Romney dismisses half of U.S.
Mitt Romney is probably used to having his various gaffes broadcast and rebroadcast the world over, but his latest is particularly staggering.
It’s no surprise to any of my regular readers that I’m a very vocal, liberal Democrat. As such, of course, I support our president in the upcoming election. Mitt Romney would have you believe that this may be indicative of the fact that I’m one of the “47 percent,” the latest number to be used to marginalize and grossly over-simplify what are, in fact, very complex social and economic issues.
Earlier this year, Romney was speaking to a private gathering of significant donors, most if not all of them millionaires just like him. A particularly inflammatory clip from a video of the event surfaced Sept. 17, on motherjones.com and features Romney telling a room full of supporters that “there are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. “All right,” he continued, “there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them. Who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing ….” Romney goes on to warn the donors that because 47 percent of Americans don’t pay taxes and therefore aren’t interested in the cuts he promises, “[Obama]’s going to be talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean, that’s what they sell every four years.”
This statement, while not being patently false, is riddled with misleading half-truths. This verbal dysentery isn’t unique to this one moment of Romney’s campaign; both he and running mate Paul Ryan have been under serious scrutiny for statements made while on the campaign trail. While it’s true that somewhere around 47 percent of Americans don’t pay income tax, it’s not exactly for the reasons Romney implies. These aren’t people “beating the system” or “looking for handouts.” A particularly useful pie chart has been posted to NPR.org, which explains a little further than Romney was willing to. Of the 47 percent who do not pay income tax, 23 percent of them do not because they do not earn enough money to be required to do so.
To put that in some perspective, the income for a family of four would have been $26,400 or less last year to avoid paying income tax. That amount of money for a family of four is so small that I can’t imagine who would deny that it’s completely appropriate that they were forgiven the obligation to pay tax. Others are on social security that isn’t taxed. In addition, tax credits are afforded for various reasons; education tax credit, child care tax credit, the earned income tax credit and so on. Also worth noting is the absurd fact that Romney accuses Obama of promising tax cuts for the rich when his campaign is partially built upon that very same pledge.
So Romney lied, and he delivered this specific commentary to a room full of millionaires expressly so he could trick them out of their money and take over the country. It sounds like a plot for the next Austin Powers, but sadly it’s the way a major player for the office of President is choosing to run his campaign.
The video in its entirety has now been made available to the public thanks to motherjones.com and can be viewed there. One has to wonder, will this be enough? How many times does Mitt Romney have to show his blatant disrespect and sanctimonious attitude to his non-affluent supporters in the American public for them to realize he is not the man to lead us?