At a private fundraiser with a group of wealthy donors, Mitt Romney commented that 47% of Americans pay no taxes. He went on to say that they consider themselves victims and expect the government to give them food and take care of them.
He also said they don’t want to accept any personal responsibility for their lives. He continued by saying that because of this, he wasn’t concerned at all about that group and was going to focus his attention on the independent voters.
It seems to me that this and other statements he made at the same fundraiser present the “real” Mitt Romney, a man born into money, a man who has never had to worry about healthcare or income or anything else that so many Americans have to worry about on a daily basis, a man who has no concept of how many, many Americans live.
Within that 47% of Americans are elderly people trying to live on a fixed income, disabled people who are physically unable to work, a large number of working people whose incomes are so low that after basic deductions they have no income tax liability, and a large number of people who live in or very close to poverty.
I think it’s extremely revealing that while he presents himself as someone who wants to represent all Americans and help to get people back to work, when he’s with his wealthy constituents, he shows that he has nothing but contempt for almost half of the American population.
It’s interesting for another reason as well. For him and for other wealthy Americans, the tax code is ideal in that it gives them all kinds of ways to hide money or otherwise avoid paying taxes. The devices he uses are perfectly legal, and I certainly don’t fault him for using them.
At the same time, many of those in the 47% that he lumps in a group of people who demand entitlements pay little or no taxes because they are able to utilize exemptions and tax breaks that reduce their incomes to below taxable level. It seems to me that if it’s ok for Mitt Romney to take advantage of the tax code, then it’s ok for everyone else as well.
Finally, Mitt Romney made his comments as a blanket statement, saying that these people pay no taxes. He did not recognize that they pay sales taxes, gasoline taxes, state income taxes, real estate taxes, etc., and they pay payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare.
While there probably are leeches in the system, I think it is profoundly arrogant and profoundly insulting to place 47% of the American population in that category. Do we really want someone who actually thinks this way to occupy the White House?? Think about it.