To hear Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney tell it, the "47%" of people who pay no federal income taxes are a bunch of government-hugging freeloaders who aren't pulling their economic weight.
In fact, he's talking about his fellow millionaires. At least some of them.
According to the Tax Policy Center, about 4,000 households with annual incomes over $1 million ended up paying zilch in federal income taxes last year. An additional 14,000 households falling into this category made between $500,000 and $1 million.
These aren't huge numbers compared with the roughly 76 million elderly, disabled and low-income Americans who also had no federal income tax liability (although nearly all paid other taxes, such as state and sales taxes).
But the presence of thousands of relatively wealthy folk on the no-taxes list highlights that we're not talking about a nation of moochers. We're talking about a tax system that both accommodates those of limited means and allows others to play all sorts of accounting angles.