Tax Deadbeat Romney Calls Working People Leeches

It turns out that Mitt Romney divides Americans into two groups. Nearly half, 47%, (145.7 million people) are leeches. They are the ones, he says, who ‘pay no income tax’ and expect the rest of the country to support them while they lounge around.

The video of his remarks leaked to Youtube:

He actually says that this half of Americans see themselves as ‘victims’ who ‘deserve’ food.

Food? I mean, don’t human beings kind of deserve food? Is Romney for starving the poor to death so as to avoid having to pay any taxes? Would 46 million emaciated dead American bodies be all right by him? Note that food stamp recipients typically are temporarily on the program. Some are low-paid members of the US armed forces.

The first thing to say is that Romney himself may well have paid no income taxes in recent years. (He claims he paid 13% annually in taxes, but has not proved he paid *income taxes.*) Generally speaking, American corporations pay more for lobbyists than they do in Federal taxes.

The second thing to say is that a hundred percent of Americans pay taxes. Federal income tax is only one kind of tax. In Michigan, we have a 6% retail tax that is regressive and is paid by all consumers, no matter how poor or unemployed or retired. We have local property taxes that even the retired have to pay. Then, almost everyone who works pays payroll taxes toward social security, though the rich pay it only on income up to $96,000 a year and after that their further income is exempt (but why?). So actually, the working poor, workers and the middle classes are paying for social security all by themselves.

Social security is one of those government ‘entitlements’ that Romney wants to take away from us. But *we paid for it*, not the rich. Federal income taxes are irrelevant to it.

Likewise, the state-built infrastructure we enjoy was paid for by our state income taxes and retail taxes. These state benefits are not freebies or give-aways.

Half a million ‘tax units’ that paid no Federal income tax in 2011 were rich people who had tax loopholes. Rich people who only paid taxes to foreign governments are not even counted in the statistics. So are those wealthy tax deadbeats leeches? Is Romney one of them?

Actually, obviously *more* than half of Americans pay no Federal income tax. They are children, homemakers, retired and elderly, unemployed, under-employed, or working poor. Why would you expect them to pay Federal income taxes? I thought Romney was all upset when Ann Romney was accused of never having worked a day in her life because mother and homemaker is *work*. But now stay at home mothers are leeches and suckers for Obama because they don’t file an independent income tax form? And, what? – does he want to bring back child labor in the coal mines?

Almost all those who pay no Federal income tax are youth or elderly retirees or the working poor:

h/t The Economist’s View

Sometimes Republicans say that half of *households* pay no income tax. But that is misleading, too. Only 18% of households pay no payroll tax *and* no Federal income tax, and most of those are, again, elderly retirees, youth or make less than $20,000 a year.

Actually the question is how many ‘tax units’ pay income tax. But if you have a household with a father, a stay-at-home mom, a 23-year-old unemployed son, and a retired senior, you have three tax units living in a ‘household’ and the married couple is the only ‘tax unit’ paying Federal income tax, with the working spouse the only real income earner. Romney seems to be upset by this household. But why? Sounds perfectly normal to me. The retiree is living off social security and/or a pension that he paid for all his life. The unemployed son borrowed money to gain a university education that gives him skills for a job that Republican economic policies under Bush robbed him of by throwing the country into a near-depression. But he likely will find a job when Obama’s policies produce results over the medium term. And, Romney says he doesn’t want homemakers to have to work outside the home (and so earn an independent income on which to pay taxes.)

Only by not looking too closely into all taxes and who exactly pays them and why, – can Romney create this phantom of the non-tax-paying leech. Well there is some truth in it. All he has to do is look in the mirror to see it.

43 Responses

  1. I guess it is possible to be more tone deaf than Romney. Possible. Not probable. Can’t wait for his gracious concession speech, should rate right up there with ‘you won’t have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore’.

  2. Goodbye, Mr. Romney.
    We don’t want to see you anywhere NEAR the White House.
    It is going to be a lot more than 47% of Americans who vote against you.
    You are not only cynical and vacant, you are frightening.
    Go back where you came from.

