The 47%

If you haven’t seen this already, watch it first:

It’s true that I already didn’t agree with Romney on issues. Even putting that aside, I wouldn’t be able to vote for someone so…stupid.

First, let’s talk about the accurate statement that 47% of Americans pay no federal income taxes. Yes, it’s accurate. It’s horribly misleading, but it’s accurate. It’s misleading because it plays on the fact that a lot of people equate income taxes with all taxes. Even a person paying no federal income taxes because they have less than 25K of income gets hit with at least 1/8th of their income going to taxes (state and local, federal payroll, federal excise, property taxes, sales taxes), which is a higher percentage of income than most Americans pay.

It’s worth noting that Romney isn’t in that 47% as far as we know from the tax records he has released, but he could easily have been. In fact, maybe that’s why he’s hiding his records. There is a very small group that pays no income taxes because they aren’t living off of income. They’re living off of trusts or savings that don’t qualify as income; they pay taxes in other forms. Romney absolutely fits the profile of that American.

But…going back to that 47%, there’s also a group that is in the lower middle class. They end up paying no federal income taxes because of wholly legitimate tax credits. The Earned Income Tax Credit was created by Gerald Ford. The Child Tax Credit was doubled by George W. Bush. So, let’s be clear about Romney’s views here. Getting a tax write-off for horse dressage is totally legit. Storing money in offshore bank accounts to avoid taxation is totally legit. However, being a middle class family with two parents working full time to support their kids and getting tax credits for those kids along with the EITC…that makes you irresponsible. That means you lack personal responsibility.

Okay…so he didn’t quite get the 47% concept…at all. Now, let’s talk about his assertion that he can’t get those votes. BULLSHIT. Those ARE his votes. If you look at Bush’s electoral maps from 2004 and you compare to the census income data, the overlap between the red states and the “states in the red” is fairly definite. The true poor, the “entitled” that he references, are severely underrepresented in elections, and Republicans have been working hard this year to make them even less likely to come out via Voter ID laws. But…that’s neither here nor there. Romney’s electoral math is screwy. Florida is a swing state, and a huge number of its residents are retirees that do not pay federal income tax. (By the way, they also feel pretty entitled to their Social Security and Medicare, considering they worked to pay into those systems for 40+ years.) Is Romney saying he gives up on Florida? That Obama has it in the bag? ‘Cause I’ve been following such things, and he’s dead wrong.

I honestly have trouble even writing about this because my mind is so blown. If I were a Romney supporter in that 47%, I’d be so insulted. He’s calling working people who are legitimately paying the taxes they owe, in many cases more than the average american by percentage of income, moochers and parasites. He’s saying they lack personal responsibility. He’s saying that if you’re retired, if you’re living on social security, medicare, and whatever savings you’ve tucked away, you’re a) solidly voting for Obama and b) irresponsible. I guess he hasn’t met any of my relatives down in Florida, because quite a few of them were probably in his camp. I’d like to think they won’t be anymore. (Note: It’s upsetting that he says this to a room full of presumably smart people, and there are no gasps or murmurs. Maybe they were too busy drinking wine?) It’s just politically stupid.

Let’s set aside issues just for a minute. Do you really want your President to be someone who can’t even understand electoral math? Someone who isn’t willing to understand a statistic before using it to make a key strategic decision? And worse, someone so tone deaf, so confident in his supremacy, that he says this sort of crap out loud where people can hear him and then simply chalks it up to being not elegantly stated but basically true???

And I mean, really…how dare any of us think we’re entitled to such luxuries as basic health care, housing, and food? How dare the citizens of one of the richest countries in the world think they deserve the basics of human survival? You know, I pay federal income taxes. I’m lucky–yes, LUCKY–enough to be in one of those upper brackets, so I pay quite a bit. I’d *love* for that money to go to providing health care, housing, and food for Americans who haven’t had the same opportunities. Instead, the vast majority of it pays for war and defense. (That’s important, too, and I’m really glad it’s there. Nonetheless, how come Romney doesn’t talk about how entitled he feels to being able to fight wars on multiple continents? Where’s his tut-tutting for the sense of entitlement to national defense given that’s where the money mostly goes?)

There’s also an implication there which pisses me off. The implication is that if you’re voting for Obama, it’s because you’re looking for a handout. Let me be very clear, Mr. Romney. I’m voting for Barack Obama, and I’m not doing it because of a handout. I think my husband said it best in a post elsewhere:

What Romney says in this video is that there is 47% of the population that is on the government dole because they don’t pay federal income tax, and that he can’t get any of those voters. So, his job is to convince the other 5-10% of swayable Obama voters that feel guilty about voting for Obama in 2008. The reason I said, [“Note to Romney: I pay plenty on income tax and still support Obama. Try again.”], is that Romney thinks my wife and I do not exist. I am not on the government dole nor do I think I deserve free health care and housing and food, nor am I an independent voter who swung to Obama in 2008 because I was tricked by hope and change. I am a very large segment of the voting population that pays a lot of taxes, believes in marriage equality, the existence of climate change, teaching evolution in school and not creationism, that women have the rights to their own bodies, the fundamentals of Keynesian economics, that we can work at cooperating with other countries instead of bullying them into our American and Christian ways, that believe that corporations should not be allowed to inject hundereds of millions of dollars at a time into elections, etc. Essentially those that have Democratic values.

So yeah, Mr. Romney, I exist. I vote, but more importantly, I volunteer. I make calls. I knock on doors. I donate money. And now, I’m so very motivated to make sure you don’t win. In fact, I’m going to do my very best to see you lose by a landslide. Well done, sir. Well done.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *