Who Are Romney's 47 Percent?

By Matt Porter

September 18, 2012 Updated Sep 18, 2012 at 6:35 PM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A video of Mitt Romney from last May is causing a stir after being released Monday by the website, Mother Jones.

In the video, Romney addresses a group of donors saying he can't depend on the 47 percent of Americans who don't pay any income tax.

"My job is not worry about those people," said Romney on the tape, "I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

Those statements have put him in hot water, especially with those who fall into the category of "the 47 percent."

Paige Gennarelli is s senior psychology major at Binghamton University. She works hard. Juggling her courses at BU, one part-time job at BLGG's deli, and now an internship.

"I never have time to like breathe," said Gennarelli. "I'm always running from work, to school, back home, do home work, to work. I couldn't even see myself working any more hours than I do."

That's why she was surprised when she heard Romney characterize the 47 percent of Americans who don't pay income tax as "victims" dependent on government hand outs.

"It's almost like he's not in touch with reality," Gennarelli said.

It's true that 47 percent of Americans don't owe income taxes, according to the Tax Policy Center.

And most federal revenue comes through the highest tax brackets.

"They are the ones that are paying for the government operations of this country," said Jim Lewis, CEO of his own accounting firm Piaker and Lyons, "Anyway you slice it, top five, top 10, that's where the money is."

If you want to think of the American tax picture, imagine the US is a ten dollar bill.

Five dollars worth, or just over 50 percent, pay some income tax.

Another three dollars, about 28 percent, don't pay income taxes but still pay payroll taxes to Social Security and Medicare.

The final two dollars, just around 20 percent, don't pay any income or payroll taxes. But, they are still subject to other taxes like sales and property taxes.

So everybody pays. Although tax experts say the amounts people pay have been shrinking.

"People are paying a lot less taxes than they were years ago," said Lewis.

Due to tax credits from both parties, the fastest growing share of people not paying income taxes make more than $40,000.

"Take for instance the child credit," said Lewis, "At $1,000 per child, if you have three kids, and you're getting a $3,000 credit, that's probably enough to offset what income tax you were going to have for a $40,000 salary."

That's not part-time workers like Genarelli, who hasn't made up her mind on her choice for president.

"I've been back and forth," she said, "But honestly, the more he speaks the more I think he's not the person I'll end up voting for in the end."

Romney said he couldn't depend on the "47 percent" for votes, his words might just make that happen.