Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Fact-checking Romney's private fundraiser remarks

This is an excerpt from a video leaked to the liberal magazine Mother Jones in which Mitt Romney explains his views on who in the United States pays taxes and who they may vote for this fall.

Mitt Romney said his comments in a controversial video were "not elegantly stated." They’re also not entirely true:

The "48, 49 percent" that supports President Barack Obama are "people who pay no income tax."

Romney  claimed that the 47 percent of Americans who don't pay federal income taxes are strong Obama supporters because they are so dependent on government benefits that Obama freely provides.
   
"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what," Romney said. "All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what.
   
"And I mean the president starts out with 48, 49 percent … he starts off with a huge number."

The polls and income tax data don't back this up.

Obama gets substantial support from people earning more than $50,000 -- and 90 percent of them, or more, do pay taxes.

Romney gets lots of support from seniors, many of whom have no income tax liability.
We rate this Romney  claim False.
 

 

"Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax."

PolitiFact also checked the part of Romney’s statement in which he said 47 percent of American pay no income tax.

It's clear Romney is referring to federal taxes and his figure mirrors one from the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, which found that in 2011, 46 percent of tax filers paid no income tax, vs. about 54 percent of tax filers that did have some federal income tax liability. In 2009, the Tax Policy Center estimated the proportion who paid no taxes was 47 percent.
   
About half of people who don’t pay income taxes are simply poor, and the tax code explicitly exempts them.
           
The remaining Americans who owe no federal income taxes are benefiting from tax breaks, the center found.

Romney specifically said at the fundraising event that "47 percent of Americans pay no income tax."

We rate this Romney statement True.

 

"Fifty percent of kids coming out of school can't get a job."

We’re checking several statements from Romney’s remarks on May 17, 2012, but here we’re asking whether, "Fifty percent of kids coming out of school can't get a job."

Romney has made similar remarks on the campaign trail before, and his campaign has pointed us to articles by the Associated Press and Time.com that each address the bleak job market for 2012 college graduates.

Romney told campaign donors that "50 percent of kids coming out of school can't get a job." He missed a key qualifier -- according to the research, about a quarter of recent college grads literally can’t find a job, while another quarter have found a job, but one that doesn’t require a college degree.

Still, the research shows the employment picture for college grads is grimmer than at any time in more than a decade.

We rate this Romney claim Mostly True.
   

 

Says President Obama promised "he'd keep unemployment below 8 percent" if the stimulus passed.

Tucked into Romney’s description of how he can win over voters who supported Obama four years ago but are disappointed now was a claim about the president his campaign promise on the unemployment rate.
   
"Those people that we have to get, they want to believe they did the right thing but he just wasn't up to the task. They love the phrase that he's ‘over his head.’ … The best success I have at speaking with those people is saying, you know, the president has been a disappointment. He told you he'd keep unemployment below 8 percent. Hasn't been below 8 percent since," Romney said.
   
Did Obama promise to keep unemployment below 8 percent?

Obama didn’t exactly say that. Rather, his Council of Economic Advisers predicted that the stimulus would hold it to that level. Their report included heavy disclaimers that the projections had "significant margins of error" and a high degree of uncertainty due to a recession that is "unusual both in its fundamental causes and its severity."
   
The sub-8 percent prediction did not hold true. But it’s still incorrect to characterize it as a promise or guarantee.
   
We rate this Romney statement Mostly False.