A recent video from a Mitt Romney fund raiser campaign was put out by liberal online magazine Mother Jones. It has caused a lot of controversy and it seems that both Republicans and Democrats have obviously taken sides in either attacking Romney for his claims or trying to side with him in claiming they are true. So was the former Massachusetts governor correct in his assessment? Let’s find out.
“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 them, who believe 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.
And I mean the president starts off with 48, 49, 4–he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. so our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. So he’ll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich.
I mean, that’s what they sell every four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is to convince the five to ten percent in the center, that are independents, that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or the other depending upon, in some cases, emotion, whether they like the guy or not.”
Let’s start off with something that is opinion and get it out of the way. There is no proof that the 47% cited here support Barack Obama, believe they are entitled to health care, food, housing or whatever and that government should give it to them. It’s also an opinion that these people think they are victims. That is strictly opinion. We all have opinions about various things.
However, Romney is right about his assertion that 47% of Americans do not pay federal income tax. But that doesn’t mean they don’t pay a host of other taxes. As I’ve told many people, every time anyone buys anything in this country, they pay a tax in some form or another. When they buy gas or food they pay taxes. Even in purchasing things online, they are in essence paying for the taxes that are passed onto them by manufacturers and distributors. Eventually consumers pay all taxes. That is just how things work.
Ben Swann took a look at the tax issue and broke it down and it is shocking what he discovered. According to the non-paritsan Tax Policy Center 46.4% paid no federal income tax. This makes Romney’s claim about income tax true.
However, there is more to the story than that. Swann points out that all Americans are subject to the following taxes:
Federal payroll taxes
federal exise taxes
state and local taxes
Though the 47% number is at an all time high, that is only focusing on one tax. When you look at the fact that some don’t pay any federal taxes, like those listed above, Swann claims the number drops to eighteen percent.
Swann then asks, “Who are these supposed “freeloaders” in the eighteen percent? Here’s the breakdown from the Tax Policy Center:
10.3% – elderly
6.9% – households earning less than $20,000 year (low income families and students)
About 1 in 20 is non-elderly with income over $20,000
Here’s the pie chart:
The claim that these are Obama supporters or that they are “freeloaders” simply cannot be known. Obviously there are some of both in our society. That is a given.
However, the Tax Foundation put out a map that shows the largest “non-payer” states in the Union. The top ten states on the map are those that, in a presidential election, go Republican with a large population of elderly or immigrant population.
The Wall Street Journal was leaked a draft speech on this very issue of the percentages. It was a speech that was to be given by Romney, but never was. WSJ writes “Maybe he’ll deliver them some time before Election Day.” Here’s part of the draft of that speech:
“One tragedy of the Obama Presidency is how many more Americans have become dependent on the government. I know it’s not their fault. Most want to be self-sufficient, to provide for their families, but they can’t because there aren’t enough jobs.
“That’s why 46 million Americans are on food stamps now, compared to 30 million in 2008. That’s why 10.6 million were on Social Security disability in 2011 compared to 9.3 million three years earlier. That’s why 40% of the unemployed have been out of work for six months or more, and the smallest share of the U.S. population is looking for work than at any time since 1981.
“I think the success of a Presidency should be measured by how many fewer people need food stamps, how many fewer need disability, not how many more people are added to the rolls. I don’t want to take food stamps away from Americans in need. I want fewer Americans to need food stamps.
No matter what the outcome is or what was meant in the comments by Romney, it does give us an opportunity to look at the state of our tax system and what is really taking place rather than just tossing numbers around and assuming things about others that cannot be factually backed up.
On top of that, why are we calling out for more taxes? That is the exact opposite of our founding fathers. We should be calling for equal, but limited taxation. We should be looking at a flat tax that would apply a low percentage across the board, not tax reform, which manipulates the tax code. In fact, with all the various taxes that we pay in purchases, we should not even have a need for an income tax.
To watch the entire report from Swann, click below: