Who Are the 47% of Americans Who Don't Pay Income Tax? (VIDEO)

Politics at Play 55

mother jones still from romney videoNow that Mitt Romney has had the Foot-in-Mouth Moment to end all Foot-in-Mouth Moments, I bet the only stat we'll be citing until Election Day (and likely, even after) will be "47 percent." After all, that's the percentage of Americans Romney said "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."

Can't believe I'm about to put these two words next to one another, but -- Romney's right ... about one thing: According to the Tax Policy Center, in 2011, 46.4 percent of American households paid no federal income tax. But let's explore WHO these Americans who he says won't "take personal responsibility and care for their lives" truly are ...

  1. People who don't make enough money will not qualify for income tax. (Duh.) Four of five households that do not owe federal income tax earn less than $30,000 a year. The Tax Policy Center elaborates: A couple with two children with an income of $26,400 had no income tax liability in 2011, due to an $11,600 standard deduction and four exemptions of $3,700 each. But, it bears noting, these people will still pay federal payroll taxes and state and local income taxes.
  2. Unemployed. If you're not making any income, you can't pay income tax.
  3. Underemployed. See #1.
  4. SAHMs. See #2.
  5. Americans on permanent disability. See #2.
  6. Some middle-income/middle-class are exempt. 12.8 percent who don't pay are those with incomes between $33,542 and $59,486.
  7. But higher-income earners are included here, too. 78,000 tax filers with incomes between $211,000 and $533,000 paid no income taxes; 24,000 households with incomes of $533,000 to $2.2 million paid no income taxes, and 3,000 tax filers with incomes above $2.2 million paid no income taxes.
  8. Seniors. The elderly -- who worked for years and then retired -- make up about one-fifth of all non-income tax payers. They benefit from the exclusion of some Social Security income.
  9. Certain parents. Some parents benefit from tax credits for children and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
  10. Republicans. Ironically, The Atlantic reports, 8 of the top 10 states with the highest number of non-payers live in red states.

More from The Stir: The 47% Responds to Mitt Romney in 15 Quotable Zingers

Here's the original clip/quote if you want to cringe all over again ...

Do these facts change how you feel about Romney's sweeping statement?

Image via MotherJonesVideo/YouTube

2012 election, economy, taxes, mitt romney


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nonmember avatar Guest

@Joy Brown; Ah Ha! Nanner nanner, you are so stupid and ignorant that you can't think up a valid point; and are reduced to shrilly sobbing "racist"!!! What a pathetic fool!

How embarrassing and humiliating it is to be you!

Rhonda Talley

I agree with newleaf32. I raised my family and knew that each time I had a baby, it was my responsbility to feed, clothe and care for that child. We didn't have tons of money but we worked hard, have put 2 of our 3 children through college and have the third one in college now. I still have to budget and always will, but did anyone ever promise that it would be easy. NO!!! The joy comes in the appreciation of working hard and having a beautiful family to show for it. My kids are as conservative as I am because they have seen first hand what it takes to make it and they have also seen kids who come to school wearing nicer clothes than them with parents driving brand new cars and then pulling out their free lunch stickers to pay for their meals. I don't mind assisting the needy, but I DO MIND assisting the LAZY!!

surfg... surfgrl60

If you make more then 50K a year you need to be paying taxes. NO MATTER WHAT!

Deann... Deanna2872

This article doesn't make any sense.

How is a senior citizen considered someone who won't take care of their own life? They don't have to pay certain taxes on their retirement, because they already have paid those taxes. They very much ARE taking care of their own life. That's why they're able to collect the retirement they've spent a lifetime paying into.

And SAHMs? How is staying home to raise your family considered irresponsible? If you can afford to do it without adding a financial bburden to the taxpayer, how is it irresponsible to do so?

I think you're missing the point, Maressa. The point being, that it is those who are unemployed by choice- (because it's easier to let someone else [aka,the rest of us] take care of them rather than to go out into the world and take care of themselves)- those are the people in the 47% that will be all too happy to vote for the candidate that tells them it's okay to live that way. On OUR dime.

People in the 47% that aren't paying income taxes because of things such as retirement, or being able to afford for one parent to stay home and raise families...instances where the non income taxpayer is not relying on the government to take care of them, really are a non issue in this situation-

Carol99 Carol99

I was a divorced mom with 6 kids and after my second husband pulled the rug out from under us, I lost the house I just bought.  I had too many kids and not enough income - not of my own choice -- so I didn't pay taxes.  If you're a single parent and have a couple of kids and don't earn a huge salary you won't be paying taxes.  You're working your ass off. though, between rasing kids on your own and working.  Most EIC goes to these types of families and perhaps if child support amounts were better calculated and fair, these moms wouldn't need the extra help.  Your ex-husbands will be living comfortably and whining, like mine, that they have to pay taxes.

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