It's true.  This year’s Index of Dependence on Government shows some startling findings about the increasing numbers of Americans who rely on the federal government for housing, food, income, student aid or other assistance, but pay no income taxes.

The Index developed by the Heritage Foundation says nearly half of all Americans -- 49.5 percent at last count -- do not pay income taxes.  Even more startling, this percentage has more than tripled since 1984 -- from 14.8 percent in 1984 to 49.5 percent in 2009.

In raw numbers, 151.7 million Americans paid no income taxes in 2009, compared to just 34.8 million tax filers who paid no taxes in 1984.

Many political leaders and economists say this does not bode well for the American form of government. Writing for the Heritage Foundation Online, economists Bill Beach and Patrick Tyrrel say:

“If the citizens’ representatives are elected by an increasing percentage of voters who pay no income tax, how long will it be before these representatives respond more to demands for yet more entitlements and subsidies from non-payers than to the pleas of taxpayers to exercise greater spending prudence?”

The writers say out of control dependence on government is worse today than it was when this report was prepared in 2009, and America's financial integrity and security are at risk.

"The United States has reached the point at which it must reverse the direction of both trends or face economic and social collapse."

via Chart: Nearly Half of All Americans Don't Pay Income Taxes.

Every time he opens his mouth, President Barack Obama says it's time for everybody to pay their fair share of taxes.  Which half of the population is he talking about?   The half that's now paying all the taxes are already paying more than their fair share.