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Obama vs Romney 2012 - CDC Election

Obama vs Romney   327 members have voted

  1. 1. Who would you vote for?

    • Obama
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    • Romney
      48

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You do know that fifty percent of people in the States do not pay any income taxes, and that those on government benefits get more money back in fully refundable credits, like the earned income credit and child tax credits. There are also many people down here who get free medicaid, free prescriptions through PPARX, who get their rent paid for under Section 8, who get free food stamps, utility assistance, and who get welfare cash benefits, and may even get a disability check on top of it, and not to mention full Pell grants to attend college for free, and all of this is tax free. The fact is most Canadians have no clue about how generous the American welfare system is. The real problem is the people who work, and are not eligible for any of the benefits are really suffering. That those who are on public assistance may have more dispensible income at the end of the month.

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What matter does it make to you Canadians back home, it is not like you pay US income taxes.

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  • September 18, 2012, 10:59 AM ET

The Data Behind Romney’s 47% Comments

P1-BI094_STATEP_G_20120913183007.jpg AP Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney campaigns at Van Dyck Park in Fairfax, Va., Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) Published Credit: Associated Press

By Damian Paletta and John D. McKinnon

In his comments to fundraisers captured on video, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said 47% of Americans would almost automatically vote for President Barack Obama because they were “dependent” on the government, in part because they received government benefits and paid no federal income taxes.

In a press conference late Monday, Mr. Romney said his comments were “not elegantly stated” while at the same time reiterating the main point. Our translation: If you don’t pay federal income taxes, you may not be swayed by a candidate that wants to cut them.

Here’s a rundown of the data behind Mr. Romney’s argument, some of which he correctly stated and other parts of which don’t hold up so well.

Entitlements:

According to the Census Bureau, 49% of Americans in the second quarter of 2011 lived in a household where at least one member received a government benefit. (The total population at the time was 305 million).

That’s up from 30% in the 1980s and 44.4% in the third quarter of 2008, a recent growth in part attributable to the bad economy of President Obama’s first term.

The Census Bureau broke the data down like this:

  • 26.4% of U.S. households had someone enrolled in Medicaid (the health-care program for low-income Americans)

  • 16.2% of households had at least one member receiving Social Security.

  • 15.8% lived in a household receiving food stamps

  • 14.9% had a member with Medicare benefits

  • 4.5% of households received assistance with their rent

  • 1.7% had a member receiving unemployment benefits.

The large majority of Medicare and Social Security recipients have paid payroll taxes in many cases for decades to qualify for those benefits.

More In 2012

There can be a lot of overlap in which programs benefit certain households. For example, millions of people receiving Social Security benefits also receive Medicare health benefits. Many Americans covered by Medicaid are also receiving food stamp benefits.

Mr. Romney implied that anyone receiving government benefits wouldn’t likely be one of his voters. But there’s no clear partisan split among beneficiaries, especially for broad-based federal retirement and health-care programs.

Taxes:

Mr. Romney correctly noted that nearly half of Americans pay no federal income tax. Who are all these people? And how did we get here?

Here’s a quick answer. Roughly half of U.S. households that pay no federal income tax are exempted because of basic provisions such as limitations on tax for low-income earners, according to a 2011 study by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. The other half benefit from targeted breaks (known to tax geeks as “tax expenditures”), such as assistance for the working poor and for children in moderate-income families. Seniors also benefit from some of these targeted breaks.

To analyze which breaks are most important in moving people off the income-tax rolls, the TPC study arranged these tax expenditures into eight categories:

  • Elderly tax benefits (the extra standard deduction for the elderly, the exclusion of a portion of Social Security benefits, and the credit for the elderly);

  • Credits for children and the working poor (the child tax credit, the child and dependent care tax credit, and the Earned Income Tax Credit);

  • Exclusion of other cash transfers (such as welfare and disability payments);

  • Tax-exempt interest and some other deductions, such as for retirement savings;

  • Itemized deductions;

  • Education credits;

  • Other credits; and

  • Reduced rates on capital gains and dividends (zero rate on gains and dividends that would otherwise be taxed at 10% or 15%, 15% rate combined with credits).

