This commentary discusses the Romney-Republican lie that 47 percent of Americans "are the people who pay no income tax."
The following is a quote from the speech that Romney gave to a group of donors who paid $50,000 each to listen to him: "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 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. ... My job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
Aside from the fact that this statement contains so many lies and distortions, it is also mean and insulting to the 47 percent of the people Romney is describing. But why should anyone be surprised, coming from a man who grosses $20 million a year and only pays 13.5 percent in federal income taxes due to the Bush II reduction in the tax brackets, capital gains tax and has off-shore bank accounts?
Anyone who has the least bit of interest in finding out the truth about where our tax money comes from and where it goes should carefully examine the following organizations' websites: the Tax Policy Center at www.taxpolicycenter.org and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities at www.cbpp.org.
These organizations are considered to be neutral and produce accurate, detailed, verifiable (their sources are noted in each article) and truthful.
Republicans often call them center-left or worse. However, there are there are no comparable organizations coming from the right or the center-right. If I am wrong, please provide me with the names of any such organizations.
The Tax Policy Center's research findings are that, in 2011, 46.4 percent of American households paid no federal income tax via a tax return.
There is a major difference ignored (probably intentionally) by Romney and his Republican cohorts between paying no income tax and not filing a federal income tax return.
The Tax Policy Center's research shows that nearly 61 percent of households that paid no federal income tax did pay payroll withholding taxes, which are the equivalent of federal income taxes filed on a tax return. In addition, substantially all of the 61 percent also pay some combination of Social Security, Medicare, federal excise, state income taxes, local sales, gas and property taxes. All that seems to be ignored by Romney and the Republicans, who continuously use this lie as stated in Romney's comments above.
CBS News reported: "According to 2011 data from the Tax Policy Center, more than half of the filing units not paying income taxes are those with incomes less than $16,812 per year. Nearly a third - 29.2 percent - of those paying no income taxes are tax filers earning between $16,812 and $33,542, and 12.8 percent are those with incomes between $33,542 and $59,486. In other words, the poor are least likely to pay federal income taxes, but many middle-class families are also exempt. Smaller but significant numbers of the higher-income earners are also exempt: The same data shows that in 2011, 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."
There are also corporations earning billions of dollars of profits who pay little or no income taxes. Where are the Republican complaints about this?
According to the Tax Policy Center, 22 percent of people who do not pay federal income taxes are people age 65 or older and have no income over and above their Social Security, of which Bush II failed in trying to privatize 10 percent.
Ryan proposed a plan (which never got very far) in which 50 percent of the Social Security would have been privatized. Can you imagine where the majority of these elderly people would be today if these proposals were passed before the Bush II depression?
Another 17 percent of the 47 percent who owed no federal income tax in 2011 include students, people with disabilities and/or illnesses, the long-term unemployed and certain veterans, and approximately 22 percent do not owe federal income tax because their income is less than $20,000. The remainder do not owe income taxes due to itemized deductions or other tax benefits.
That renown left-wing economist Milton Friedman came up with the idea of the earned income tax credit. "The EITC has become an increasingly important tool to make work pay more than welfare and enough to lift people working full-time at the minimum wage out of poverty," according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Despite the call for eliminating the credit now by many Republicans, the consensus is that this "would be a significant step backward, discouraging work and increasing poverty."
From a commentary by William G. Gale and Donald B. Marron in the Washington Post: "The vast majority of people who pay no federal income tax have low earnings, are elderly or have children at home. They are exempt from the income tax because of features Congress added to the tax code, thanks to bipartisan efforts, to help these groups. For example, Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton both favored the earned-income tax credit, which has helped millions of families stave off poverty."
According to the Tax Policy Center: "Households who don't pay federal income tax simply because their incomes are low, retirees who benefit from tax breaks for seniors and working families with children whose income tax liability is eliminated because of the child tax credit, the EITC, or the child and dependent care credit account for almost 90 percent of the households that pay no federal income tax. Projections show that the share of households paying no federal income tax will decline by more than one-fifth in the coming decade because of economic growth and inflation."
Another absurd Romney lie is that all of the 47 percent he refers to "will vote for this president no matter what." Even an ignorant fool should know that this statement is wrong.
Lucy Madison of CBS News wrote: "The latest CBS News/New York Times poll also shows Romney winning the support of these voters nationally: 53 percent of voters 65 and older support Romney and 38 percent support Mr. Obama."
Given the fact that Romney and Ryan want to eliminate Social Security and Medicare by privatizing both, I cannot see how any person over 65, except those rich enough to not need either, could ever consider voting for these two, or for that fact, any Republican.
"According to 2008 data from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, eight of the top 10 states with the lowest income tax liability are Republican-leaning states," Madison wrote. "The other two are Florida, a battleground state, and New Mexico, which CBS News rates as likely Obama territory."
Recently on Fox, with reference to his comments about the 47 percent, Romney said, "In this case, I said something that's just completely wrong."
Echoing a line he had used previously, "I absolutely believe, however, that my life has shown that I care about 100 percent and that's been demonstrated throughout my life. And this whole campaign is about the 100 percent. When I become president, it will be about helping the 100 percent."
Talk about disgusting hypocrisy, given the enormous distortions, lies and daily flip-flopping. How could anyone with a functioning brain believe these comments over his statement above, which are in fact Romney's true feelings, made to his wealthy donors giving $50,000 each?
Henry Bornstein is an Edwards resident.