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Who Doesn’t Pay Taxes And Why

fishingboatproceeds:

Mitt Romney is in a bit of hot water for comments he made during a closed-door fundraiser about the 47% of Americans who don’t pay federal income taxes.

I’m generally pretty sympathetic to people saying stupid things in closed-door fundraisers, but the whole flap raises an interesting question: Is it really true that 47% of Americans pay no federal income tax? And who are these people? And do they believe that they are victims entitled to health care and housing?

So:

How many people don’t pay federal income tax in the US?

Lots of people. The 47% stat is accurate, as long as you only count federal income taxes. (More than 85% of Americans under 65 pay either income tax, federal payroll tax, or both—and almost all Americans who own land or buy things pay state and local taxes.)

Who are these people?

Many elderly people who live off social security pay no income tax (social security benefits are only taxable if your total income is over $25,000 a year). Only about 25% of Americans over the age of 75 pay federal income tax, but it’s important to remember that most of them did pay federal income tax when they were working.

Also, many young adults pay no income taxes, because they are full-time students or have very low incomes. You can see a chart here that shows that about 30% of 18-year-olds pay federal income tax, while over 65% of people in their 40s do.

People living in poverty are also unlikely to pay federal income taxes. A married couple filing jointly making under $18,700 annually pays no income taxes. But it’s worth noting that in 1996, 99.5% of all nontaxable returns came from people making less than $30,000 a year. Today, that number is closer to 76%.

The fastest growing segment of Americans who pay no tax are those who earn between $75,000 and $100,000 each year. As explained here, there’s been a 12,000% increase in nontaxable returns in this income category thanks to middle income tax cuts and tax credits introduced by both George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Romney’s central mistake is imagining the data as static. In 2000, for instance, I paid no federal income tax. This doesn’t mean that I am a drain on the system: In fact, I have paid lots of federal income tax in other years. 2000 just happened to be a weird year, because I had a lot of health care expenses and not very much income.

This is the case for most Americans: Romney’s comments implied that the same 47% of Americans pay no federal income taxes every year. In fact, the members of that 47% are constantly changing as people age into and out of the work force. 

Do these people believe that they are victims entitled to health care and housing?

The most incendiary remark Governor Romney made was, “There are 47% who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care of them, who believe that they are entitled to healthcare, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.”

In fact, the number of Americans who feel the government should provide health care and food to those in need is much higher than 47%. 76% of Americans (including a majority of Republicans) favor medicaid, the program that offers health care to the poor. A majority of Americans also believe medicare, the program that offers health care to the elderly, is worth its cost. And more than three quarters of Americans support the federal food stamp program that provides food to low-income and elderly people.

Politifact, R.I.P. - NYTimes

brooklynmutt:

This is really awful. Politifact, which is supposed to police false claims in politics, has announced its Lie of the Year — and it’s a statement that happens to be true, the claim that Republicans have voted to end Medicare.

Steve Benen in the link above explains it, but let me just repeat the basics. Republicans voted to replace Medicare with a voucher system to buy private insurance — and not just that, a voucher system in which the value of the vouchers would systematically lag the cost of health care, so that there was no guarantee that seniors would even be able to afford private insurance.

The new scheme would still be called “Medicare”, but it would bear little resemblance to the current system, which guarantees essential care to all seniors.

diegueno:
{scold}I blog frequently about health care, reform and medicare. The posts don’t get many “likes” or reblogs. For myself, that’s OK - no one has to like what I blog because I blog for myself primarily (I blog about things that happen in this world that I’m enmeshed in); but I worry about the inattention my followers seem to give it. Enjoy your youth and your health while you’ll have it; may God forbid that you let things go to the point I have to where I have sleep apnea and need a CPAP machine to get a decent night’s sleep. May God forbid that you get cancer like this man has. My warning to you is you could become either one of us.
Conservatives and libertarians / objectives have a pique of rejecting the notion that health care is a right in a developed nation like the United States. The explanations that fit best for me come from philosophy (solipsism) or social science (psychopathy or sociopathy). Then there is the misogyny of theocrats who would abolish health care for women if it creates and unconditional prohibition of abortion. It’s hard for me to to understand why they think so and can say as much without feeling guilt. What ever the case may be, I find the callousness of those who oppose universal health care, like single payer a threat to those who do not put energy in to supporting universal health care and themselves. I’m asking you to give more attention to healthcare in the USA not for those who are sick but for yourself because you can’t avoid entropy and you will become sick and need healthcare in your life some time in the future.
{/scold}

diegueno:

