Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The mooching 47% sure pay a lot of taxes!

You may have seen Mitt Romney's epically silly comment given to his fellow oligarchs about who supports his opponent, but if you haven't, here's the best-known line.
"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it -- that that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. ... These are people who pay no income tax. ... [M]y job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
I'll leave aside the crassness of a presidential candidate saying he doesn't care about 150 million people (a disqualifying comment on its face), and instead look at the tax question.

The "47% pay no income tax" line comes from federal income tax records, and the Brookings Institute says Romney is close enough, as 46.4 percent of households ended up owing $0 income tax to the federal government after filing their taxes. Of course, all 46% of these households don't work at all, but instead they get their federal income taxes written off through deductions such as interest on home mortgages and student loans, or through tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit,and credits for raising children. And a majority of the people who don't owe federal income taxes sure do end up paying other taxes- most notably Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes. (picture courtesy Tax Policy Center at Brookings)

And of those people who don't pay payroll taxes, the majority of them are elderly, and past working age.

So to identify the "47%ers" as unemployed freeloaders is absurd- most do work and earn some kind of money, and many of those who don't probably did when they were younger and more able-bodied.

But it goes further than that. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) released a report on the same day as Romney's statement which was a summary of previous research they'd done on taxes. This report notes that the same tax credits that lead to many people owing no federal income tax also has driven more people to look for work and get them off of the welfare rolls, which I thought Republicans were supposed to be all about.
Studies of the EITC expansions enacted in the 1980s and 1990s found those expansions induced more than half a million people to enter the labor force. One prominent study identified the EITC as “a particularly important contributor to both the recent decrease in welfare use and the recent increase in employment, labor supply, and earnings” among female-headed families. The creation of the refundable component of the Child Tax Credit, which like the EITC is available only to families that work, has complemented the EITC’s pro-work efforts. Moreover, the EITC and CTC lifted 8.9 million people — including 4.7 million children — out of poverty in 2010. These refundable credits lift more children out of poverty than any other program or category of programs at any level of government.
So when Romney and the oligarchs that buy into his trash start whining about non-taxpayers, ask them which deductions and credits they'd like to do away with, and if they'd prefer more productive citizens to go onto the dole (and increase government spending) instead. Because that would be the result if they got rid of the EITC and CTC.

It is especially disgusting to hear rich people like Romney whine about people who don't pay federal income taxes, because lower-income people pay a much higher tax rate than Mittens on a lot of other taxes. Also from the CBPP report are a couple of graphs worth looking at. First of all, the non-rich pay a much higher percentage of their income in payroll and excise taxes, as Social Security taxes are capped at just over $100,000, and everyone pays the same tax on a 6-pack of beer or gallong of gasoline regardless of how much pay you take home. (click for larger image)

State and local taxes also hit the lower classes harder. States lay on excise and gas taxes as well, and also have sales taxes, which are usually regressive (especially in backwards states like Alabama and Tennessee where they tax you for groceries). In addition, property taxes also often end up being regressive- especially when you realize the rich are usually having those taxes deducted at 35% vs. 15% or 28% for most middle-class people.

Lastly, Mittens apparently doesn't know much about which parts of the country do and do not pay taxes. Because a whole lot of the Confederate states that Romney and Republicans count on to run up votes are the ones that are most likely to have the "dependent on government" types. These are the states that are marked in red, and Romney just admitted he doesn't care about governing "those people."

So good luck going ahead Mittens. Oh, and while you're at it- can you verify for us that you're not one of those 47%ers? You know, by showing us your income tax returns? Yes folks, another reason this is such an epic blunder is because it brings Romney's refusal to show us his tax returns right back to the forefront.

What an assclown.


  1. Great post! I have been reading a lot more about this "special" 47%. It really ticks me off that these people don't have to pay taxes, or get special privileges, when the rest of us are working hard, and still have back taxes to pay off. At some points it's just not fair.

  2. And that's why it's important to identify who the "47%ers" are and why they don't owe federal income taxes. There's also a good study out recently showing that the poor and middle classes pay a much higher % in taxes when it comes to state and local taxes vs. Romney and the 1%ers.

    Thanks for reading, and I'll touch on this a bit more when I have time.