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After OWS introduced the damaging (to right-wing interests) framing of the 99% vs the 1%, many on the right tried to retort by complaining about the "47%"--those folks whose net income (adjusted gross income minus deductions and credits) is zero or negative and thus pay no federal income tax.  This group was larger than in recent years, due both to the recession and some of the countermeasures taken by the government.  According to the narrative promoted by Erick Erickson and his ilk, the "47%" (mainly poor people) are deadbeats who pay no taxes at all.

Which was, of course, false; most of these people do pay taxes, directly or indirectly; even if their federal income tax bill is zero.  Those who earn wages still have to pay payroll taxes to fund Social Security and Medicare.  Some may have to pay state or local income and payroll taxes.  Most Americans have to pay a general sales tax (only a few states lack this) and/or excise taxes on specific goods, such as gasoline.  Homeowners in many states pay property taxes, and renters help pay that indirectly (a landlord's property taxes is one thing that affects rents).  And numerous fees, tolls, and other charges are routinely levied by government agencies for specific services.

And unlike the federal income tax, most of these other taxes are regressive.  No matter how little you make, you probably have to pay these.  Unless you are homeless and destitute, and don't participate in the economy at all, you are a taxpayer.

But the funny thing is--these taxes, which ensnare the poor--also ensnare the filthy rich who find themselves avoid to avoid federal income tax (legally or otherwise) by various schemes.

Like the presumptive GOP nominee.

The political world has been abuzz over Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's claim that a Bain employee told him that "Romney's paid no taxes for the past ten years".  Mitt Romney has flat-out denied this, though refused to release his tax returns.

Mittens, however, has revealed a skill at parsing language and saying things that are technically true while being misleading as hell, that even manages to put Bill Clinton to shame.  Consider carefully Mitt's own words:

“I have paid taxes every year, and a lot of taxes.  So Harry is simply wrong.”
Notice that Mitt claims to have paid taxes; but didn't say whether or  not he has paid any federal income tax.  

We know that Mitt has real estate all over the country.  He almost assuredly pays property tax on that--likely a princely sum.  The property tax on a multi-million dollar mansion is probably more than most of us earn in a year.  While it is possible to park income-producing investments in overseas tax havens, it isn't possible to move stateside real estate to the Cayman Islands--this is a tax that Romney simply cannot avoid.

He also lives in the state of Massachusetts, at least part of the time (and retroactively between 1999 and 2002), which has a 6.25% sales tax.  His "car elevator" mansion is in the swanky town of La Jolla, CA, which has a base sales tax rate of 7.25%.  That car elevator?  7.25% of the price of that goes to Sacramento.  He can't avoid state sales tax by buying the car elevator in Oregon and hauling it down I-5; that sort of tax avoidance scheme works for groceries but not for big-ticket items.  

In short, it should be manifest that as long as Mitt Romney is living in the US, he's paying taxes to various US taxing authorities, most of which cannot be sheltered by clever accounting.

The question that needs to be asked then, to pin this slippery eel down:

Are there any years in which you have not paid any federal income tax?

And if the answer to that is "yes" (don't hold your breath for any answer to come), then the obvious follow-up is:  why is it OK for Romney to pay nothing to Uncle Sam, while working-class poor whose gross income is lower than the statutory deductions permitted to all taxpayers, are treated with scorn?

Originally posted to EngineerScotty on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 03:05 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

    •  You Nailed It !!! (8+ / 0-)

      I believe Mitt Romney did not pay any or very, very little in FEDERAL Income Taxes.

      But yes, he paid Sales Taxes, Property Taxes, Excise Taxes, etc.  So he can claim he paid plenty of taxes.... but can he claim he paid as much as that woman who has 7.65% taken out for just Social Security and Medicare (right now, it is 5.65%).

      Hum, wonder if he pays less than the so called 47% the Right claims pay nothing.  And oh, they'd pay more if the rich would just pay them more for their hard work and themselves less....

      But I digress... Greed has consumed these people.

      -6.13 -4.4 Where are you? Take the Test!!!

      by MarciaJ720 on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 06:42:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Reporters should ask, "Did you pay Federal tax?" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Important to ask the right question.  If Romney dodges that, then we know he is lying and there were years (perhaps ten?) that he paid no Federal Tax.

