Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Real Romney revealed...and undone

By Robert Reich
Robert Reich's Blog
Sept. 19, 2012

(Mitt Romney's closed door fundraiser comments show what he really thinks about half of Americans: they're moochers and deadbeats. )

First are the distortions. Romney says 47 percent of Americans don't pay income taxes. That's literally true, except it's misleading because it includes every retiree who hasn't enough income to pay income taxes (most retirees), every poor and lower-income person who doesn't have enough income to pay, and a few multi-millionaires (perhaps like Romney himself - we don't know because he won't release his tax returns), who don't pay because of tax loopholes and tax-avoidance schemes. 

Moreover, just about all working Americans, regardless of income, pay federal payroll taxes. Everyone pays state and local sales taxes. And so on. Romney also distorts reality by purposely mixing "entitlements" with "a sense of entitlement," and lumps in all recipients of Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment benefits into his 47 percent.

Even though these programs are considered "entitlement" spending, their recipients are not undeserving; they don't consider themselves entitled to handouts. They've paid into these insurance plans through their payroll taxes.

But the the most important revelation here isn't Romney's witting distortions. It's his indignant condemnation of almost half the American electorate. A president is supposed to represent all of America, not just the 51 percent who elect him, and have a modicum of sympathy for the less fortunate among us.

Yet here is the real Mitt Romney - a fabulously wealthy financier, presumably speaking to other wealthy people (note the waiters scurrying about), with a passion we haven't before seen in him - saying it isn't his "job" to worry about Americans who he describes as "irresponsible," who fail to take care of themselves, and whose neediness is presumably their own fault.

Some of us thought Romney was without core or principle, an empty suit that would say anything to be elected. But here, evidently, is the real Mitt - a man whose core principle is clearly on display, and articulated with deep conviction: social Darwinism - survival of the richest, the hell with those who need a helping hand. In a subsequent news conference he attempted to make it sound as if he was talking here about political strategy, not social conviction.

Judge for yourself.

+3 # BradFromSalem 2012-09-19 09:03

This video is disturbing because it is the real Mitt. For the first time EVER (in MA that goes way back to the 90's) we get to hear the CEO/Governor talk from the heart. This is the "severe" Conservative he mentioned earlier in the campaign. This is the guy who said to an NAACP audience, that if they knew what was in his heart they would vote for him. And perhaps, to some degree he is right on that last point. There are people of all races, economic strata, and cultural identity that actually agree with Romney's view of the 47% that don't pay taxes. Stupid is not just restricted to White males that have titles like CEO and Executive Vice President, although sometimes it seems that they are trying to monopolize stupidity along with everything else.

Its that stupidity that more than anything else demonstrates why being a CEO does not automatically qualify one to be President. But on the scary side, now that the population of stupid that is not a White male business executive knows what is Romney's heart, what makes the pundit class think that they won't vote for him? I actually think there will be a lot, not a majority but probably about 25% of the persons in that 47% who, in their stupidity didn't like Mitt and were planning on sitting out because he is probably a Liberal Republican that will now vote for him. I mean, why should they stop voting against their own interests now, they have been doing it since Reagan.
+2 # LeeBlack 2012-09-19 09:43
Mitt says those 47% will never vote for him - that can be interpreted to mean those are the 47% he doesn't care about. He certainly doesn't understand the lives of those 47%.
+3 # walthe310 2012-09-19 09:51
Mitt doesn't care, and I don't care about Mitt. I am a proud member of the 99% and the 47%. I began working at age 20 and I worked for 50 years until age 70. During those years I paid Federal income tax each and every year, and I probably paid that tax at a higher rate most years than Mitt paid in 2010. I paid Social Security tax to the maximum each year until the maximum was raised higher than my income and I paid Medicare every year that Medicare withholding was in force. Now I don't pay Federal income tax because my wife and I are living on two very small pensions that are not indexed for inflation and Social Security which is not indexed adequately for inflation. I am part of the 47% and I will vote to re-elect President Obama because he is and will be the better President.
+2 # Jesse666 2012-09-19 10:05
Many of those people who Romney insulted are Republican right wing nuts who vote anti-abortion and anti-gay. They are very poor, ignorant, on welfare and hate liberals.
+2 # Barbara K 2012-09-19 10:06
Well, we finally got to see the real Mitt and it is not a pretty picture. He's selfish, greedy, a liar, thinks we have no right to a roof over our heads, food on our tables, or health insurance. It is obvious that he'd be happy to see us just die in the streets. I have never seen such a gutless, disgusting, hateful person running for office. Not Presidential material at all. Wants to just "forget about that 47%". That is not what a real president does. He refers us as "Those People", his wife refers to us as "You People". They don't relate to us. Well, "This People" is not voting for "That One", the empty suit.

