At this point, even if you haven’t yet become totally invested in analyzing Mitt Romney’s speech regarding 47 percent of our population, I’m sure you have at least heard mention of it. Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, has had some bad luck thrown his way, most of it by his own doing.
On September 17, “Mother Jones,” a liberal magazine and website, posted a leaked video from May of Governor Romney speaking at a fundraising event which, according to the website, guests paid $50,000 dollars to attend.
Romney had some choice words for 47 percent of the United States population:
“All right, there are 47 percent who are with him [President Obama], 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 to them…These are people who pay no income tax,” Romney said.
The Romney campaign has gotten quite a bit of flak for this statement in the last two weeks. I think it is safe to assume that the people categorized in his “47 percent” are wondering why they have been given up on. Simply because people don’t pay income tax does not mean that they are sponging off of the government and expect some sort of pay out.
According an article in the “Los Angeles Times” by Jim Puzzanghera, the number 47, or if we are going to be specific, 46.4, came from the Tax Policy Center, a joint organization between the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, regarding the amount of people who paid no income taxes in the year 2011. But according to the same organization, 61 percent of those people did pay federal payroll taxes, meaning they have some form of employment.
Would this not be a good time to mention the different ways that Romney has proposed to reduce taxes for the ultra-wealthy? For example, an article by “CNN Money,” in a comparison between the two candidates and what their tax plans are should they be elected, the former Massachusetts governor proposes to repeal the estate (inheritance) tax, whereas President Obama would bring the estate tax back to the level it was at in 2009, when any estate worth over $3.5 million would acquire a tax rate of at most 45 percent.
Now, if Romney would like to spend his campaign time and money calling out 47 percent of the country, then that is his decision. However, the numbers don’t lie: 61 percent of those people have jobs and do contribute.
Most people who don’t pay income tax are not trying to beat the system or get a free handout.According to the Tax Policy Center, who analyzed last year’s numbers, around half of the 47 percent paid no income taxes due to deductions and credits, including those designed to help families supporting children and those with low-income. Forty-four percent of those were elderly.
At the end of the day, the elderly make up a very important voting bloc. Now that Romney has nationally embarrassed them, I can’t see how they can support him.
What I find to be the most bothersome about the whole situation is what Romney seems to think of these people. Romney has completely written off 47 percent of the American population because they do not pay income taxes, even though a majority of them are hard-working Americans, not freeloaders. If he really wanted to relate more directly to the American people, I would imagine that he would make an attempt to earn their respect and admiration, instead of chastising them in front of his rich buddies.
After telling a group of people who can afford to pay $50,000 for dinner for a night that, “My job is not to worry about those people [47 percent who pay no income tax]-I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives,” he can kiss the vote of the common people goodbye.
Sorry Mr. Romney, but if you really do want the presidency, it is your job to worry about those people.