In a video published yesterday by Mother Jones, Mitt Romney divided America up into two camps: those who pay federal income taxes and those who don’t. “There are 47 percent who are with [Obama], 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,” Romney said. “These are people who pay no income tax.”
But those 47 percent who have no federal income tax liability are far from the free-loaders Romney described. More than half of them pay the federal payroll tax — at rates higher than Romney pays on his own income — and most of the rest are either elderly, unemployed, or have an extremely low-income.
And by only focusing on federal taxes, Romney ignores taxes at the state and local level, including sales taxes, gas taxes, and sin taxes. In fact, when all taxes are taken into account, Americans of all income levels pay taxes basically in line with their share of total income, as these charts from Citizens for Tax Justice show:
Basically, those at the bottom of the income scale pay so little of the federal income tax because they make so little of the income.