    • Don’t know if the 47% are frequent voters, But now we have new language, we had “99%” for a while and now “47%”.

      Fear is that the republican base and independents will be swayed by this HUGE increase in the number of supposed welfare cheats (or whatever Romney means this “47%” to be perceived as), and they p[robably DO vote.

      Fear and hate are great motivators.

  3. Since Republicans and Libertarians believe that poor people are irresponsible and are not entitled to food, shelter, or medical care, they ought to be trying to take the stigma out of suicide. Wouldn’t the decent thing to do be to open up euthanasia centers and give all us losers a way out?

  4. Hopefuly the Mormon Church would distance itself from Romney because he Is a moral turpid. The SLD Church is not like that.

  5. Romney was addressing an audience of Boca Raton fatcats, many of whom got bailed out by the government in 2008-09. And Romney once went to the FDIC to negotiate a Bain bailout himself. So they are not among the moochers?

    • Worse than the 47% he was disparaging, per who that represents….those on social security, etc. And it isn’t as tho the worst of those people ever went to specifically arrange for their own nest to be feathered. SOP for the GOP.

      Their really is a lot of Projection amongst the most insipid of these characters, both foreign and domestic.

  6. Is that 47% of *likely voters* he’s talking about or 47% of all Americans? Both Romney and media reports might be conflating very different categories.

    This would seem to be an important distinction. I would imagine unlikely voters aren’t even in the Romney campaign’s radar.

    For example, the Tax Policy Center numbers referenced in the related NYTimes article (link to thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com) are talking about American households, yet the headline refers to voters.

    If it’s voters, then we’re talking about approximately 75 million Americans Romney’s disparaging, not 145 million. Not sure how much that really matters, but all the same the lack of clarity on this is bugging me.

    Thanks so much for the energy you put into this blog, I find it very valuable.

    YB

  7. This morning, Paul Krugman described Romney as “a candidate who despises half the country.”

    The man is an insensitive doofus. He’s also incorrect. Oh, and there were at least three years during the past 12 when Romney paid no income tax himself. (Harry Reid got the number of years wrong but not the facts.) Yes, Romney paid tax on his so-called “investment income” in those years but no income tax so does that mean he is voting for Pres. Obama?.

    Just as bad, the Mother Jones video also shows Romney stating emphatically that a two-state solution and peace is “almost unthinkable” even though in July he said publicly, “I believe in a two-state solution.”

    This is all very ugly. The man is a not just a tax cheat and a liar but he is two-faced and a nasty (insert your term here because Dr. Cole’s filter won’t let me use any of my own terms).

  8. I kinda worried that the incident at several US Embassies this week could jeopardizes Obama re-election.

    Not anymore.

  9. Like most people, our family is profoundly humbled by our good fortune. We look at ourselves, our children, our parents, our friends and cannot understand how anyone can confuse fortune with moral worth. His comments are just seepages of the volcanic arrogance that animates the Republican party.

    • “His comments are just seepages of the volcanic arrogance that animates the Republican party.”

      Great quote!

      • It is important to not “blame” this on Romney. The Republican Party will proclaim that the problem is Romney, he is/was just a bad candidate, with a bad campaign staff. NO! The problem is the ideology of the Republican Party, laid bare more in this election than ever before. When generalized– less government, lower taxes, more individual freedom– it has a surface appeal, but when these people really start saying what they believe (“legitimate rape,” “47% of the people are deadbeats”, “Obama is an apologist”) it is very frightening.

  10. federal spending accounts for 39% GDP. How is 13% paying his fair share? (not to mention monstrous 401k (and swiss) sums that evade any tax)

  11. 100% OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE PAY NO INCOME TAX ON THE STANDARD DEDUCTION PLUS EXEMPTIONS OR THE ITEMIZED DEDUCTION. Income Tax on Social Security is prepaid.

  12. What I find so incredible is that the man running for President doesn’t even know what the median individual and family income levels are, he thinks middle class is $200,000-$250,000. Shouldn’t that be required in President 101 class?

