When Mitt Romney told a group of wealthy donors that 47% of Americans pay no income taxes, he was (mostly) telling the truth. But everything else about his statement grossly misrepresents the reality of that figure. Here are five charts to clip’n'save for future reference.
Romney’s claim: 47% of people “pay no income tax.”
Reality: 47% of U.S. households pay no federal income taxes. Many pay state and local taxes, as well as payroll and other federal taxes.
Romney’s claim: The 47% “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.”
Reality: Few of these people probably think of themselves as entitled takers because they paid taxes in the past (seniors), will pay taxes in the future (students), or already pay payroll taxes on subsistance-level income.
Those whose liability is wiped out by tax credits and deductions are mostly the elderly and the working poor.
Romney’s claim: These 47% will “they will vote for this president no matter what.”
Reality: Obama edges Romney among low-income voters, but certainly not by 100%. In addition, people who pay no federal income tax are heavily concentrated in red states.