The TPC found that of the 38 million households that are made nontaxable by tax expenditures, “44% are moved off the tax rolls by elderly tax benefits and another 30% by credits for children and the working poor.”

So how did we get to the point where almost half of American households pay no income tax? Since the 1970s, Congress and successive presidents have begun creating more and more tax breaks to benefit broad swaths of the population (and some very narrow gauges too). Democrats generally have been more supportive of the particular breaks that push people off the income-tax rolls, but Republicans have supported a few too, and they also have pushed breaks that benefit higher-income people.

More In Taxes

The basic exemptions for very low-income people have been around for a while and are pretty non-controversial. Many of the breaks that benefit the elderly also have been supported by members of both parties, who realize older Americans are among the most consistent voters. Breaks for military personnel – such as the exemption for combat pay – also are widely popular.

The real partisan division has come over the growing number of other breaks, particularly those for children and for the working poor. Democrats in the 1970s pushed through the first and still arguably the most important of these, the Earned Income Tax Credit. Essentially, it’s an income supplement for the working poor, and can provide several thousand dollars in extra cash each year for a typical eligible family.

Over the years it’s been significantly expanded, most recently in the 2009 stimulus bill. While Republicans generally have been supportive of the EITC in practice, they have opposed several of the expansions and also are concerned about relatively high levels of erroneous payments under the highly complex EITC rules.

Conservatives tend to focus on the number of people not paying federal income taxes to make a case about the state of American democracy. For example: If half the country has no financial stake in decisions made in Washington, they’ll inevitably end up supporting expensive federal policies. And the burden will fall on everyone else. (That tends to overlook the fact that nearly two-thirds of households that paid no income tax still paid payroll tax, according to the Tax Policy Center.)

Republicans, however, did help push through another big break—the child credit. It’s been aimed at helping moderate-income families, including one-earner couples, afford to have kids. Like the EITC, it’s a “refundable” credit – meaning that it is paid to eligible taxpayers even when their tax liability has been erased. Democrats have pushed to make it more broadly available to lower-income people, often over GOP objections.

Below, Sara Murray discusses the video on WSJ Live.

Copyright 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. Distribution and use of this material are governed by our Subscriber Agreement and by copyright law. For non-personal use or to order multiple copies, please contact Dow Jones Reprints at 1-800-843-0008 or visit

www.djreprints.com

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Actually I do pay taxes on my foreign U.S income...30% in fact.

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The fact checking behind how Romney came to the 47% number is far less important than what his message was saying... basically if you're not rich, it's not his job to worry about you. As far as people being "entitled" to housing and food, why would we even have a government unless they did all they could to ensure their own citizens had those basic necessities? Romney seems to think the role of government is only to cut taxes if you're rich and to stop you from having an abortion if you're a woman. Good luck to you Americans if you vote this guy in as your President.

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The fact checking behind how Romney came to the 47% number is far less important than what his message was saying... basically if you're not rich, it's not his job to worry about you. As far as people being "entitled" to housing and food, why would we even have a government unless they did all they could to ensure their own citizens had those basic necessities? Romney seems to think the role of government is only to cut taxes if you're rich and to stop you from having an abortion if you're a woman. Good luck to you Americans if you vote this guy in as your President.

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The idea that some Americans have of paternalism needs to be challenged. The Democrats of President Kennedy's day are gone. In a true American spirit the people need to listen to President Kennedy's inaguaration speech, "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." Where does a welfare state fit with this ideology?

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  • wsj_print.gif

  • September 18, 2012, 10:59 AM ET

The Data Behind Romney’s 47% Comments

P1-BI094_STATEP_G_20120913183007.jpg AP Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney campaigns at Van Dyck Park in Fairfax, Va., Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) Published Credit: Associated Press

By Damian Paletta and John D. McKinnon

In his comments to fundraisers captured on video, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said 47% of Americans would almost automatically vote for President Barack Obama because they were “dependent” on the government, in part because they received government benefits and paid no federal income taxes.

In a press conference late Monday, Mr. Romney said his comments were “not elegantly stated” while at the same time reiterating the main point. Our translation: If you don’t pay federal income taxes, you may not be swayed by a candidate that wants to cut them.