      This whole issue must be causing a lot of indigestion in the Romney campaign morgue, mustn't it?

      or how about this?

      "Governor Romney, were there any years when you paid no Federal taxes?"


      "Governor Romney, how many of the last ten years did you pay less than a million dollars in Federal taxes?"

      •  More specifically. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Janet 707

        Did he pay local, state or federal INCOME taxes? Did he have to pay SELF-EMPLOYMENT taxes?
        And how does one acquire a 100 million dollar IRA sheltered from state and federal income taxes?
        We need these questions answered in the name of Homeland Security.
        We need to know if Mitt Romney is a threat to America because he might be subject to blackmail from unfriendly foreign countries and possibly terrorist groups laundering his money.

        Kos is Kind, Smart and Important.

        by Stop Pandering on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 04:43:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Did you pay Federal INCOME tax (0+ / 0-)

        He pays federal taxes - the gasoline tax is a federal tax, plus there are other fees and taxes he pays to the federal government.  The story mentions things like payroll taxes.  No, you have to ask about Income tax specifically.

    •  A hypothesis (0+ / 0-)

      An interesting hypothesis as to why he's not released his tax returns:  he was part of the amnesty program for some 4,000 individuals who were labelled as tax-evaders.  The IRS agreed to give these individuals amnesty as long as they brought the money back to the US and paid taxes on it.  Romney could very easily fall within this group, and any tax returns prior to 2010 could demonstrate his involvement.

  •  Harry Reid is right (14+ / 0-)

    Romney is hiding something.  If he truly paid taxes for past 10 years he would have no problem showing his returns.  I betcha this is why McCain didn't pick him for veep in 2008.  He showed McCain his returns and they probably decided it was too hot to handle.  Yet another reason why he won't release them.

    Romney is a fraud through and through.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 11:47:35 PM PDT

    •  Romney is a fraud through and through, (12+ / 0-)

      yes.  But I think his tax returns are probably damaging in a different way: like, how he funneled everything into offshore tax avoidance shelters, and whether or not he did so legally.

      In the case of McCain selecting a veep, it could simply have been that two billionaires on the same ticket make for horrible optics.

      Meanwhile, as I wrote the other night, as long as Mitt refuses to release his returns, we have a cudgel against him:  What's He Hiding? and all speculation is fair.

      We know he's hiding something because he admitted it publicly.  Yet another gaffe from the gaffe-machine.

      To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

      by Youffraita on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 11:53:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Like the Congressional investigation (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ladybug53, Youffraita

        of how he got so much in his IRA's? That really good tax specialists hadn't thought of and found very devious but probably a loophole that could not be fined.

        So will the incredibly entitled gaffe machine take his theatrics so far as to threaten to leave the ticket? Even hint? Nah, Sheldon wouldn't let him.

        "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

        by Ginny in CO on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 09:06:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think McCain was also concerned (3+ / 0-)

      about the Olympic financials. We've seen the CSPAN videos of him calling for a fraud investigation. Between whatever is on the tax returns and that, McCain was good enough to let Willard go in favor of Sarah.

      So now Obama has a GOP rival that could seriously damage their boat. Especially if Reid and others keep firing at him. We should be very grateful to McCain.

      Either Harry found some really good dessicant for his powder, or he's decided it's time to risk a little moisture. :)

      "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

      by Ginny in CO on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 08:59:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Romney is a slippery liar. (5+ / 0-)

    I think the guy is evil incarnate.

    "@MittRomney spent five interviews last night whining. Time to buck up. This is politics after all, not Horse Ballet." Brad Woodhouse @woodhouseb 7-14-2012

    by surfermom on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 11:50:53 PM PDT

  •  Great thought! (4+ / 0-)

    I never thought of it that way.

    Actually, I never knew what they were trying to accuse the poor people of (not making as much money?). But this makes so much sense now.

    I need to visit Kos more often.

    Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake." - Napoleon Bonaparte

    by Madam Deb on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 12:09:54 AM PDT

  •  He's Richard M Nixon without any of the (14+ / 0-)

    redeeming qualities.

    "Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves." - Abraham Lincoln

    by leftreborn on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 12:10:57 AM PDT

  •  Sure, He paid taxes... then got refunds. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Instead of calling him a Republican we might call him a Refundlican.