  13. Mr. Romney is damn right that many feel entitled to health care, food and housing. Those are basic human rights along with clothing, transportation and education. However, now they are also capitalist commodities. And, in capitalism, if one cannot afford to purchase the commodity, i.e., pay its exchange value (price, including profit), then one doesn’t receive its use value (usefulness). Capitalism has never provided enough jobs for everyone wanting to work, never mind at a living wage in the US let alone world wide. (Neoclassical economists explain away this persistent, ubiquitous unemployment phenomenon with the ideological, apologetic concept of the “natural” rate of unemployment.)

    So, yes, as an economic system, capitalism fails to provide necessaries of life for too many people that as people they have every human right to expect!

  14. Your description of Romney’s comments are not at all objective. Your characterization of the federal budget and taxes is neither informed, or independent. You are more misleading than any politician out there!

    Payroll taxes are earmarked revenues for social security and medicare, they are not contributions to the general fund. They are retirement and healthcare programs. The largest contribution to the federal general fund is individual income taxes. And yes, those are paid almost exclusively by high earners. Who do you think is paying them? Check the IRS’s data. 86% of federal income tax revenue paid by the top 25% earning filers. That’s who pays. Fine – that’s how the system works. Just stop saying the opposite!

    You claim Romney doesn’t? How truly uninformed you are of how things work.

    Only Mr. Romney’s corporate dividends and capital gains are subject to the lower 15% federal rate, all the rest of his income is taxed at the ordinary rate schedule (municipal bond income may also be exempt if he has them). BTW, anyone can buy these things and enjoy the same benefits if they choose. And why the low rate on corporate dividends and capital gains? Because the companies themselves are paying 35% on the same income!

    If you owned a business (or at least one that made money) and found that, before you could spend the profits, you had to pay 35% federal tax at the corporate level, then another 15% when you issued a dividend to yourself, would you still claim that you’re a ‘deadbeat?’

    It’s true that lower income earning people do pay some taxes. Romney was referring to the subject at hand – the federal general fund (ya know – that defecit we’ve been talking about?) I really don’t think he’s been chatting about state sales and property taxes, did you? After all he’s not running for governor again.

    I think you’re either completely misinformed, or an outright liar.

    Which?

    • First, SS funds are often used for the general fund. They are not, no sequestered by law.

      Second, by his own admission, Romney paid ‘not less than’ 13% in taxes the last ten years. He said if charitable contributions are included, it is close to 20%. Unfortunately, the IRS does not count charitable contributions as part of one’s tax obligation.

      “Only Mr. Romney’s corporate dividends and capital gains are subject to the lower 15% federal rate, all the rest of his income is taxed at the ordinary rate schedule (municipal bond income may also be exempt if he has them). BTW, anyone can buy these things and enjoy the same benefits if they choose. And why the low rate on corporate dividends and capital gains? Because the companies themselves are paying 35% on the same income!

      Third, partners in private equity firms pay 15% on dividends and capital gains, they claim no earned income like the rest of us. So what is ‘all the rest of his income’. I dont think Mr. Romney has a day job that pays him wages or a salary, which would be taxable.

      Fourth, corporate taxes are part of a company’s expenses, not an individual. The individual is getting a return on investment which is less or more depending on his/her knowledge of how to play the markets.

      Fifth, it is my understanding that corporate and personal is taxed according to brackets. If a corporation is subject to a nominal tax of 35%: 1) that does not mean all its income is taxed at 35%, just the income that is above the next closes bracket. 2) with all the deductions and special exemptions that are now in the tax code, I wager that few corporations, if any, pay the 35% on any of their income.

      That is the problem. There are many provisions written into the tax code that allow corporations and wealthy individuals deductions and exemptions that others can’t use because they don’t make enough money to use them. Personally, I’m financially ok. But that wasn’t always the case. I’d rather see someone making $30,000/year benefit with the earned income tax credit (that lifts him/her into the middle class) than Romney keeping his actual tax rate at 13%. Right now the tax code is biased in favor of the wealthy. The tax code, even with repealing the Bush cuts for those making over $250,000/year, doesn’t come close to ‘soaking the rich’ – not with the deductions and exemptions they currently enjoy.

