Destination 270

SMU Students Analyze the 2012 Presidential Election

The 47%, and why they really don’t pay federal income tax


The Romney camp suffered a heart attack of a campaign bomb late yesterday when Mother Jones released a secret video tape of the candidate during a strategy meeting. I plan not to discuss this tape, nor the effect of Romney’s words in his campaign. Rather, I question who makes up the 47% of Americans who do not pay federal income tax…

According to the Washington Post 53.6% of American households -not individuals, but households- pay federal income tax. 28.3% do not pay federal income tax but do pay payroll tax (which comprises of funds withheld from paychecks until deductions are accounted for and often redeemed at the end of the fiscal year). Just over 10 % pay no federal income tax because they have no income due to their retirement state. Which leaves just under 7% of the American public who does not pay federal income tax, does not pay payroll tax and is not retired or in school and thus ineligible.

At the end of the day, 47- technically 46%, of Americans do not pay federal income tax. As my earlier post aimed to convey, this election is as much a numbers game as it is a game of perception and only the next 24 hours will determine the impact Romney’s words had on those 47%. 

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.

2 thoughts on “The 47%, and why they really don’t pay federal income tax

  1. Horrible read on the top 47%. A total lack of knowledge and full of yellow journalism (“a heart attack”…really?). Is this a time for a rant or a time for well-reasoned discourse? Geez, Scott.

  2. Top 47%? I was referring to the 47% as stated by Governor Gomney in the Mother Jones Video

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