Here’s a rundown of the data behind Mr. Romney’s argument, some of which he correctly stated and other parts of which don’t hold up so well.

Entitlements:

According to the Census Bureau, 49% of Americans in the second quarter of 2011 lived in a household where at least one member received a government benefit. (The total population at the time was 305 million).

That’s up from 30% in the 1980s and 44.4% in the third quarter of 2008, a recent growth in part attributable to the bad economy of President Obama’s first term.

The Census Bureau broke the data down like this:

  • 26.4% of U.S. households had someone enrolled in Medicaid (the health-care program for low-income Americans)

  • 16.2% of households had at least one member receiving Social Security.

  • 15.8% lived in a household receiving food stamps

  • 14.9% had a member with Medicare benefits

  • 4.5% of households received assistance with their rent

  • 1.7% had a member receiving unemployment benefits.

The large majority of Medicare and Social Security recipients have paid payroll taxes in many cases for decades to qualify for those benefits.

More In 2012

There can be a lot of overlap in which programs benefit certain households. For example, millions of people receiving Social Security benefits also receive Medicare health benefits. Many Americans covered by Medicaid are also receiving food stamp benefits.

Mr. Romney implied that anyone receiving government benefits wouldn’t likely be one of his voters. But there’s no clear partisan split among beneficiaries, especially for broad-based federal retirement and health-care programs.

Taxes:

Mr. Romney correctly noted that nearly half of Americans pay no federal income tax. Who are all these people? And how did we get here?

Here’s a quick answer. Roughly half of U.S. households that pay no federal income tax are exempted because of basic provisions such as limitations on tax for low-income earners, according to a 2011 study by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. The other half benefit from targeted breaks (known to tax geeks as “tax expenditures”), such as assistance for the working poor and for children in moderate-income families. Seniors also benefit from some of these targeted breaks.

To analyze which breaks are most important in moving people off the income-tax rolls, the TPC study arranged these tax expenditures into eight categories:

  • Elderly tax benefits (the extra standard deduction for the elderly, the exclusion of a portion of Social Security benefits, and the credit for the elderly);

  • Credits for children and the working poor (the child tax credit, the child and dependent care tax credit, and the Earned Income Tax Credit);

  • Exclusion of other cash transfers (such as welfare and disability payments);

  • Tax-exempt interest and some other deductions, such as for retirement savings;

  • Itemized deductions;

  • Education credits;

  • Other credits; and

  • Reduced rates on capital gains and dividends (zero rate on gains and dividends that would otherwise be taxed at 10% or 15%, 15% rate combined with credits).

The TPC found that of the 38 million households that are made nontaxable by tax expenditures, “44% are moved off the tax rolls by elderly tax benefits and another 30% by credits for children and the working poor.”

So how did we get to the point where almost half of American households pay no income tax? Since the 1970s, Congress and successive presidents have begun creating more and more tax breaks to benefit broad swaths of the population (and some very narrow gauges too). Democrats generally have been more supportive of the particular breaks that push people off the income-tax rolls, but Republicans have supported a few too, and they also have pushed breaks that benefit higher-income people.

More In Taxes

The basic exemptions for very low-income people have been around for a while and are pretty non-controversial. Many of the breaks that benefit the elderly also have been supported by members of both parties, who realize older Americans are among the most consistent voters. Breaks for military personnel – such as the exemption for combat pay – also are widely popular.

The real partisan division has come over the growing number of other breaks, particularly those for children and for the working poor. Democrats in the 1970s pushed through the first and still arguably the most important of these, the Earned Income Tax Credit. Essentially, it’s an income supplement for the working poor, and can provide several thousand dollars in extra cash each year for a typical eligible family.

Over the years it’s been significantly expanded, most recently in the 2009 stimulus bill. While Republicans generally have been supportive of the EITC in practice, they have opposed several of the expansions and also are concerned about relatively high levels of erroneous payments under the highly complex EITC rules.

