Monday, April 15, 2013

GOP Congressman Says Poor People Don’t Pay Enough Taxes

When the history books are written about the 2012 presidential election, the leaked video of Mitt Romney disparaging half of the country as a bunch of lazy, greedy, government moochers may very well have its own chapter, and yet Republicans are quick to forget just how damaging the remark was.

The latest is Congressman Rob Woodall (R-GA), who leapt to the defense of Romney during a town hall meeting last month, doubling down on the 47 percent comment while also proposing that Americans should have to pay taxes in order to vote in elections:

“You know, folks mock Mitt Romney for what he said, but he’s right. Forty-seven percent of American citizens pay zero in income taxes. It’s just true,” Woodall said, according to remarks recorded by Georgia Fair Share.”
“In fact, the bottom 30% of American citizens profit from the tax code because they’re getting refundable tax credits back,” Woodall says in the video. “I don’t care if you’re paying a dollar. You need to believe that you are involved in the process, and you need to have skin in the game.”

The comment was flagged by the Huffington Post, which points out that the statistic is deeply misleading. Included in Woodall and Romney’s broad dismissal of 47 percent of the electorate are millions of retired seniors who no longer have an income and millions more low-income families and individuals who do not meet the $20,000 liability threshold for federal income taxes. And all of these people still pay into government programs through sales taxes and, in many cases, payroll taxes.

Woodall’s comment that “the bottom 30% of American citizens profit from the tax code” conveniently neglects to mention that most of the tax credits in question were shepherded through Congress by Republican administrations.

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