Words matter, and Governor Romney’s depiction of the bottom half of American Tax-Payers didn’t help his campaign any, but it may have provided an opportunity. Because while words matter, the truth matters more. And Romney spoke the truth even if it was unkind or difficult to hear.
IRS tax data indicates that the bottom 50% of working Americans pay about 2% of all federal income tax collected. At the other end, the top half of American workers pay the remaining 98%. This is a problem because it results in what American political theorists as far back as James Madison and John Calhoun characterize as the development of two competing classes in American society – tax payers and tax consumers. If half the country pays taxes and the other half benefits from those taxes, you wind up with two competing parties advocating either an increase or reduction in taxes depending on how their constituency benefits. And here we are.