    -We need Healthcare Reform... but i'm selfish, I Need Healthcare reform-

    by JPax on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 12:28:15 AM PDT

  •  I suspect... (5+ / 0-)

    this is exactly right. Of course there's no way for us to know unless Romney releases his tax returns. It's time for somebody to "put up or shut up," and it isn't Harry Reid.

  •  I wonder what the actual percentage is. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wintergreen8694, R2P2, mmacdDE

    I wonder what the percentage is of people who 1) pay no income taxes, and 2) pay no Social Security taxes.

    The point being, is any of his income subject to Social Security?

    That zombie lie that "47% half of all people pay no income taxes taxes" is a big favorite of the local chapter of the CCCP here in deep red Northeast Florida.

    (CCCP: Corporate-Controlled Conservative Press.  Joe Bacon).

    I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

    by tle on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 07:10:38 AM PDT

  •  IOKIYAR (0+ / 0-)

    Romney earned that money, and the government has no right to take it away, or something.

    "A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself." - Joseph Pulitzer

    by CFAmick on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 07:50:01 AM PDT

  •  I happen to think that everything Romney did (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53, jeturek

    was "legal," as in, it's legal if the IRS doesn't call you out on it, and if they do, you can drag it through the courts for several years until you settle for a fraction of the original tax bill. All legal, of course.

    "A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself." - Joseph Pulitzer

    by CFAmick on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 07:53:17 AM PDT

  •  Yes, exactly (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53, jeturek, Janet 707
    Notice that Mitt claims to have paid taxes; but didn't say whether or  not he has paid any federal income tax.

    Ideology is when you know the answers before you know the questions.
    It is what grows into empty spaces where intelligence has died.

    by Alden on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 09:26:05 AM PDT

  •  18,000 earning more than $500,000 paid no taxes... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Janet 707

    in 2010.  

    and of those, 4,000 made more than $1 million.


    "Only Little People Pay No Taxes"

    ...the superrich don't pay as much as they used to—and thanks to a combination of tax cuts and preferential tax policies, their tax obligations can be less demanding than the so-called little people's. In fact, the very wealthiest Americans' tax burden has been steadily dropping for years...

    ...Tax rates for the wealthy have fallen substantially since they peaked in the 1940s...

    How to Pay No Taxes: 10 Strategies Used by the Rich

    If you have lots of money, Tuesday, April 17, was one of the best tax days since the early 1930s: Top tax rates on ordinary income, dividends, estates, and gifts remain at or near historically low levels....

    For the 400 U.S. taxpayers with the highest adjusted gross income, the effective federal income tax rate—what they actually pay—fell from almost 30 percent in 1995 to just over 18 percent in 2008... for the... the top 1 percent of taxpayers, the effective federal income tax rate dropped from 29 percent to 23 percent in 2008...

    ...The true effective rate for multimillionaires is actually far lower than that indicated by official government statistics...

  •  Homeless are tax payers also if they pay sales tax (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Janet 707

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 12:35:45 PM PDT

  •  If he avoided paying federal income tax, (0+ / 0-)

    I'm sure it was all perfectly legal.  Blame congress for not closing tax loopholes for the wealthy. This has been a problem for decades.

    And you made a good point that everyone is still over-taxed, even if they don't pay federal income taxes. Not sure if that was your objective, however.

    •  I'm not blaming Romney (0+ / 0-)

      for taking advantage of egregious loopholes.

      I am saying, this is not the person I want in a position to make tax law for the next 4 or 8 years.

      Is the point you are trying to dodge.

      And if "everyone is over-taxed," please tell exactly which government services you think aren't worth the cost.  They aren't free.

  •  Yup, nailed it! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Janet 707

    Here in SoFla, the Versace mansion is assessed at $10MM, taxes last year were $219,000.  The taxes are about 3.5 times my salary and double the assessed value of my own home.  

    So how many houses does Willard own?  If they're worth anywhere from $7MM to $15MM, he's probably paying at least $1.5MM in real estate taxes each year, probably more, depending on the millage rate for each county.    Since he SUPPOSEDLY can only homestead ONE house the taxes on the non-homesteaded houses should be going up each year, assuming the states they're in don't have those Save our Homes cap at 3% per year or some way around having multiple homestead exemptions.  

