It appears this country is close to becoming a nation of slackers, moochers and good-for-nothings. It’s all because 47 percent of us don’t pay any income tax.
Or so says Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Romney essentially made that observation at a May 17 private meeting in Boca Raton, Fla., of well-heeled donors who paid $50,000 a plate to hear his remarks. A video of the event recorded what he said:
“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…[M]y job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Romney may be right about the number (although most of those in the 47 percent still pay into Social Security, Medicare and a sales tax if it’s part of a state’s tax structure, as it is here in Washington.
What he misses – and misses badly – is that many people who make up the 47 percent most likely are working and hoping to pay income tax. That would mean that they have moved up the economic ladder and thus more able to buy a house, set money aside for their children’s education and begin to live the American Dream.
It also misses the point that many taxpayers are in the 47 percent because the federal government – both Democrats and Republicans – have granted a number of tax breaks to the average taxpayer. And, yes, we all could give up our tax breaks in order pay more taxes. Oddly enough, we don’t seem to see any raised hands offering to do this.
Romney is now scrambling to regain his footing in the presidential race. That’s going to be difficult when it’s stuck so firmly in his mouth.
– Craig Groshart, Issaquah & Sammamish Reporter