Of parasites and projection
Others have already gone over the substance of the claim; of people who don't pay income tax because their income is too low or in a form which is not subject to income tax, most pay plenty of other taxes (interestingly, Romney himself pays very little income tax since most of his income is capital gains). The small number who pay no federal taxes at all are mostly people in dire poverty, or elderly people who, earlier in their lives, did pay plenty of taxes, including taxes that paid for the programs that are supporting them now. The Randian vision evoked by Romney's claim, of a vast legion of able-bodied but shiftless moochers who sit around smoking weed and watching TV all day supported by a government welfare check and who will vote for Obama to keep the checks coming, has about as much connection with reality as Atlas Shrugged does.
The more interesting point raised by the video, however, is one mentioned by blogger "Smartypants" last week commenting on a column by John Hinderaker. Hinderaker had said:
.....the problem in this year’s race is economic self-interest: we are perilously close to the point where 50% of our population cares more about the money it gets (or expects to get) from government than about the well-being of the nation as a whole.
Mr. Hinderaker is so deeply embedded in his philosophy of greed and selfishness that he is projecting it onto those of us who support things like a social safety net and pubic employee unions. He literally can't comprehend the idea of collective responsibility via citizenship that was the hallmark of President Obama's speech at the convention last week. In the grips of total Randianism, all Hinderaker sees is self-interest.
It's a widespread oddity of right-wing thinking: the idea that the main reason leftist parties get any votes at all is that huge numbers of people who are on government benefits cast those votes to keep the government checks coming. They can't comprehend the idea that millions of gainfully-employed, self-supporting people vote for a stronger social safety net and a more comprehensive national health system in spite of being net contributors to it, not net beneficiaries, simply because it's good for the country.
Speaking for myself, I have a secure job with good health insurance, and my tax rate is pretty high, but I wouldn't mind paying a few percent more in taxes so we could have, say, a real national health system that covered everybody -- though I'll be damned if I'll pay more taxes so multi-millionaires who already pay a lower rate than I do can get even more tax breaks.
I think Smartypants is right. It's projection. The financial parasite class and its toadies are quick to respond to reports of, say, corporations sending jobs overseas, or the wealthy threatening to emigrate to avoid taxes, by asserting that those parties have no obligation to the country as a whole; they're perfectly entitled to act in their own economic self-interest regardless of the impact on anyone else. The idea that anyone might actually take the interests of the whole society into account, in voting or economic choices, is so alien to them that they can't imagine us doing it either.