FOX NEWS, GOP THINK AMERICANS DON’T PAY ENOUGH TAXES…. The AP has a piece today with a headline that reads, “Nearly half of US households escape fed income tax.” Here’s the lede:

Tax Day is a dreaded deadline for millions, but for nearly half of U.S. households it’s simply somebody else’s problem.

About 47 percent will pay no federal income taxes at all for 2009. Either their incomes were too low, or they qualified for enough credits, deductions and exemptions to eliminate their liability.

This has some on the right complaining — about the policy, not the story. As Steve M. noted, “So, after a year or so of telling us they’re ‘taxed enough already,’ wingnuts are now going to start complaining that taxes are too low? Apparently.”

Drudge is telling readers today, “Rob Thy Neighbor: Half of Households Pay No Fed Income Tax.” Fox Nation’s headline reads, “Fair? Half the Country Doesn’t Pay Income Tax.”

Rick Santorum told Fox News viewers last night, “[W]hen you reach the point where people feel like they don’t have to pay anything and they’re getting money out of the Treasury for nothing, then there’s no end to the amount of government that people want.” Glenn Beck is also outraged that more Americans aren’t paying more in federal taxes.

Since this is apparently the conservative complaint of the day, let’s note that it’s true that many middle- and lower-class families have seen their tax burden shrink thanks to tax credits approved in the Democratic stimulus package from last year.

But those breaks aren’t permanent, and just as importantly, it’s not as if middle- and lower-class families are free from taxes altogether. As Monica Potts noted, these same families that have been given a break on their federal income taxes still pay other taxes, “like the sales tax, state taxes, and the Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid taxes.” This “rob thy neighbor” nonsense is ridiculous.

But these details aside, why is it, exactly, that Republicans and their allies would be complaining about Americans paying too little in taxes? As Eric Boehlert asked, “From a purely philosophical perspective, wouldn’t a study claiming that nearly half of U.S. households escape paying a federal income tax be good news for a political movement — as well as its chief media enabler — that rallies for lower taxes? Am I missing something here, or is Fox News’ hypocrisy slip just showing again?”

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.