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


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

Sirena Robinson

I know I'm going to get blasted here, but I'm going to say it anyway. I think that Mitt Romney is over generalizing, but I understand the sentiment. Do I think it's 47%, no, but there is SOME percentage that believe it is the job of the government to provide care for them. Republicans do tend to encourage personal responsibility and the idea of a hand up instead of a hand out. I don't think he said it well, I think he over generalized, but I also think we've only heard a TINY snippet of a speech, so there's no context, and I think that BOTH parties are guilty of pandering to their big donors. This was not a debate, nor a campaign speech, nor a quote to a reporter. This was at a fund raiser. That's like deciding how we feel about everyone from both parties based entirely on their conventions. It's not the whole picture, it's a snapshot, and it may not be completely accurate.


I totally agree with Sirena. These were posted in snippets and we're not hearing the whole thing. This is just one more thing to take the spotlight away from the issues. Don't you guys here ever get tired of writing about nonsense?

nonmember avatar Jessica

The EIC is such a waste...unfortunately too many people depend on it (like welfare), so we can't just get rid of it. It shouldn't be a refundable credit.

wamom223 wamom223

Nope.  Still voting for him.  Love that you are writing about this instead of the fact the DOJ was working with media matters.  Oh and I love that you ignore the fact that your president can't stop fundraising long enough to actually run the country.  I will agree with the previous poster that at worse he over generalized but I like that he knows what he is up against.  Even the liberals that pay income tax have commented that they are happy to do it so people can live off the money.  I have been one of those people that needed help from the government, and I know he's not talking about me because it wasn't my way of life.  

wamom223 wamom223

Jafe we are talking about someone that has blogged multiple times about the Obama's and 50 shades of grey, she is nothing but nonsense.

nonmember avatar DR2011

I was

Newle... Newleaf32

I agree with the above 2 posts. I am a SAHM, mexican, woman with 2 children. Husband makes less than 100K a yr. we aren't rich, and we budget. I don't expect any help or handouts from the government, and when I was a single working parent at one time, making less than 30k a yr I STILL didn't.

Nunya... NunyaBizness

Thank you for posting the truth, the facts, Maressa. I doubt it will sway the minds of any of the faithfully posting conservatives here, but at least the real numbers are there.

nonmember avatar Gretta

I dont know who I will vote for but I think this whole thing with Mitt Romney is completely overblown.

nonmember avatar Guest

This changed my vote!

I am no longer voting AGAINST OWEbama!

I am voting FOR Mitt Romney!!!

1-10 of 55 comments 12345 Last