The Truth Shall Set You Free…It might piss you off first, but it will set you free.

Right Wing Nut Jobs Talking Point that Skew Facts – “47% of Americans Don’t Pay Taxes”

Posted by politicalmonkey2010 on December 12, 2010

It seems every where you look these days you can find some right wing nut job spouting out “47% of Americans don’t pay taxes”…and you don’t have to look very far to get to the truth or lack there of in that statement.  But that has not stopped people from cherry picking this statistic and using it as evidence of some grave financial miscarriage of justice pushed upon the wealthy.

First, the 47% figure is not wrong, it is accurate – BUT the key here is federal and income .  Income taxes aren’t the only kind of federal taxes that people pay. There are also payroll taxes and investment taxes, and more.  Let’s not forget people pay state and local taxes as well.  If you tease out this number and take this a step further Congressional Budget Office data suggests that, at most, about 10 percent of all households pay no net federal taxes. The number 10 is obviously a lot smaller than 47.  But 10% for the right doesn’t make such a good talking point does it?

Let’s talk a little about those folks who are not paying federal and income tax…

If your income is low, you may (1) owe very little in income taxes, and (2) get a check from something like the Earned Income Tax Credit( EITC). The result isn’t that you don’t owe anything in federal income taxes, but that your income tax liability is wiped out by your EITC check.  This accounts for a whole lot of people who don’t owe federal income tax.  So would the right like to take away a tax cut from the bulk of the middle class?  People who are using the EITC are not free riders, they are working class American people.  The critics of the tax code don’t seem to know this, but their problem is with programs like the EITC — of which there are many, some of which help the middle class — not income tax brackets. That accounts for a lot of the people who don’t owe federal income taxes.

Let’s talk about the fact that approximately  75% of all American households pay more in payroll taxes, which go toward Medicare and Social Security, than in income taxes.  The following graph comes from a report (pdf) by Citizens for Tax Justice. It compares the share of the total tax burden — that means income taxes, payroll taxes, state and local taxes, capital gains taxes, and more.  All of a sudden it doesn’t look so skewed does it?

Composite of Percentage of Taxes Paid

So with all the hostage taking etc on the Bush Tax Cuts, let us also remember over the last 30 years, tax rates have fallen more for the wealthy, and especially the very wealthy, than for any other group. At the same time, their incomes have soared, and the incomes of most workers have grown only moderately faster than inflation.

Let us not forget, “Federal Income Tax” is simply a category, when it is all said and done, the US government looks at covering the cost of all its operations with revenue from all its taxes.  While 47% sounds like an awesome statistic, it is being used inaccurately.  It is simply a talking point that the right continually spews out, somebody really needs to tell these folks just because you continually repeat a lie, will not make it true.  We have a deficit problem in this country, we have an atmosphere that is toxic to solving problems with our Congress, it is time for reality to hit before it is too late.


One Response to “Right Wing Nut Jobs Talking Point that Skew Facts – “47% of Americans Don’t Pay Taxes””

  1. […] already. Stop blaming the American people for the shortcomings of what America has become. Right Wing Nut Jobs Talking Point that Skew Facts – “47% of Americans Don’t Pay Ta… […]

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