Conservatives tend to focus on the number of people not paying federal income taxes to make a case about the state of American democracy. For example: If half the country has no financial stake in decisions made in Washington, they’ll inevitably end up supporting expensive federal policies. And the burden will fall on everyone else. (That tends to overlook the fact that nearly two-thirds of households that paid no income tax still paid payroll tax, according to the Tax Policy Center.)

Republicans, however, did help push through another big break—the child credit. It’s been aimed at helping moderate-income families, including one-earner couples, afford to have kids. Like the EITC, it’s a “refundable” credit – meaning that it is paid to eligible taxpayers even when their tax liability has been erased. Democrats have pushed to make it more broadly available to lower-income people, often over GOP objections.

Below, Sara Murray discusses the video on WSJ Live.

Copyright 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. Distribution and use of this material are governed by our Subscriber Agreement and by copyright law. For non-personal use or to order multiple copies, please contact Dow Jones Reprints at 1-800-843-0008 or visit

www.djreprints.com

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The idea that some Americans have of paternalism needs to be challenged. The Democrats of President Kennedy's day are gone. In a true American spirit the people need to listen to President Kennedy's inaguaration speech, "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." Where does a welfare state fit with this ideology?

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Wait. Isn't the government run by big business lobbyists though...? ;) The two are, by and large, really one intertwined entity now.

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That is indeed a problem, but a problem where onus is on government to prevent the type of collusion occurring, instead they are aiding and abetting it.

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The idea that some Americans have of paternalism needs to be challenged. The Democrats of President Kennedy's day are gone. In a true American spirit the people need to listen to President Kennedy's inaguaration speech, "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." Where does a welfare state fit with this ideology?

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Politics has always and likely will always, be self-serving to a degree. In a broad sense it is in fact the public's responsibility to "clean house" there.

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American politics confuses the living fluff out of me.

Just like a regular American, I'll just vote for the one I think seems "nicer".

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Even though Bill Kristol is one of the biggest ****-tards out there in Pundit-Land, and I expect his anti-Obama screeds to be ongoing, I couldn't help but laugh my ass off at his targeting of Mittens. Seems like he's given up and is lashing out at everyone.

:lol:

I love it.

A Note on Romney’s Arrogant and Stupid Remarks

9:16 AM, SEP 18, 2012 • BY WILLIAM KRISTOL

So we have in 2012 two presidential candidates who—when they thought they were speaking privately to their fellow 1 percenters—have shown contempt for fellow Americans.

Here's Barack Obama, on April 6, 2008, in San Francisco:

"You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

It's worth recalling that Obama was speaking about Democrats who were voting in the primary for Hillary Clinton. So Obama seems to have contempt not just for the Republicans who oppose him, but for millions of Americans who ended up voting for him in November 2008.

And here's Mitt Romney, on May 17, 2012, in Boca Raton:

"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.... [M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

It's worth recalling that a good chunk of the 47 percent who don't pay income taxes are Romney supporters—especially of course seniors (who might well "believe they are entitled to heath care," a position Romney agrees with), as well as many lower-income Americans (including men and women serving in the military) who think conservative policies are better for the country even if they're not getting a tax cut under the Romney plan. So Romney seems to have contempt not just for the Democrats who oppose him, but for tens of millions who intend to vote for him.

It remains important for the country that Romney wins in November (unless he chooses to step down and we get the Ryan-Rubio ticket we deserve!). But that shouldn't blind us to the fact that Romney's comments, like those of Obama four years ago, are stupid and arrogant.

Indeed: Has there been a presidential race in modern times featuring two candidates who have done so little over their lifetimes for our country, and who have so little substance to say about the future of our country?

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Politics has always and likely will always, be self-serving to a degree. In a broad sense it is in fact the public's responsibility to "clean house" there.

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What that means then is that as we try to resuscitate this notion that we’re all in this thing together, leave nobody behind, we do have to be innovative and thinking what are the delivery systems that are actually effective and meet people where they live. And my suggestion, I guess would be that the trick, and this is one of the few areas where I think there are technical issues that have to be dealt with as opposed to just political issues. I think the trick is figuring out how do we structure government systems that pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution because I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level to make sure everybody’s got a shot.

- Obama, 10/19/98 at Loyola U, Chicago

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