The leaked video of Romney calling the bottom 47% of Americans who don’t pay income taxes and thus were “dependent on government” who felt entitled to food, healthcare and housing was just an example of Romney saying what he really believed as opposed to him accidentally saying something that he didn’t believe. Romney held a press conference HERE where the best he could come up with was that he could have phrased things better. At the core of it – conservatives believe that anyone not paying income taxes is just a welfare recipient … forget that over 90% of Americans pay payroll taxes or income taxes and that payroll taxes make up 1/3 of the total revenues brought in by the federal government. But when it comes to capital gains and estate taxes … conservatives want to see those at 0%; coincidentally – that’s how the ultra rich make their money and transfer it to future generations.
This isn’t news to me and it shouldn’t be to you. I have shared several examples HERE where Republican party leaders are calling for more Americans to do their part. In other words – if you’re in the bottom 50% of incomes (students and seniors) – you should be paying income taxes. And the problem with that is that Republicans are constantly talking about cutting taxes for everyone but really … they’re just interested in cutting taxes for the rich. We’re talking about half of America they want to raise taxes on.
What else does Romney recommend if he feels 47% of Americans won’t take responsibility for themselves and only want a government handout? He thinks those people should be paying more in taxes … clearly. That’s what is unsaid underneath the statements he made. The only potential solution for these 47% of lazy Americans to not be wards of the state is for them to pay more in taxes since their payroll, gas, real estate, and sales taxes apparently don’t count. At the core of it – the only way to reduce the tax burden on the rich is to raise taxes on everyone else … and wouldn’t ya know it – that’s exactly what his plan does (source).
Ezra Klein points out HERE:
Behind this argument, however, is a very clever policy two-step that’s less about who pays taxes now and more about who is going to pay to reduce the deficit in the coming years. Here’s how it works.
Part of the reason so many Americans don’t pay federal income taxes is that Republicans have passed a series of very large tax cuts that wiped out the income-tax liability for many Americans. That’s why, when you look at graphs of the percent of Americans who don’t pay income taxes, you see huge jumps after Ronald Reagan’s 1986 tax reform and George W. Bush’s 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. So whenever you hear that half of Americans don’t pay federal income taxes, remember: Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush helped build that. (You also see a jump after the financial crisis begins in 2008, but we can expect that to be mostly temporary.)
Some of those tax cuts for the poor were there to make the tax cuts for the rich more politically palatable. “Do you think we wanted to include a welfare payment to people who don’t pay taxes and call it a tax cut?” A top Bush administration official once asked me. “No. But that’s what we needed to do to get it done.”
Paul Krugman says who those 47% of Americans are that don’t pay income taxes HERE:
Actually, if you look at the facts, you learn that the great bulk of those who pay no income tax pay other taxes; also, many of the people in the no-income-tax category are (a) elderly (b) students or (c) having a bad year, having lost a job — that is, they’re people who have paid income taxes in the past and/or will pay income taxes in the future. The idea that half of Americans are just grifters is grotesque.
If this is real, it’s very, very ugly.
Glenn Kessler – the fact checker at the Washington Post – gives Romney’s statements 3 Pinocchios if you just look at the substance of his statements forgetting that he’s an asshole just for a minute. You can read that HERE:
Some 44 percent of those who do not pay income taxes are because they benefit from tax benefits aimed at the elderly, while another 30 percent benefit from tax credits for children or for the working poor, according to a paper published by the Tax Policy Center.
But not all of these people are automatically Obama supporters. In fact, according to a map published by the Tax Foundation, eight of the top ten states with the lowest income-tax liability are the heart of Romney country — the deep south. The only exceptions are Florida, a battleground state, and New Mexico, which leans toward Obama. Meanwhile, most of the states with the lowest level of nonpayers are Obama states.
As for other entitlements, of course Social Security and Medicare are reserved for the elderly — and are generally popular. But it seems simplistic to think these are all Obama voters, especially since polling indicates that the Republican share of the vote among white seniors have increased in each of the last five elections, to 58 percent in 2008.
Both of these charts come courtesy of Matthew Yglesias at Slate showing that a large % of people not paying income or payroll taxes are either seniors or students HERE:
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