{scold}

I blog frequently about health care, reform and medicare. The posts don’t get many “likes” or reblogs. For myself, that’s OK - no one has to like what I blog because I blog for myself primarily (I blog about things that happen in this world that I’m enmeshed in); but I worry about the inattention my followers seem to give it. Enjoy your youth and your health while you’ll have it; may God forbid that you let things go to the point I have to where I have sleep apnea and need a CPAP machine to get a decent night’s sleep. May God forbid that you get cancer like this man has. My warning to you is you could become either one of us.

Conservatives and libertarians / objectives have a pique of rejecting the notion that health care is a right in a developed nation like the United States. The explanations that fit best for me come from philosophy (solipsism) or social science (psychopathy or sociopathy). Then there is the misogyny of theocrats who would abolish health care for women if it creates and unconditional prohibition of abortion. It’s hard for me to to understand why they think so and can say as much without feeling guilt. What ever the case may be, I find the callousness of those who oppose universal health care, like single payer a threat to those who do not put energy in to supporting universal health care and themselves. I’m asking you to give more attention to healthcare in the USA not for those who are sick but for yourself because you can’t avoid entropy and you will become sick and need healthcare in your life some time in the future.


{/scold}

shortformblog:

producermatthew:

Several members of the audience shouted their approval when CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul if he’d rather let a 30-year-old man in a coma die due to lack of health care coverage over mandating health insurance for American citizens.

“Congressman, are you saying society should just let him die?” Blitzer asked.

Though several members of the audience shouted “Yeah!” Paul responded “No.”

“I practiced medicine for several years,” Paul said. “The churches took care of them. We never turned anyone away.” [CNN]

We incorrectly stated earlier that Ron Paul reacted with an “awkward silence.” This isn’t correct; as you can see in this video, he clearly said “no” before the audience started yelling. Our apologies. Thanks to ProducerMatthew for being fantastic and getting this video up ten minutes after the debate.

(Source: matthewkeys, via shortformblog)

These programs actually weakened us as a people. You see, almost forever, it was institutions in society that assumed the role of taking care of one another. If someone was sick in your family, you took care of them. If a neighbor met misfortune, you took care of them. You saved for your retirement and your future because you had to. We took these things upon ourselves in our communities, our families, and our homes, and our churches and our synagogues. But all that changed when the government began to assume those responsibilities. All of a sudden, for an increasing number of people in our nation, it was no longer necessary to worry about saving for security because that was the government’s job.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) on how programs like Social Security and Medicare have weakened the American people.

Take a second to process that one.

(via kileyrae)

They really have no idea that in the end, they’re really talking about the same thing and don’t know it

Facebook and the pharmaceutical industry have had an uneasy partnership in recent years. Many drug companies didn’t even join the site until Facebook gave them a privilege that others do not have — blocking the public’s ability to openly comment on a page Wall.

But that’s about to change.

In a reversal by Facebook, most drug company pages will have to have open Walls starting Monday.

Companies are worried that open Walls mean open risks, and many are reconsidering their engagement on Facebook. AstraZeneca told viewers in several postings this week that on Friday it will shut down a page devoted to depression — the company sells the antidepressant Seroquel. Johnson & Johnson said it will close four of its pages on Monday. Other companies said they will monitor their pages more closely once the changes take effect.

The industry is concerned that users might write about bad side effects, promote off-label use or make inappropriate statements about a product. Aside from poor word of mouth, the comments could raise concerns from government regulators.
Drug companies lose protections on Facebook, some decide to close pages
By Christian Torres



That’s completely understandable. I’d have half a mind to ask Big Pharma how they think that they are helping people by gouging them if I knew about the pages being open to comments.

(via diegueno)

(Source: twitter.com, via diegueno)

Ryan Budget Fails in Senate; 5 Republicans Defect

timetruthhumor:

The Ryan budget plan just failed by a vote of 40 in favor and 57 opposed. Senate Republicans voting “NO”:

  • Scott Brown
  • Susan Collins
  • Lisa Murkowski
  • Rand Paul
  • Olympia Snowe

Dick Lugar and Orrin Hatch, both facing potential primary armageddon from teabaggers, both voted in favor of eliminating Medicare. No Democrats defected.

