Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Zeroing In On Romney's Tax Deadbeats

Now that we all know that nearly half of Americans pay no taxes to Washington, where do all of these deadbeat, "duty shirking", Obama voters live?

Fortunately, researchers at the Tax Foundation have done the heavy lifting for us.

Here is a screen capture showing the top fifteen states with the greatest number of "no income tax liability" returns for the 2010 tax year noting that I am not adding up the total number, rather, I am using the percentage data:

Notice that most of the non-taxpayers are concentrated in the southern half of the United States?  Other than Idaho, the top ten states include Mississippi where a whopping 44.5 percent of filers owed no federal tax, Georgia (42.5 percent), Alabama (40.3 percent), Florida, Arkansas, South Carolina, New Mexico, Texas and Utah.

The states with the highest percentage of filers with federal taxes owing are Alaska where only 22 percent of filers owed no taxes, North Dakota (26.3 percent), New Hampshire (26.3 percent), Massachusetts (26.3 percent), Connecticut (26.6 percent) and Maryland (28.2 percent).  There's quite a strong leaning toward owing federal taxes if you live in a New England state, isn't there?

Here's a map showing the red and blue states from the 2008 Presidential election results:

Outside of Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, California and New Mexico, it would appear that the of the top fifteen states where the highest number of Americans that don't owe federal taxes are living and voting in the Republican or red states.  Interestingly enough, of the top ten tax paying states, the majority are Democratic or blue states.  Please note again, that I have not added up the numbers, just using the raw state percentage data. 

One has to wonder.  What was Mr. Romney thinking?  Is this really how he feels or was he just playing to his audience?  It is possible that, in the excitement of the moment, he wandered off his talking points, thinking that he was just talking to a room full of like-minded uber-wealthy Americans who had $50,000 to spend on a fundraising dinner?  My suspicion is the latter.


  1. Whoa, whoa, whoa. I enjoy your blog and have printed several in the past for reference. But do the math on this one. The fifteen states total 24,225,291 "no liability" returns. The four blue states, Florida, California, New Mexico and North Carolina (Tennessee is red) account for 11,797,837, or 48.7% of the total.It takes all eleven red states to match them.As I understand it, Romney's position is that there are too many in total, not that one party or another is "shirking" - your word, not his, their duty. Increased employment would help that problem across the spectrum, hence his pitch on the economy.

  2. Point well taken. I have amended the posting to show that I have merely used the percentage data.

    On the other hand, I would suspect that Romney's comments must have alienated at least some of his base; after all, many GOP voters are middle income Americans who bear the brunt of the tax burden.

    As well, didn't Mr. Romney suggest that the 47% of non-taxpayers were Obama supporters; to me, he seemed more concerned that, no matter what, his message would never get through to them. Now we know it won't!

    Here's the quote:

    "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."

    Thanks for your comment.

  3. The part about the 47 percent who will vote for Obama in any foreseeable circumstance is probably not far off the mark. The problem in the quote is confusing the cohort of determined democratic voters with the cohort of non-taxpayers, and the cohort of persons receiving federal assistance. They all hover around 47 percent, but they are three separate cohorts, with some, probably not insignificant, overlap. As you point out, however, there are places where one must suspect some pretty well-heeled democratic voters. Whether they also get excellent tax advice and pay no taxes ....well, as Harry Reid would suggest, we have to think the worst until they prove otherwise.

  4. R.low pretty much put the root on the issue with Romney's video. for those who need details (and because I don't want to lose the info I wrote before I realized R.low already mentioned it.)

    Yes, there are 47% of Americans that will vote Obama in 2012. Those are the 'single party' voters that ALWAYS vote Democrat. It's the basis behind calling a state a 'red state/blue state'. The entire concept of 'battleground states' is the assumption that half the nation votes republican, half democrat, and it's just the few in the middle that determine who wins.

    It's accepted by everyone, and an idea we've accepted for a long time.

    Meanwhile, about 47% of Americans don't pay federal income taxes. It's mostly composed of the elderly since retirement funds (both SS and some IRAs) are tax free and people who are under the poverty line and, thus, have no tax liability.

    (sidenote, a good few of the working poor pay taxes via withholding only to get that cash back in full in April via refund. Technically, they're supposed to adjust their withholding to stop the pull outs but some think it's the government giving free cash. Even those that realize it isn't still prefer it just to see the big check in April, sort of like a very odd 0% savings account. Point is, they think they pay taxes but they really don't)

    Numbers come from here:

    On TOP of this is another statistic: about 47% of americans live in a household that receives a government benefit.

    Most of them are, again, the elderly. This also includes the 8% unemployed, many of the 6% that U3 doesn't catch that are unemployed/underemployed, and just about all of the military.

    Numbers can be found here, though this is trickier to find since it doesn't account for overlap:

    So there's 47% of people who vote Obama
    47 % of people who don't pay taxes
    47% of people who live in households that receive government help.

    Now ,do you see the mistake Romney did?

    He assumed they were all the same people.

    Read the Romney quote. He first says that 47% will vote for Obama (group #1). He then describes them as needy for the government (Group #2) and then says that they don't pay taxes (group #3).

    The kicker is this statement:
    "job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

    The first sentence makes sense if you talk about the first group, the second if you are talking to the third group.

    There's a desire to try to picture it as referring to the middle portion of the zen diagram, which, after some off-the-cuff calculating I did earlier, probably amounts to 10-15%. The entire speech, however, constantly relates just the entire 47% and flips around the three concepts.

    The result is this ideal: that they are all the same people. The same 47% who take government benefits also pay no taxes and also always votes Obama.

    Which turns into rhetoric like "If you vote for Obama, you are a deadbeat, taking my money and giving none of it back." which is not only what opponents enrage over, but supporters agree to. Even if Romney just meant the small core group or forgot to rephrase to seperate the three groups, EVERYONE, from those who hate him to those who love him, want him to claim they are the same.

    Too Long? The summary could read: Romney's big problem is that he forgot to learn about Venn diagrams in school.

  5. Has someone accurately created and published a venn diagram of
    47% of people who vote Obama
    47 % of people who don't pay taxes
    47% of people who live in households that receive government help.