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Breaking down the 47 percent

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Charles Dharapak/AP

(Read caption) In this Sept. 17, 2012 photo, Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks to reporters in Costa Mesa, Calif. Marron predicts that the number of Americans who don't pay federal income tax will decline as the economy recovers.

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My most popular blog post, by a long shot, was this one in July 2011 explaining why almost half of Americans paid no federal income tax. If you are interested in some context behind Governor Romney’s now famous remarks about the 47 percent (TPC calculated it as 46 percent for 2011), please check it out.

One item I didn’t mention in that post is that the number of taxpayers not paying federal income tax should decline over time. As the economy recovers, higher incomes will boost the fraction of households that pay federal income tax.


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