A year ago, Mitt Romney was caught on tape bellyaching about how 47 percent of Americans don't pay income taxes, all but saying outright that they are leeches and layabouts who enjoy depending on government handouts. Romney paid the bad publicity price for those remarks he thought were only being heard by selected wealthy contributors to his presidential campaign. But on much of the right, his comment got truncated into the lie that 47 percent don't pay taxes at all.

As Brad Plumer reports, the 47 percent number needs editing. The Tax Policy Center says that it's now 43.3 percent.

That's the case because more Americans are working than before and because of the tax changes that were approved in December. If trends hold, that may drop to 34 percent in a decade.

Of course, the idea that Foxaganda and other right-wing media and pundits seek to embed in the national psyche that large numbers of Americans don't pay any taxes is bogus. They pay sales taxes. They pay gasoline taxes. Even if they rent, they pay property taxes because landlords don't cover that out of their own pockets. They pay Social Security taxes. They pay Medicare taxes.

It's true that 14.4 percent pay neither income taxes nor payroll taxes. Nearly 10 percent of those are elderly. All but a tiny fraction of the rest make less than $20,000 a year.

But, oh yeah, they're lazy bums living the high life courtesy of Uncle Sam.  

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:34 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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