Who are the 47%?

A lot of attention has been given to this issue, in the campaigns and in last week’s VP debate. For anyone that missed it, Romney was at a private, closed-door fundraiser, during which he commented:

 “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.”

I was debating do a whole long post on this, but it seems like every source of journalism has already beat me to the source. Obama took a lot of heat for not going after Romney for those comments. Biden picked the quote up and used it well. Will it get any play tonight? I’m not sure, but here are some highlights:

  • There ARE probably a good 47% of the population that will vote Democrat, no matter what Romney does.
  • These people are NOT all the same people as those that do not pay Federal income tax.
  • Of the 47% that do not pay income tax…

Data from the Tax Policy Center, but image found at The Atlantic.

  • There doesn’t seem to be any data on the voting habits of those that do not pay income tax.
  • People making less than $30,000 a year are the most likely to not pay income tax. About 40% of them vote Republican.

So, using very fuzzy math, I’d guess that, of the 47% of people who do not pay Federal income tax, at least 20% of them vote Republican. Was there any outrage from those Republicans that do not pay income tax? Not that it really matters. That 20 or so percent will vote for Mitt Romney no matter what.

As an aside, Aristotle wrote of the importance of the common meal. A community cannot prosper when some of its members are without food. It’s the duty of everyone to ensure people are not starving. Yada yada… yes people are entitled to food.


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