Democrats, you have been gifted a club…start swinging it, repeatedly. Don’t stop until November 2012 

(Source: truth-has-a-liberal-bias, via kileyrae)

pantslessprogressive:

I’ve never liked the term “flip-flopping.” Sure, it’s effective. Candidate Kerry-era pundits would be hard-pressed to define their success in the spotlight without the catchphrase.
Today, I’m finally allowing myself to embrace the term. Thanks, Newt.
I should have realized Gingrich’s pontifications on the Libya intervention redefined what it means to flip-flop. His stance brushed every side of the debate. However, it wasn’t until today that I was completely blindsided by the former House Speaker’s brazen buffoonery of contradictions.
Let’s follow the pro-Ryan, anti-Ryan, pro-Ryan trail.
A few weeks ago in New Hampshire, Gingrich told Swampland’s Jay Newton-Small that he would have voted for Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare overhaul plan. When asked if he thought it could save the health care system, he replied:

“No, I think it’s the first step. You need an entirely new set of solutions.”

Now let’s fast forward from “I think it’s the first step” to “too big a jump.”
On Sunday’s Meet the Press, Gingrich referred to Rep. Ryan’s Medicare plan as “right-wing social engineering:”

I think that that is too big a jump. I think what you want to have is a system where people voluntarily migrate to better outcomes, better solutions, better options, not one where you suddenly impose upon the–I don’t want to–I’m against Obamacare, which is imposing radical change, and I would be against a conservative imposing radical change.”

To be fair, he also gave a shout-out to “left-wing social engineering.“ Did I mention Gingrich once supported the individual mandate? 
Now let’s rewind from “too big a jump” to Gingrich thinking this “right-wing social engineering” business was a pretty good idea in ‘95. From the LA Times’ archive, via ThinkProgress:

House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) promised Friday that congressional Republicans would devote all future savings from Medicare to assure the solvency of the imperiled health care program rather than to balance the federal budget.
[…] One alternative would be a voucher program, in which beneficiaries would choose among several competing private health plans. However, he pledged that “anyone who wants to” would be permitted to stay in the present system, which allows unrestricted choice of doctors and hospitals.

Partisan pundits rejoice: Newt Gingrich has given me no choice but to embrace the term “flip-flopping.” [photo via]

pantslessprogressive:

I’ve never liked the term “flip-flopping.” Sure, it’s effective. Candidate Kerry-era pundits would be hard-pressed to define their success in the spotlight without the catchphrase.

Today, I’m finally allowing myself to embrace the term. Thanks, Newt.

I should have realized Gingrich’s pontifications on the Libya intervention redefined what it means to flip-flop. His stance brushed every side of the debate. However, it wasn’t until today that I was completely blindsided by the former House Speaker’s brazen buffoonery of contradictions.

Let’s follow the pro-Ryan, anti-Ryan, pro-Ryan trail.

A few weeks ago in New Hampshire, Gingrich told Swampland’s Jay Newton-Small that he would have voted for Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare overhaul plan. When asked if he thought it could save the health care system, he replied:

“No, I think it’s the first step. You need an entirely new set of solutions.”

Now let’s fast forward from “I think it’s the first step” to “too big a jump.”

On Sunday’s Meet the Press, Gingrich referred to Rep. Ryan’s Medicare plan as “right-wing social engineering:

I think that that is too big a jump. I think what you want to have is a system where people voluntarily migrate to better outcomes, better solutions, better options, not one where you suddenly impose upon the–I don’t want to–I’m against Obamacare, which is imposing radical change, and I would be against a conservative imposing radical change.”

To be fair, he also gave a shout-out to “left-wing social engineering.“ Did I mention Gingrich once supported the individual mandate? 

Now let’s rewind from “too big a jump” to Gingrich thinking this “right-wing social engineering” business was a pretty good idea in ‘95. From the LA Times’ archive, via ThinkProgress:

House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) promised Friday that congressional Republicans would devote all future savings from Medicare to assure the solvency of the imperiled health care program rather than to balance the federal budget.

[…] One alternative would be a voucher program, in which beneficiaries would choose among several competing private health plans. However, he pledged that “anyone who wants to” would be permitted to stay in the present system, which allows unrestricted choice of doctors and hospitals.

Partisan pundits rejoice: Newt Gingrich has given me no choice but to embrace the term “flip-flopping.” [photo via]

(Source: pantslessprogressive)