Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
This one is an oldie but goodie that lives on forever in the fact-free world of conservative media. The Washington Post's fact checker Glenn Kessler takes on Willard "Mittens" Romney's lie again today. Mitt Romney, caught on video:
First, let’s start with the notion that nearly half of Americans do not pay income tax. Yes, as of 2011, about 46 percent of American households paid no income tax, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. But this is one of these “facts” that is not very informative. “Income taxes” are just one type of tax that people pay, and for most working Americans — about three-quarters — payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare far exceed what they pay in income taxes.
(For people confused about these terms, income taxes are based on your income, minus certain deductions. Payroll taxes represent your contribution to old-age programs, and in the case of Social Security are capped once your income hits $110,100. Your employer also pays an equal amount of payroll taxes, which in effect reduces your wages.)
In other words, substitute the phrase “federal taxes” for “income taxes,” and then the picture changes dramatically. Indeed, when all federal taxes are included, the percentage of people who pay no taxes drops to 10 percent or lower, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Moreover, if some people do not pay income taxes, it is because of policies often advocated by Republicans, such as child tax credits and tax benefits for the working poor. President Richard M. Nixon offered an early version of the earned income tax credit, and it was enacted under Gerald Ford and expanded under Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) pushed for the child tax credit — signed into law by Democrat Bill Clinton in 1997 and later expanded by George W. Bush in 2004.
Some 44 percent of those who do not pay income taxes are in that category because they get tax benefits aimed at the elderly, while another 30 percent benefit from tax credits for children or for the working poor, according to a paper published by the Tax Policy Center.
But not all of these people are automatically Obama supporters. In fact, according to a map published by the Tax Foundation, eight of the top 10 states with the lowest income-tax liability are the heart of Romney country — the Deep South. The only exceptions are Florida, a battleground state, and New Mexico, which leans toward Obama. Meanwhile, most of the states with the lowest levels of nonpayers are Obama states.
As for other entitlements, of course Social Security and Medicare are reserved for the elderly — and are generally popular. But it seems simplistic to think these are all Obama voters, especially since polling indicates that the Republican share of the vote among white seniors has increased in each of the last five elections, to 58 percent in 2008.
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Washington Post editorial opinion, Mr. Romney's ‘47 percent’ fantasy.