What Romney really thinks
After a long election season of wondering what Mitt Romney really believes, we all got a rude shock yesterday with the release of secretly videotaped footage of Romney at a fundraiser in Florida. One of the most revealing moments was when Romney described his view of Obama voters in some of the most contemptuous – and grossly inaccurate! – terms:
“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, 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. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax. […] my job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Mitt Romney prides himself on being an efficient manager, on being a numbers guy – but he got this all wrong. So let’s look at the 47% of this country that Romney just cruelly dismissed. Well, it turns out that 28.3% pay the payroll tax. And 10.3% of the folks who don’t pay income tax are seniors. It’s stunning, to say the least, that a presidential candidate would accuse our seniors of lacking personal responsibility and being entitled. And then there are the 6.9% whose incomes are less than $20,000 – the working poor and the very poor. They were just written off entirely by Mitt Romney, who joked later in the video about being born with a silver spoon in his mouth.
So when Romney accuses nearly half the country as being “dependent upon government,” what is he referring to? Try Social Security, student loans, Pell grants, veterans’ benefits, and tax credits for children and the working poor. In other words, the kind of government programs that improve this country by helping people educate themselves, ensure that seniors don’t fall into poverty after a lifetime of working, and giving back to those who served our country.
Your grandmother who receives Social Security, your niece getting financial aid to help her through college, your cousin getting housing assistance after serving in Iraq – Mitt Romney thinks all these people are “victims” and “dependents” and he doesn’t have to worry about them.
Memo to Mitt Romney: if you are president, then you are president of the entire country. Thinly-veiled disgust and contempt for nearly half of Americans is simply not presidential. The last thing this country needs is a man who’s happy to dismiss so many of its honest, hard-working citizens as mooches and leeches and dependents. Mitt Romney’s comments are disgraceful, and they reveal that he is unfit for the office of president.