OBAMA/BIDEN 2012 for the 100% of us.
+3 # flippancy 2012-09-19 10:14
Mitt Romney is proof that George W Bush wasn't the dumbest and most disgusting person to run on a major party ticket in American history.


Anonymous said...

Mitt is absolutely right..47% is WAY too many folks on the dole.

Anonymous said...

Just jump on the spin bandwagon and not even question the source. Whoever released that secret tape CUT OUT AT LEAST TWO MINUTES (by their own acknowledgment) that resulted in Mitt's comments being taken OUT OF CONTEXT.

No, it's NOT his job to worry about the 47% who will vote for Obama because he gives them handouts. It is the job of the president to manage this country in a way that is fair to EVERYONE. Obama is the president ONLY of the ones who can't make it for one reason or another. OBAMA doesn't give a shit about the other 53%.

So don't criticize Mitt for being honest. He was merely speaking the truth. 47% don't pay taxes, and those people will vote for Obama. THAT IS WHAT MITT SAID.

He did not call them scumbags or deadbeats or anything else, he simply stated a fact; Obama is the candidate of the have-nots.

Mitt is the candidate for the haves, AND for the have-nots who hope to again be "haves." Obama is perfectly happy to see the have-nots remain DEPENDENT ON THE GOVERNMENT and he has done absolutely NOTHING to create jobs so those people on the dole can get OFF the dole. NOT A DAMN THING. In fact, he gave contracts for bridge construction to the CHINESE who will bring in CHINESE labor to do the work.

He gave contracts for solar panels for government buildings to be built OVERSEAS instead of in the United States.

So let's talk about the other 53%, now that we know who the 47% are most likely to vote for. Let's see if the other 53%, under Mitt's guidance, can create jobs to reduce the 47% to a smaller number of non-taxpayers on the dole.

And as for the bullshit comment at the start of the story that "everyone" with a job at least pays payroll taxes -- that is NOT a true statement. Because the point behind the Earned Income Credit is to return to low-income taxpayers the PAYROLL TAXES that were withheld from those low wages.

So it is NOT TRUE that "everyone" pays them because many of them GET IT BACK in the form of EIC.

Do your friggin homework before spouting off.

That leaked tape did more to make me feel I was making the right decision to vote for Mitt than anything he's said out in the open. Because through that leaked tape, even with the missing minutes, showed me the logic, the restraint, and the intelligence of Mitt Romney.

Haven't seen a damn thing showing me any of those qualities in Mr. "Let me Go Party while the Embassy Burns" Obama. Don't let a little thing like Security Briefings get in the way of your golf game, Barack. Okay, you've had your fun. Now get out of the way so SOMEONE can do SOMETHING about getting this economy back on track because all you've done is MADE IT WORSE.

Anonymous said...


Wow, did you two even bother to read the article you commented on? Do you really consider retirees to be freeloaders just like Mitt does?

This country is in sad shape with selfish people like the two of you in it. You shouldn't even be allowed to vote. In fact, you should be shipped to another country - maybe some banana republic where those in power think like you do.

Shameful. And yet I'll bet you pretend to be Christians.

I for one will be happy when the minorities in this country become the majority. They are a lot more compassionate than the conservative whites they'll be taking over from.

And that day is coming soon. Scares the hell out of you doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

No I don't consider retirees to be freeloaders and MITT didn't say they were. Have you seen the video? Don't talk about this stupid blog post and the idiot who "interpreted" it -- have you seen the video itself? Because I have, and I read the transcript and I looked at the WORDS that actually came out of Mitt's mouth, and he never said the 47% were "freeloaders." He said there were 47% who don't pay taxes (which is a FACT) who will "vote for Obama no matter what," which is probably true.

Everything else that's been said ABOUT what he said is someone else's SPIN.

He spoke truth and people don't want to hear truth. Well, for sure they're not getting truth from Obama's camp.

This has nothing to do with not being compassionate. It has to do with being REALISTIC. All these plans of Obama's COST MONEY we DON'T HAVE. He has been mortgaging our grandchildren's future for the self-serving purpose of making people happy just long enough to RE-ELECT him.

Obamacare is going to COST MONEY. He never talks about where that money is going to come from because if people realized it was coming from We The People they wouldn't be so eager to see a bunch of college coeds getting "free" birth control pills at OUR expense.

Making health insurance AVAILABLE to people does not mean it will be AFFORDABLE. MY insurance premiums are already shooting through the roof.

And thank you for making a RACIAL issue out of an ECONOMIC issue. You're the only one who thinks this is about keeping minorities down.

I just don't think I need to be bankrupted so some welfare mom can get herself a raise by having another baby. I CHOSE not to have kids; why should my taxes be used to pay for other people's kids? If you can't afford a baby, DON'T HAVE ONE. Nobody is forcing anyone to get pregnant or to keep the baby once it's born (remember ADOPTION?).

