What Mr. Romney didn't take into consideration when he made those cynical and wrong-headed statements is that many, many conservatives belong in the category of those who receive government assistance of one form or another and who don't pay many taxes--he insulted his own constiutency (see the map below). It isn't just Democrats who are helped in difficult times by the government. But it is instructive to see how people like Romney view their fellow Americans. None of what he stated is true. It's an idea that many conservatives promote in order to advance their class warfare and to promote the idea that there really are two Americas--the hard working, take-no-government-help Republican myth, and the lazy, entitled, non-tax-paying bums on welfare, Medicaid, Social Security, and food stamps Democratic myth.
Talk about a divisive and mean-spirited vision of America.
Mr. Romney's mythological America fails to take into account his own "mooching." We know by his own words that he pays a very small percentage of his income in federal taxes--how much of his income? We'll never know, since he refuses to give the American people that information. But we do know that only the enormously wealthy have the luxury of stashing their hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign banks, to avoid taxes, taxes that would be collected by the American government. When people like Mr. Romney get to avoid paying taxes in this way, other Americans have to make up for it--other Americans like you and me.
Mr. Romney also failed to note that his own company Bain & Company was the recipient of a federal government guaranteed loan from the FDIC, a very generous helping hand when it got into financial difficulties, and when he went off to save the Olympics--his shining example of competency--Mr. Romney received government assistance, so that he could have bragging rights as a fiscally responsible administrator when he ran for public office--thanks again to government assistance.
We'll never hear Mr. Romney use those examples of "mooching" off of government because in his privileged world, that assistance is good Republican use of government funds. It's much easier to incite envy and resentment against poor and middle-class Americans than to point out that the wealthy corporations and the enormously wealthy individuals like the Romneys have benefitted from government tax loopholes and subsidies, which we "moochers" have to make up for.
Here is Mr. Romney in his own cynical and divisive words, words that no person who hopes to be president of ALL the people should have ever uttered:
"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what," Romney says in one clip. "All right -- there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe that, 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 seems to be suggesting that nearly half of Americans expect to have all their needs supplied by the government.
"[M]y job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives,"
The AP reports:
Republican Mitt Romney says a video clip in which he called nearly half of Americans "victims" was "not elegantly stated" and was "spoken off the cuff." But he says President Barack Obama's approach is "attractive to people who are not paying taxes."...
The Republican nominee did not disavow the comments but said they were made during a question-and-answer session. He said it was indicative of his campaign's effort to "focus on the people in the middle."
Many Americans don't pay federal income taxes, in part, because of deductions like the child tax credit that have been championed by conservatives and progressives alike. Almost all of the "47 percent" do pay other federal taxes in the form of Social Security and Medicare payroll deductions and gas levies, as well as a variety of state and local sales and property taxes that aren't dependent on income.
"Let's look at who the people are who actually pay no income tax. Romney's statements are a little unclear, but it appears that the 47 percent figure represents all of those who pay no income tax, rather than the Democratic base. His problem is that those people are disproportionately in red states -- that is, states that tend to vote Republican": --The Atlantic
(Mr. Romney insulted his own constituents, the red staters, in his sweeping generalization about non-tax-paying moochers. As you can see from this map, the conservative red states are the non-payers, not the generally Democratic voting blue states.)
From David Brooks of the NYTimes:
"In 1960, government transfers to individuals totaled $24 billion. By 2010, that total was 100 times as large. Even after adjusting for inflation, entitlement transfers to individuals have grown by more than 700 percent over the last 50 years.
This spending surge, Eberstadt notes, has increased faster under Republican administrations than Democratic ones.
Romney, who criticizes President Obama for dividing the nation, divided the nation into two groups: the makers and the moochers. Forty-seven percent of the country, he said, are people “who are dependent upon government, who believe they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to take care of them, who believe they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”
This comment suggests a few things. First, it suggests that he really doesn’t know much about the country he inhabits. Who are these freeloaders? Is it the Iraq war veteran who goes to the V.A.? Is it the student getting a loan to go to college? Is it the retiree on Social Security or Medicare? [...]
Personally, I think he’s a kind, decent man who says stupid things because he is pretending to be something he is not — some sort of cartoonish government-hater. But it scarcely matters. He’s running a depressingly inept presidential campaign. Mr. Romney, your entitlement reform ideas are essential, but when will the incompetence stop?"
Mr. Romney, you can't win a presidential election by insulting half of the voting public.