Who are the 47 percent? 5 jobs held by people who pay no income tax.

Mitt Romney says 47 percent of Americans don't pay federal income taxes – and he was right. Half of that 47 percent are workers who hold jobs that don't pay enough for them to owe income taxes to Uncle Sam. What kinds of jobs are these?

3. Waiters and waitresses

Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor/File
Waiters Bob Noncarrow (l.) and F.X. Bege work at Galatoire's Restaurant in the French Quarter of New Orleans in the 2006 file photo.

This is a job that employs everyone from college students trying to earn some extra cash at a café to tuxedo-clad professionals serving filet mignon to businessmen.

Yes, there are flexible hours. But they might involve working the breakfast crowd starting at the crack of dawn or a late shift that ends at midnight. Weekends and holidays? Forget about it, you’re probably working.

The job also has a fair amount of stress: during busy hours, the wait staff is under pressure to get food to hungry and sometimes picky customers.

But waiters and waitresses often say they love their jobs, sometimes because of the flexible hours, sometimes because the restaurant can be a social hub.

“I like the interaction with a bunch of different people from different walks of life,” says Jai Covey, a floor manager and former waiter at Novo Restaurant and Lounge in San Luis Obispo, Calif. “What I don’t like is when people are in a bad mood and are difficult to deal with.”

To make a living as a waiter, he says, sometimes it requires working a double shift or opening and closing the restaurant. “You have be someone who wants to work more or longer,” he says.

According to the BLS, in 2011 there were about 2.3 million food servers making an annual mean wage of $20,890 a year. This would be below the level to pay federal taxes. But, as Mr. Covey notes, “If you don’t pay taxes it does not mean you are relying on the government.”

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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