Skip to comments.Romney: 47% Of Americans Will Vote for Obama No Matter What
Posted on 09/18/2012 3:37:16 AM PDT by Kaslin
Mother Jones has obtained and released video of Mitt Romney saying some things that Americans and the media will no doubt take uncharitably.
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.
Romney went on: "[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
This is certainly an inartful way of attempting to make the point that Romney was attempting to make. It's also unclear what point he was actually attempting to make; if he believes that 47% of Americans are dependent on the government for their livelihood, he's simply mistaken.
The Romney campaign responded almost immediately with a boilerplate statement about how Romney's tax and economic plans will help all Americans, government beneficiary or no:
Mitt Romney wants to help all Americans struggling in the Obama economy. As the governor has made clear all year, he is concerned about the growing number of people who are dependent on the federal government, including the record number of people who are on food stamps, nearly one in six Americans in poverty, and the 23 million Americans who are struggling to find work. Mitt Romney's plan creates 12 million new jobs in four years, grows the economy and moves Americans off of government dependency and into jobs.
It's likely an offshoot of the conservative talking point that 47% of Americans don't pay income taxes. Which is true! But unfortunately, a lot of conservatives make the leap from there to claim that total tax burden isn't high enough on middle- and lower-income people (without taking into account things like sales and payroll taxes) and that either they should pay more taxes or we should slash social spending.
Moreover, as Ramesh Ponnuru wrote at National Review, it's just not helpful to base an ideology off the theory that there are too many "moochers" in society.
There is a certain plausibility to the claim that the more people fall off the income-tax rolls, the more will support federal activism. But there is a series of evidentiary hurdles that this claim cannot begin to overcome. There is no evidence that changes in the percentage of people who pay income tax has had any effect on public opinion, let alone a large one. The U.S. that began the Democrats 40-year reign in the House of Representatives in 1954 had roughly the same percentage of non-payers of income tax (24.9) as the U.S. that ended it in 1994 (24.4). A relatively large proportion of the citizenry paid income taxes in the early 1960s. It didnt stop the Great Society from being enacted. The number of people who pay no income taxes moved up fast between 2006 and 2010, which has helped set off conservative alarms. But voters turned sharply right between the elections of those two years.
It would be a different conversation if we were to talk about the people whose livelihood actually depends on government social safety net programs. It's not 47% of people. "Entitlement spending," as broadly defined as a share of income, is only at 18% (though that has been rising in recent years). Romney could make the argument that that is too much, but that's not the argument he's making.
Source: New York Times
If there were truly 47% of Americans who believed that they were benefits of government programs and refused to vote for any politician who worked to curtail the welfare state, America would be in a precarious position. Romney's just wrong on the facts here.
There have been progressives writing that this is a moment that Romney is going to regret. It's possible - but it's not the case that the candidate was making grand claims about morality and government. He certainly seemed to be on a rambling rant where he is wrong on the merits of who pays, who benefits and, perhaps most of all, who's willing to vote on these issues.
A point could be made on the total progressivity of the taxes-and-transfers part of the federal budget. Ed Morrissey noted awhile ago that, during the recession, the average household now receives more in benefits than pays in taxes to the federal government. That's not to say, as Romney seemed to, that these households are dependent on the government or see government help as necessary to their livelihoods. The federal government does have, however, a progressive tax-and-transfer state that benefits a very large number of people.
"The 47% moment" has been seized upon this afternoon as some grand revelation about Mitt Romney's disdain for moochers and will likely be used to paint him as a kind of Ayn Rand Objectivist, turning his nose up at society's leeches and moochers. That's not the case; if the simplest explanation is the best, it's that Mitt Romney has his facts wrong based on some logical leaps involving the total number of federal income taxpayers.
UPDATE: As pointed out on Twitter, Ronald Reagan once bragged about his tax reform plan that would remove poor people from the income tax rolls. From a 1985 speech:
Another key component of our proposal is to provide America's families with a long overdue break by practically doubling the personal exemption. Indeed, our plan would drop virtually every poor family in America off the tax rolls entirely. And a working family with two or three children would pay less than a 10 percent income tax on its earnings well into the $25,000 to $30,000 range.
And he was right: President Reagan's Tax Reform Act of 1986 increased the personal exemption and standard deduction - measures that completely eliminated the income tax burden of some low-income filers.
So what happened 50 years ago (1962)? What caused this change from a brave and ardent love of freedom to a weak acquiescence to socialist tyranny? How were children raised and educated after 1962 that caused this incredible shift? How did public schools go from education that included the Bible and prayer to socialist indoctrination run by socialist-loving teacher unions?
One may point to many reasons, but something socially, morally, and legally significant and catastrophic happened in 1962, and hardly anyone noticed it at the time. Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962), the famous establishment case of separation of church and state, outlawed prayer in public schools. As Justice Stewart wrote in his dissent, the Court says that in permitting school children to say this simple prayer, the New York authorities have established an official religion (Engel, 370 U.S. 421).
This is where misapplication of the establishment clause to create separation of church and state has taken us to the brink of Marxist tyranny, the destruction of the freedoms protected by our Constitutional Republic, and economic collapse. The fact is, the First Amendment of the Constitution NEVER RESTRICTS FREE AND PEACEFUL RELIGIOUS EXERCISE in government, out of government, or anywhere else. The Constitution ONLY RESTRICTS THE STATE from either establishing religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
Many Christians are confused about this and have allowed the other side to dictate the terms and results in the fight for freedom. The issue today is not an establishment issue, not even close. The issue is the socialists use of a Jeffersonian metaphor (separation of church and state) in place of the text and meaning of the Constitution to push Christianity and Constitutional free exercise and expression out of government and public life. If Gods people at the foundation of our country were so timid about instilling the things of God in government, we never would have had, for example, the government buildings as well as monuments in Washington D.C. with scripture carved in stone. These artifacts as well as the Constitution itself testify against lie of the separation of church and state embraced by our popular culture.
