— Hypocritical because many of those folks not paying federal income taxes actually pay higher federal tax rate, than an insanely rich person like Mitt Romney, who lives off tens of millions of dollars a year in investment income, does. As Klein notes, “when you account for both sides of the payroll tax, they paid 15.3 percent of their income in taxes, which is higher than the 13.9 percent that Romney paid.”

So how does a presidential candidate and former governor come to such a fundamental misreading of a country (whose citizens work longer hours than almost any other industrialized country, by the way)?

Romney’s misconception didn’t come from nowhere. It’s an article of faith on the right fostered by the far-right wing news media’s house of mirrors, especially those of The Wall Street Journal editorial page and Fox News.

A decade ago, the WSJ famously called people who are too poor or too old to pay federal income taxes “Lucky Duckies” a decade ago. Ayn Rand called them “looters” and “parasites”, which Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan softened to “takers” and “makers,” language also used by the WSJ.

Fox News has relentlessly pounded on the “takers” meme, while glorifying the “makers.” As usual, Jon Stewart had the best criticism of this news media house of mirrors more than a year ago.

Part one:

Part two:

If you want to figure out where this gaffe originated, watch them both all the way through.

Further Reading:

Lucky Duckies waddle onto the WSJ news pages

Zombie Lie Laboratory Creates 62 Percent Tax Rate Plan

Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu.