“These are people who pay no income tax,” Romney continued, in a video posted by Mother Jones. “My job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” But who are the 47 percent of Americans who currently have no federal income tax liability?
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Mostly, they are either too poor to qualify for even the lowest tax bracket (but still pay federal payroll tax, and state or local sales taxes, gas taxes, and excise taxes), or they benefit from tax credits for the working poor, the elderly, or students, as these charts from the Tax Policy Center show. Only 7 percent of the country is non-elderly and has no federal tax liability, and most of them make less than $20,000:
Here are the reasons for those who paid no federal income tax reaching that point:
As ThinkProgress has explained, more and more income has become concentrated at the top of the income scale in the last few decades, so the wealthy have paid a larger share of federal taxes, because they have a larger share of the income.