    Sales taxes on cars, boats - even the horses.  State income taxes - either resident or non-resident.  In Florida, if you buy a Bentley or other super luxury car or a whacking chunk of jewelry, there used to be a luxury tax on top of the sales tax - not sure if there still is or not - my boss hasn't bought a new car lately and the Mrs. hasn't sent me any new appraisals to keep on file for any gigantic diamonds - they used to do a lot of jewelry shopping, but not so much these days.  

    And as we all know, a lot of those kinds of taxes are deductible on your federal return (I get to deduct the taxes on my house and the year I bought a car, I got to deduct that over and above my "average sales tax based on your income" calculation thing that Turbo Tax does for you).  

    If he's deferred everything into retirement funds, moved a lot to offshore accounts or has no sales of stock with realized gains, he may very well have escaped paying federal taxes.  

    "Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential." - Barack Obama

    by Ricochet67 on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 12:48:51 PM PDT

    •  At age 65 he takes a senior break on Property tax (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Janet 707

      I'll bet that Romney uses every trick in the book, some of which may prove to be illegal.

      If you are a small chiseler, without powerful attorneys and colleagues, watch out, but if you are a major player, chiseler and tax-dodger, you bet he has the best advisors, the best protection, so the Justice Department has just left him alone.

      Has anyone ever heard of one of the .01% being successfully prosecuted for tax fraud?

      Name one.  I doubt it.

  •  How to hassle Mittens (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Janet 707

    it's all in my signature

    “HEY MITT: RELEASE THE RETURNS!!” POSTER: Take it to a Rmoney rally, bring lots of friends & chant "RELEASE THE RETURNS! RELEASE THE RETURNS!" loud enough for him to hear – you’ll be glad you did!

    by Miscweant on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 04:51:03 PM PDT

  •  >30k wealthy Americans pay ZERO income taxes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mmacdDE, Janet 707

    For 2009, of the 3,975,288 tax returns with  expanded income of $200,000 or more, 35,061 (0.882 percent) had no U.S. income tax liability; and 19,551 (0.492 percent) had no worldwide income tax liability. For 2008, of the 4,416,986 returns with expanded income of $200,000 or more, there were 31,539 (0.714 percent) with no U.S. income tax liability and 17,127 (0.388 percent) with no worldwide income tax liability.
    I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Mitt Romney is one of them.

    Stop the party of Gut & Spend policies that gut our Earned Benefits programs like Social Security and Medicare and spends on tax breaks for the wealthy elite.

    by jillwklausen on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 07:11:27 PM PDT

  •  Gabby Douglas (16) has done more media interviews (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Janet 707

    since winning the gymnastic gold medal than Mitt Romney since winning his nomination.

    And Romney (age 65) , is qualified (according to some people) to be President of the USA ! Laughable.

    •  Mitt still hasn't won the nomination (0+ / 0-)

      He still has to be voted in at their convention.  He has enough delegates committed to him so he should not have any problems, but with people continuing to pound him over this issue, it gives strength to those who would prefer anybody but Mitt be  the one to be anybody but Obama.

  •  You Read My Mind (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Janet 707

    When I heard Romney say he pays a lot of taxes. I said to myself Yes you pay a lot in Property Taxes. The only way to avoid property tax is to agree to provide jobs that will replace these funds.
    People like Romney don't pay payroll taxes or sales tax or income tax or probably state income tax because the system is so easily gamed if you can afford a good tax attorney and accountant.

    Kos is Kind, Smart and Important.

    by Stop Pandering on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 04:33:48 AM PDT

  •  While you are talking about taxes on the poor (0+ / 0-)

    don't forget the many taxes and fees added to phone, cable, and internet bills which basically double or more than double the cost of those services.

    If the Republicans want to cut taxes why not set a no taxes or fees limit on basic phone service.  Phones, land line or cell are necessary for notifying the police, fire and medical services of emergencies and are therefore life and property savers and a significant societal benefit..

    Basic phone service, just like state issued id's should be considered a necessity and be offered free for basic services and use.

    Also too, the taxes and fees on those services should be deductible.

    It's a Republican thing to do.

  •  The fees on his foreign accounts (0+ / 0-)

    are higher than the income of most of those defending him.
    Secret bank accounts in those countries don't come free.

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