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Romney, personal responsibility and the '47%' (Google+ Hangout)

September 18, 2012|By James Rainey

Mitt Romney set off a furor with his conclusion that nearly half of Americans — supporters of President Obama — believe they are “victims,” depend to excess on the government and are unlikely to ever “take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

While some conservatives supported this notion — that the 47% of the population that does not pay federal income taxes is happy with its lot in life — many others slammed the Republican presidential nominee.

Los Angeles Times financial columnist Michael Hiltzik will join me, Politics Now blog host Jim Rainey, to discuss what Mitt Romney said and how it compares to the tax reality for most Americans. Listen in at 3:30 p.m. PDT to the discussion.

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Hiltzik will describe the other taxes that many Americans pay, including payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare that can amount to 15.3% of income. Many pundits have noted that the payroll tax rate exceeds the 13.9% effective tax rate paid by Mitt Romney on his 2010 income.

Relatively moderate Republicans like David Brooks of the New York Times and David Frum of the Daily Beast have suggested that Romney’s remarks showed him to be out of touch with average Americans. They noted that many retirees, military veterans and others receive federal aid, while not currently paying income taxes.

But Rush Limbaugh and more conservative voices have urged Romney to stick to his comments — secretly videotaped during a dinner fundraiser with high-rollers in Florida in May. They say the Republican Party needs to make the case for moving more people off government programs and on to the tax rolls.

In Tuesday’s Google Hangout video, Hiltzik and I will discuss these issues, and how the Romney “47%” comments might impact the election.

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