Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” remark suggests that he thinks the fact that almost half of Americans don’t owe any income taxes is a bad thing. But his tax reform plan would do next to nothing to change it.
Here, using numbers from the Tax Policy Center’s analysis of his plan and the TPC’s baseline income tax rates under the 2011 tax brackets, is how much each group pays in taxes under the current set of rates (blue bars), Romney’s rates when they’re not paid for (red bars), and Romney’s rates where the rate cuts are paid for through base-broadening (green bars):
While both versions of Romney’s plan increase the tax burden on the bottom 20 percent of households (those making between $0 and $19,342 a year), it still leaves the tax rate on those households hugely negative. And Romney actually makes the tax rate on the second household income quintile (those making between $19,343 and $39,862 a year) more negative before base-broadening is taken into account.
Given that the campaign has protested vigorously against the TPC’s suggestion that paying for his plan means raising taxes on lower-income people, it seems reasonable to assume that Romney won’t make much of a dent in the number of people not paying any income tax.
Whatever you think about Romney’s fundraiser remarks, he doesn’t have a plan that corrects the “problem” he’s bemoaning.