Image: Steve Brodner
Mitt Romney, a son of privilege who used family connections and family advantages to accumulate a “vulture capitalist” fortune, and who now collects multimillion-dollar checks for doing absolutely nothing, claims to have identified 47 percent of Americans “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.”
Most of these people, Romney gripes, “pay no income tax.”
That, Romney suggests, makes them non-entities in his political calculus.
“My job is is not to worry about those people,” says Romney, who predicts all the “dependent” voters will back Barack Obama this year. “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.
But Romney should not be so dismissive of the tax-avoiding class. After all, he’s one of them.
The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center says roughly 46 percent of Americans paid no income tax for the last year where numbers are available, 2011. Slightly less than half of those who do not pay take advantage of tax breaks designed to ease the burden on elderly Americans who live on fixed incomes. Roughly a third of them do not pay because they are beneficiaries of tax credits designed to help the working poor and children to get by.
In other words, the Americans who do not pay taxes are, for the most part either low-income workers or retired low- or middle-income workers. They are not dodging tax responsibilities. They are filing forms and taking exemptions that were designed to relieve or eliminate tax burdens for those who are least able to pay.
The Tax Policy Center offers the example of a working couple making minimum wages who have two children and earn under $26,400 a year. Using standard deductions and specific exemptions designed for families in their circumstance, they can file a form that has a zero in the amount due column.