The answer is very simple: Everyone in America pays income taxes. How can that be?
Everyone—except for those small children who have not yet grown tall enough to reach up to the counter and hand a clerk some money—pays income taxes in America. That’s because every penny of income tax paid by the president of a huge corporation all the way down to the income tax paid by the employees of that corporation—and even the sole proprietor in a small business—comes from the sale of goods and services that the business provides. If someone buys a pack of gum for 25 cents, a portion of that money will go to pay the income tax of the president of the corporation or business that produced it. The money doesn’t come from any other source, not one penny of it.
In the 2008 election campaign, Presidential candidate Mitt Romney said that “47 percent of Americans don’t pay income tax.” He failed to mention that all those who do pay income tax directly get the money to pay the income tax from the public, meaning the consumer, and that 47 percent help pay those taxes. (I guess we could say that people that steal everything they have don’t even contribute to paying those taxes, but let’s not be stupid.)
Romney’s comments brings the issue of who pays the taxes to the forefront, but they also intensify the debate about income inequality in America. I find it hard to believe that people hear how few people pay income taxes directly in this country and blame those who don’t, instead of seeing the problem as the canary in the coal mine. If so few people are paying income taxes, then shouldn’t we all wonder why there are so many people who are making such a small amount of money that they can’t afford to even make enough to qualify to pay income taxes, directly? That alone is a problem, but the truth behind what Romney says goes deeper than that and makes the situation even worse.
The 47 Percent
What kind of country do we have when one of the two political parties in the country puts forth a candidate who talks about 47 percent of the people as though they are the commoners and the rest are the ruling class who take care of and support those commoners? (Romney speech 2012 campaign) And he did so in a speech to others who belong to this supposed ruling class and are paying $25,000 for a dinner to listen to this fellow member of that class? Isn’t that what existed before the revolution of 1776 when America revolted against the old European system of a ruling class of royalty? Does the Republican Party really believe that they represent the founding fathers whose number one goal was to end that type of society?
Although Romney’s comment that 47 percent of Americans don’t pay income taxes was entirely misleading, it also shows what Romney thinks—and what the people he was speaking to think. He didn’t just say those 47 percent don’t pay income taxes, he said they are dependent on the government, take government handouts, love government handouts and are a burden to the other 53 percent. He spoke as though the people who pay all the income taxes in the United States are the ones who contribute to the country and everyone else doesn’t contribute, but are a burden to them.
In other words, he believes that he and others are this country, finance this country and have rights to rule this country over that 47 percent—all he has to do is persuade a small percentage of people to bring him over the 50 percent mark to vote for him and he’ll be president. Even if he loses, he will continue to believe that 47 percent of the people are inferior and a burden to the rest.
In that 47 percent figure that Romney threw out, about 10 percent are elderly who live only off Social Security and pay no income taxes. That’s besides the fact that these people worked all their lives and helped pay all taxes by being consumers, they also take that Social Security income and buy goods and services, and that money trickles up to the top of the corporate world and goes to paying the income taxes who people Romney claim are the ones totally responsible for all the income tax paid in America—as though they got that income from some magical source that didn’t include the consumers. Who does he think he is?
Does America Have a Ruling Class of Wealthy People?
The problem with people who think like Romney is that they believe that all wealth and income comes from those with the most money and everyone else is there to serve them. They promote the idea of supply and demand and free enterprise, but say it is really a supply-side situation and that all money will trickle down from the top to those at the bottom—meaning those who supply the demand, meaning the consumers. But they won’t use the term trickle down because it sounds so bad, so they say supply-side economics is what makes the world go around perfectly. They are so blinded by this belief of superiority that they even have many of the consumers believing it, while in reality it is a supply and demand system that drives free enterprise to thrive, where both trickle up and trickle down create a healthy and vibrant economy, not just trickle down.
Everyone pays income taxes in America. It’s just that some don’t do so directly, through the tax form. But everyone who does pay income taxes through a tax form gets every penny they make to pay those taxes from those who give them the money. And that includes all of the 47 percent, along with all of the 53 percent.
And the Democrats let the Republicans get away with this baseless claim.