The health of a government DEPENDS ON THE free exercise of religion evidenced by the history of America, probably the healthiest form of government in history. The Book of Revelation in the Bible begins with describing how God's presence is in the midst of his people, the church(es) (Rev. 1:12-3:22). It ends with a description of God's presence in the midst of His people, the holy city, the New Jerusalem (Rev 22:2). In the midst of Gods people is a "tree of life," the leaves of which are "for the healing of the nations."
We, the church, institutionally and individually, have God's life and healing so desperately needed in the nations including America. The history of our nation reflects a direct relationship between the involvement of Gods people in government as well as society, and the health of our country that has flourished with individual liberty. Separating the church from the state is like separating the doctor from the patient or the medicine from the wounded. Its up to Gods people to muster the courage and resolve to get this medicine back into the bloodstream of the dying patient.
The MSM is doing their best to try to make this the game breaking gaffe.
The sad truth is Romney is correct.
This is exactly what we are facing. Romney is absolutely right in his assessment. Unless we can convince some of the 47% that the right thing to do is to vote responsibly for Romney, we, as a nation, are doomed! We are on the verge of abject socialism-marxism. Yes, it is nice to get a nice gov’t check at the expense of other hard working people, but for the sake of our country and our children stop this now and vote for free enterprise!
Great and informative post. Thanks for posting
What a colorless fool
At least explained his lofty goal. To get 50.1% of the vote by aiming his campaign at 4% of the electorate who are “undecided”
How inspiring. He puts the fate of our nation in the hands of 4% of the people who are such idiots they cannot decide who to vote for, or are going to vote for obama and are ashamed to admit it
With our nation in grave peril, he showed less passion than a man arguing to the city council why he should be allowed to trim the trees on his lot
I wonder if that number includes people who are on Social Security. If so, I bet there are many who do not support the current Administration.
Time for Team Romney to step up and drive this home. It’s the perfect opportunity to say that there’s no other explanation for people supporting a President who’s presiding over an economy of high unemployment, $4-plus gas prices and a foreign policy that is literally in flames in all the places where he and his Secretary of State actively supported the forces now attacking our embassies.
Now cast your votes sheeeeeeeple!
Until we discover a cure for stupidity, we will be in this predicament for a long time.
Who is “we”? Did you watch Romney's “speech” last night? He is not trying to convince those people. He concedes them to obama. His goal is to reach the 4% that still claim to be undecided. His goal is 50.1% of the vote. Set low goals and maybe you'll achieve them? Romney is flawed as a politician. Deeply flawed. A colorless passionless man. The glow his wife tried to give him at the convention, to show him as more than a Stepford politician, is fading I can't imagine many of us will be voting for Romney. At best we will be voting against obama. God help our nation.
Contrary to the author's assertion that the 47% not paying federal income taxes does not translate to 'on the government dole,' I completely disagree. NOT having to pay income taxes, moreover the large percentage of this 47% actually getting ETIC money back they never paid in, is 'on the government dole' in my book.
They simply are not paying their fair share for the expense of running the government, wasteful as it is.
I was in Walmart a couple of weeks ago. Two heifers with kids were blocking the produce aisle talking about deals, etc. As they parted, one said to the other "we have to stick together until November". The dumb one said "what?" ...the other said "you know, until the election". Both later checked out with WICs certificates and EBT cards - paid not one red cent for a full cart of groceries. These are the 47%.
Our media loves to attack Romney for telling the truth. Romney was right to condemn the Cairo apology after our embassy flag was torn down and replaced with the al Quaida flag. The lame-streams did everything they could to protect Zero by going after Romney.
Once again Romney is being attacked for telling the truth. Obama has purposely created dependence on government to get votes. These 47% will vote for the guy who gives them free stuff. And it is Zero who looks at these people with contempt, not Romney. By making people dependent on government hand-outs, he is the architect of keeping people existing just above the poverty line, never aspiring for anything better.
incompent = incompetent
It was poorly stated and thus a gaffe. Retirees and those out of work are not lost to obama. What politician in their right mind writes off 47 percent of the vote?
What romney better say is that he has a plan to get americans working again. There are people in the 47 percent not by choice and are there because of obama. He has to get the focus on obama’s screwups and motivate people to his side - not attack them.
I would tell Romney that a good leader CAN peel off a good percentage of that 47% if he can paint a picture of a better life in an America with a revitalized economy. There will always be moochers, but there are people who have lost hope too, and a good leader can flip those.
Dumb generalization. Reagan would have used that same stat to pivot toward his shining city on a hill.
The worst thing that could come from all this is for the Rats to put an ad together with some person saying “I don’t pay taxes and I’m voting for Romney.”
This changes nothing. Intelligent people have already made up their minds and will vote for Romney.
the MSM and the Obama campaign are going to go to town on this.. you aren’t going to be able to count all the sad stories of individual people and families who are getting some kind of government help because of no fault of their own and how Mitt Romney thinks they are all mooching bumbs... you can bet there will be loads of disabled veterans and old sick people popping up all over the Obama ads saying if it wasn’t for the government they would be living on the streets or dead... it’s not going to be pretty
Same here. I can't take him anymore and I may sit this one out (election)
Our great country is going to collapse economically real soon. We can't keep spending money we don't have.
It might just be better if ZERO is in when it happens and HE gets the blame.
Meanwhile Deacon is buying precious metals. . . . . . . The precious metals will be sitting on (dry) Gunpowder.