It should be stated that the idea that 47% of Americans pay no income tax is not true. It’s exaggerated by various tax rebates from the economic downturn, and it doesn’t take into account the wide range of taxes Americans do pay, including sales taxes, gas taxes, payroll taxes, property taxes, local taxes, excise taxes, etc. Heck, buying absolutely anything produced by a corporation means that you’re paying some percentage of their corporate taxes. In addition, the statistic that 47% of Americans pay no income tax is completely misleading, considering how many Americans draw no income – the retired, for example, or children, or the unemployed.
But it’s also a terrible statistic to overlay onto a theory about voting. Because the poor, the most likely subset of those who “pay no income tax” thanks to rebates like the Earned Income Tax Credit, vote in lower numbers than their more wealthy counterparts. Welfare programs and those that serve the poor are consistently among those most threatened by cutbacks, precisely because they don’t have the power of millions of voters who champion those causes, nor do they have the financial muscle that animates so much of our politics. So the entire theory is wrong.
The other part of this is that everyone is “dependent upon government.” In fact, that was the point behind the awkwardly phrased “you didn’t build that” passage. We depend on government for roads and water pipelines and electricity infrastructure and law enforcement personnel and a whole host of other pieces. We also pay for those elements, and we entrust those we hire to execute it all, so it doesn’t take up too much of our time. That’s a short version of the social contract, and to characterize everyone “reliant” on government as a victim suggests you don’t actually understand it.