I am all in favor of a welfare system to help people who are SUDDENLY disadvantaged due to job loss, medical problems, disability, death of a spouse. But NOT for people who CHOOSE to be on the dole (and I know personally some who CHOSE to get pregnant as teens so they could get money from the government).

It's time to derail the welfare gravy train and require people to be responsible for themselves. And the money saved can be used to help the people who truly need it, such as a middle aged woman I know in Tennessee, who is disabled and in a wheelchair and whose husband abandoned her, and whose daughter has a disabling birth defect and is now ALSO in a wheelchair -- who can't even get food stamps because the $800 in disability payments she gets is "too high."

No compassion? I've been sending this woman $50 a month for the past year. I just got a friend of mine to pay her daughter's medical bills. None of this is tax-deductible. We do this because we CARE, and we realize that our welfare system in this country DOES NOT WORK.

How much have YOU spent of YOUR money to help someone in need? Or do you think the government should do it all?

But yeah, I guess I'm selfish because I don't want to see Obama bankrupt this country. He's already ruined our credit rating, and he PLANS to continue increasing the national debt EVEN MORE than the record-high level it is already at.

And I AM a Christian. And I think charity should come from the HEART, not by coercion. It should be administered LOCALLY, by churches and communities, where recipients KNOW their benefactors and are less likely to commit fraud to get help.

The first person I ever saw using food stamps used them to buy junk food that I, as a minimum-wage worker at the time, could not afford in my own budget and she used the cash she had to buy cigarettes and booze.

And uninformed bigoted jerks like you don't scare the hell out of me at all. But I will pray for you, because if Obama is re-elected, God help us all.

Anonymous said...

So many fallacies, so little time to respond - and your mind seems pretty much made up anyway.

But let me just take your first point. Yes, I have seen the video and read the transcript. And no, the rest is not spin.

What Mitt basically said is that 47 percent of the population pays no taxes and expects to live on government handouts. He said he is not concerned about them and, if elected, will not represent them.

That 47 percent includes retirees who have paid taxes all their lives but don't have a high enough income to pay them now.

Frankly, my friend, that includes me. I am on Social Security. I paid for that Social Security all my life. I resent Mitt calling me a deadbeat who is on the dole.

You can't spin it any other way. That's what the man said. He just doesn't have a clue about people who weren't born rich.

I will not vote for a person who threatens my very existence, and a lot of seniors I know feel the same way.

The Republican Party needs to take a good, long look at what they have become. The Tea Party has thrown them back to another era that simply doesn't exist anymore.

One other quick point. You seem to have forgotten the Republican presidents who created this fiscal mess by lowering taxes and fighting dumb wars.

It started with Reagan, then Clinton balanced the budget, then W took us over the cliff. But you know what, I heard a clip from a W campaign speech the other day and he sounds downright moderate, even compassionate.

What has happened to the Republican Party?

Anonymous said...

Reagan, Clinton, and George W are not running for office now. Why does every Democrat think they need to keep dragging them up? Shall we talk about Carter, and Clinton, and all the prior democrats who ever held office? They were the Presidents in THEIR ERA. Before the current economic CRISIS!!! that has only been made worse by Obama's spending spree.

You know anyone who has been unemployed for two years? I do. I myself am "underemployed" because I am self-employed and several of my clients have closed their doors due to the economy, some owing me money I'll never be able to collect. And nothing has come into this small town to replace them.

My health insurance premiums have gone up about a third. The price of gasoline and diesel has nearly doubled since Obama took office, with no end in sight. The national debt is at a record high and still climbing, with no end in sight -- not if he gets re-elected.

But voters don't care, because that debt is on a self-issued "credit card" and the loan hasn't been called yet. That's a problem for our children and grandchildren to deal with.

Well, I don't want someone in the future paying the price for some temporary comfort or benefits Obama is doling out like candy canes at Christmas.

He's doing it to get votes. He EO'd the DREAM act into existence to get the Hispanic vote, he threw free birth control into Obamacare to get the young adult vote, he threw the free well-women care in to get the female vote. He's taken steps to get the gay vote. He's even gone for the Muslim vote with his sucking up to certain people in the Middle East.

I guess he doesn't consider Jews important (or figures they're all rich Republicans and beyond his reach anyway) because he's gone out of his way to alienate them by repeatedly snubbing Netanyahu.

I suppose his next move will be to put free Viagra into the mix to get the middle-aged and up male vote.

How about getting votes by ACTIONS, not by sucking up to minorities at POLITICALLY OPPORTUNE MOMENTS, leaving the debt to be dealt with by some future president, and a future generation?

What has happened to the Democratic Party?