Mitt Romney & the 47% — What He Got Wrong & Why

Holly W. Kelley of Darien writes that of course Mitt Romney needs to worry about that 47 percent who don't pay income taxes—for one thing, it's growing fast as more Baby Boomers retire and live long.

By Holly W. Kelly

Many have written about how Mitt Romney’s quote regarding the 47 percent who do not pay taxes from the point of view of who those 47 percent are.  I am more concerned with the fact that he said “He doesn’t need to worry about those 47 percent”.  Because the point of even thinking about how many people do not pay federal income tax is to consider the impact that lack of revenue has on the bottom line and what are the trends.

Those who have broken down the 47 percent have pointed out that about 10 percent of these people are seniors collecting Social Security.  Why should a presidential candidate care about that 10 percent?  Consider the number of people who will begin collecting Social Security in the next 10 years.   According to the 2010 Census, 12.7 percent of the U.S. Population is now 65 years and older (this indicates that only 2.7 percent pay taxes). 

But the real problem is that there are another 11.6 percent of Americans reported between the ages of 55 and 64.  Sure some of the 12.7 percent over 65 will be deceased but only 3.4 percent of that 12.7 percent are 80 years old and older. 

So for arguments sake let’s assume that 4 percent of those now 65 and older pass away in the next 10 years (my grandfather lived to be 103 years old).  If that happens we will still have 20.3 percent of Americans over 65 collecting Social Security and most not paying taxes. 

There are many myths about Social Security and many doomed warnings that it is a broken system. Those arguments aside, we must consider the tax impact that our aging population may have. 

This is why any presidential candidate should care about those who do not pay taxes. Mr. Romney might also want to consider the fact that many of those collecting Social Security are conservative older Americans who agree with him on many points and will likely vote for him. 

I doubt you will find too many of them who consider themselves freeloaders after working and paying taxes for 40-50 years. 

Editor's note; Holly W. Kelly, M.S.W. is a Darien resident. The links in this article were added by the editor.

sebastian dangerfield September 25, 2012 at 05:36 AM
diane the problem is that you seem to buy the rhetoric that you cant even seem to recite properly. In your post you seem to claim to value truth...yet I asked pretty clearly--were you going to vote for Mitt, before he made that statement about the 47%? Incapable of answering? Or just that , by answering you may somewhat dilute your position, and validate Romney's actual statement? As to the unfunded wars--this is where you made a mistake as to what MSNBC is telling you---unfunded? What exactly does that mean? The truth, which you say is important is that mr bush (that guy who is blamed for everything in the past and future) went from a public debt of 3.7 trillion dollars and ended 8 years later at 6.3 trillion. That is 2.6 trillion. Bad right? Including 9/11 homeland security/bush tax cuts costly wars etc...thats an average of 300 bio a year that was added to the debt. And includes the Tarp program that really kicked in for Obama. Now lets look at where we are now--- gone from 6.3 to 11.3 trillion. That is in 3.7 years. Thats 5 trillion borrowed in less than half the time. Now ? What abut the costly wars, versus small social spending? You are getting your analysis from msnbc not from reality. Jobs created under obama? he says 4.5 mio. True. But he forgets that he lost 5.6 mio for a net loss of 1.1 mio. Funny how the main stream media does not correct this ridiculous deception. GM? Owes tens of billions why is that a success?
sebastian dangerfield September 25, 2012 at 05:43 AM
If gm is a success by costing american taxpayers 50 bio and the banks are a terrible bailout by paying all the money back, can someone explain why the one that didnt work is the good one? (and dont tell me that it saved the auto industry. that is simply untrue. GM and Chrysler would have continued making cars--they simply would have had to cut pensions to retirees. Hey thats what happens when companies go bankrupt. taxpayers owed the gm retirees ntg. but we paid for them, because obama owed unions. You know how dick cheney pushed for wars and oil beause of haliburton and that was wrong? YES IT WAS WRONG. Obama is also wrong for his crony capitalism...for the same reasons. But going back to debt and military budget that obama increased by 200 bio dollars --can you please engage in reality. obama speaks like a liberal about defense budgets--but there is no spending he doesnt love. So if you hate neocons--hate obama. Im totally against military budget--but i dont hold back , when i find out who the players are.
sebastian dangerfield September 25, 2012 at 05:50 AM
mitt d myth if the guy donated 0 to charity he'd be wrong. if he pays too much he is wrong. Why not admit--no matter what this guy does, he is going to be wrong? Its another great gotcha moment --mitt says he should not be faulted for paying his legal amount. President Barack Obama: UPS and FedEx are doing just fine, right? It's the Post Office that's always having problems." –attempting to make the case for government-run healthcare, while simultaneously undercutting his own argument, Portsmouth, N.H., Aug. 11, 2009 He obviously wants to make the whole country more like the Post Office. this guy is a dope. who would say we need more government run things while understanding that the post office is doing poorly and private industry does it fine?
Diane Wilkinson Trefethen September 25, 2012 at 08:00 AM
@luca You are being unnecessarily hostile and provocative. You asked whether I had intended to vote for Romney at 7:29pm and then 6 hours later slammed me for not responding... like all I do is watch Patch for YOU to make requests of me. I'm not concerned about diluting "my" position. Romney is an effete snob, which by itself doesn't disqualify him to be President. However, in my opinion, dismissing almost half the population of the United States does. The President is not the President of just the rich and the bankers and the employed. S/he must also be President to the unemployed, the disabled, the poor, the retired. So when Romney said, "And so my job is not to worry about those people", yes - he was talking about going after votes. BUT when he said, "I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility", he wasn't talking votes. He was simply disparaging 47% of the American people. The answer to your question is "No". I wasn't going to vote for Romney last Spring nor was I planning to vote for Obama. The former equates giving money to his church with being a compassionate soul and the latter has been co-opted and failed to fulfill his promises. ANY third party candidate would be preferable to either of those two and I plan on voting for one. I just wish votes for Barney Sanders would count. As to the rest of your points, none of them had anything to do with the original article and thus can quite safely be ignored.
paul d. September 25, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Hey Darien Lady (luca) (joyce) whatever- How is it that currently a majority of people in this country think Mitt is an inferior option to a President who by all accounts has been a disappointment? Why is that you pretend to be a man? Why do you delete posts after the fact when you have embarrassed yourself? Why do you keep changing your name? Why do you pretend to be a weight lifter?


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