Half avoid taxes, get fed help but many not poor
WASHINGTON - Mitt Romney got the math about right when he said 47 percent of Americans pay no incomes taxes and are "dependent on government" for support. But he blurred together half or more of the entire country with his comment, from the neediest Americans to some of the richest.
The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center says 46 percent of American households paid no income taxes last year. While most are low income, 5 percent earn $50,000 or more annually and benefit from tax breaks on things like college costs and low taxes on capital gains.
The Census Bureau says half the country received federal benefits last year or lived in households getting them. They ranged from Medicaid and food stamps for the poor to Social Security and veterans benefits.