Romney’s 47 percent remarks expose his hypocrisy
Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 07:09
By now, most Americans have probably heard about Gov. Romney’s "47 percent of Americans" remarks, in which he essentially wrote off nearly half of the country as immovable barnacles on the underbelly of society. For anyone who hasn’t heard it yet, here is the quote in full:
"All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax."
He went on to add, "My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
First, we must put the quote in context. Romney was speaking to a room of donors at a $50,000 per plate fundraiser in May of this year. Naturally, Romney was unaware that anyone was recording his remarks at the time, and the person who recorded the video has chosen to remain anonymous.
As it turns out, Romney’s assessment of 47 percent of Americans is a bit off. First, it is true that roughly 47 percent of Americans do not pay income tax.
However, nearly two-thirds of these people pay payroll tax. That said, 18.1 percent of American households do not pay payroll tax or income tax. Ten percent of these households are senior citizens, and another 6.9 percent of the households make fewer than $20,000 a year, exempting them from income tax. So, it seems Romney’s remark may have been misleading.
Of course, poor people aren’t the only ones who get out of paying income taxes. It turns out that about 13,000 of the richest people in America (one percent of the richest one percent) did not pay income taxes either. The Tax Policy Center also states there are roughly 4,000 millionaires in the U.S. who paid no income taxes in 2011.
Finally, Romney has decided to step up and lead the charge against these tax-dodging sponges who are refusing to take personal responsibility.
But Romney’s remarks extend beyond the realm of imperious gaffes and into the realm of bad politics. It turns out the majority of seniors support Romney by a substantial margin. So, he’s now attacked his own supporters by accident.
Furthermore, it turns out seven of the 10 states that boast the lowest income tax liabilities are traditionally Republican-leaning states (Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina).
Romney’s aspersions affect another target particularly close to home: his own father. George Romney, Mitt’s father, was on welfare for a time before he ran for office. Mitt’s mother was featured in George Romney’s 1962 gubernatorial campaign video talking about how America gave George Romney a chance to succeed, with a large part of that chance coming from welfare.
So, it seems Mitt Romney did not fully think his statements through, because if he had, he would have realized he was about to refer to his own father as someone who didn’t take personal responsibility and care for his own life.
And while cracking wise about 47 percent of Americans being unreachable was perhaps the worst of Romney’s gaffes during the fundraiser, it was far from his only questionable statement.
He went on to joke it would be much easier for him to win the Hispanic vote if his mother had been Mexican and said he wanted to use Ann Romney sparingly so that the American people wouldn’t grow tired of her.
These are not inflammatory remarks, as was his 47 percent comment, but they do paint an eerie portrait of a candidate who views the American people as a hostile electorate rather than his fellow Americans.
So, Romney has explicitly stated he does not care to win the hearts and minds of Americans or even watch out for the best interests of nearly half of the country. It’s not his job to care about those people, after all.