’t they paying more income taxes?

It may be because the low-skilled jobs they’re working in still don’t earn then enough to require to pay taxes or that they have dropped out of the job market and are earning zero.

TPC suggests that better calculations based on the number of Americans who don’t file returns, accounts for the rise.

The report explains:

… the higher estimate reflects new and better estimates of the number of Americans who don’t file tax returns. Those additional non-payers were there all the time—we just failed to count them.

Estimating the number of people not paying income tax is hard. We know how many people file returns and whether those filers pay any tax—although it takes us a few years to get actual data from the IRS. But we don’t know how many people don’t file returns…

Our latest estimates rely on recent research by JCT that led committee staff to boost their estimates of non-filers and on recent IRS filing data showing more returns with no tax liability. As a result, we increased our estimate of the number of tax units—those who file plus those who don’t—by 7.5 million and trimmed our estimate of the number of people paying tax by 3.9 million. The bottom line: out of 171.3 million tax units this year, 77.5 million—or 45.3 percent—won’t pay income tax. In contrast, our last estimate had 66.2 million of 163.8 million tax units not paying tax this year.

More important, TPC calculates that while the percentage of non-payers will fall over time, it won’t be for another decade that the percentage of households not paying income taxes falls to even 40 percent – more slowly than they previously thought.

The report reminds us that even though three-quarters of a million American households pay no federal taxes, they do shell out other taxes. Three out of five of these pay Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes because they do work. Add to that state and local sales, excise, property, and other taxes. Virtually no American is untaxed.

Should those of us who see our checks whittled away each pay cycle feel better? It comes as little or no consolation that so many Americans have “no skin in the game” because of our regressive tax system. This is a system that penalizes those who work hard and earn more by redistributing those additional earnings to those who pay little or nothing into the federal system. A truly fair system would be a flat tax paid by all. That is the real “shared responsibility payment” – forget the ObamaCare tax.