A secret recording from a closed-door fund raiser had Mitt Romney saying, “47 percent of Americans believe that they are victims…I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives…My job is not to worry about [votes from] those people. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax.”
Mr. Romney’s figure of 47 percent comes from the Tax Policy Center, which found that 46.4 percent of households paid no federal income tax. But this hides the fact that most households did pay payroll taxes. If you factor in payroll taxes, which support Social Security and Medicare, the percent of households with a net liability of zero or less is estimated to be 24 percent. Of the 18.1 percent of households that paid neither income taxes nor payroll taxes, the center found that more than half were elderly and more than a third were not elderly but had income under $20,000.
The video is a big blow to the Romney campaign which has focused on promoting tax cuts for all, and specifically for the middle class. Now, he’s been caught on video suggesting that low- and middle-income Americans are already under taxed. So it begs the question as to whether he would really cut taxes for this large cross section of Americans if he does win the Presidency. Basically his off-the-cuff comments reinforce every negative view people have about Romney and his elitist leanings. To his credit though he took responsibility for his taped comments and did try to defend his viewpoint:
“The president believes in what I’ve described as a government-centered society, where government plays a larger and larger role, provides for more and more of the needs of the individuals….I happen to believe instead in a free enterprise, free individual society where people pursuing their dreams are able to employ one another, build enterprises, build the strongest economy in the world.”
While I consider myself an independent voter, I must ask the question to Mr Romney, “How much have you paid in federal taxes over the last 5 years?” Kind off hard to answer that question when he refuses to release his pre-2010 tax returns! Though I hope voters don’t make their presidential decision purely based on this news.