      • “First, SS funds are often used for the general fund. They are not, no sequestered by law.” -RBTL

        Are you sure? The FICA tax is a designated tax for Social Security.Social Security is legally separate from the rest of the government. Social Security is “off budget” from the rest of the federal government’s spending. It must lend any surpluses to the federal government if the latter runs “on budget” deficits. Social Security does this by buying “special issue” bonds from the US Treasury. They’re special issue bonds because unlike other US Treasury issued debt, Social Security can’t resell them. These bonds become the Social Security trust fund. The separation has been weakened somewhat recently by replacing FICA tax cut with general revenues.

        “Check the IRS’s data. 86% of federal income tax revenue paid by the top 25% earning filers.” -B. Murray.

        Well, that’s because according to the Tax Policy Center, the highest income 20% receive 55.9% of all income. They receive the most income and therefore, they should pay the most in taxes since they don’t need the income to afford the necessaries of life. Whether they “earned” that income is an entirely different question.

        As far as the taxes this highest income 20% pay, ask yourself if you would rather have their income and pay their taxes or the income of someone who doesn’t pay income taxes. End of discussion.

        • If you read what I said, I wasn’t bemoaning the fact that the so-called rich have to pay. That is how our progressive system works. It’s actually called the ‘ability to pay’ concept.

          What makes me turn green is constantly hearing people whine that high earners don’t pay, or don’t pay enough, or don’t pay their share. The only thing that makes me more sick, is listening to rich people bitch about paying their tax (not all do). I sometimes say that too, “Would you rather be poor?”

          I sincerely hope all of you who read this will someday be in a position to pay high taxes personally. We’ll see how cheerful you are about it then! (In my experience – most aren’t. Even the liberals!)

      • Your comments are so remarkably perverted, twisted from reality, I scarcely don’t know where to begin.

        SS funds are separate; the general fund borrows from social security, and classically any ‘overfund’ of social security is not counted against a deficit in the general fund because it’s supposed to be saved for someone’s retirement.

        Corporate taxes are part of expenses? Give me a break – what a cop-out!! It’s still money the government is taking from the owner(s) of the business! Guess what, if they take too much, the business becomes uncompetitive, shareholders won’t invest and the business MOVES. Keep asking yourself why businesses are leaving our shores. Many stay (thankfully), but many more should be here that aren’t because we’ve taxed them away.

        A tax paid by the business is a tax paid by the owner of the business. Ultimately the consumer is only willing to pay a certain amount for a good or service – you cannot pass on every expense to consumers by price increases without an effect on sales volume.

        Therefore, Romney (and other investors) aren’t really paying 15%, they’re paying 50% (and that’s just federal, in most states you can add on another 10-16% corporate and individual tax).

        Corporations are taxed according to brackets, and they are very small in comparison to the earnings of large corporations. In 2011 Apple made a $34B profit, and from that will pay about $8B in taxes. Not always immediately – yes sometimes if you’re doing something the govt. wants you to do, such as buy additional equipment, you can defer it. But deferral is all it is, the tax will be due at some point. The vast majority of Apple’s earnings will be in the 35% bracket because the bracket starts at $75,000. (Do a little homework.)

        Deductions and exemptions for the rich that only they can use? What a laugh! I do taxes for high income earners, estates, and corporations. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here’s a little free education. The following are a list of some of the things you CANNOT deduct or claim if your gross income is over $300K a year which others who do not earn as much CAN deduct/claim:

        Personal exemptions
        American Opportunity Credit
        Lifetime Learning Credit
        Child Tax Credit
        Student Loan Interest Deduction
        Traditional IRA deduction
        Ineligible for Roth IRA contribution
        Retirement Savings Contribution Credit
        Tuition & Fees Deduction
        Earned Income Credit
        Additional Child Tax Credit
        State Income Taxes
        State Property Taxes
        Miscellaneous Deductions
        There are more…

        Most of these deductions/credits are taken away through ‘phase-outs.’ Little hidden tax increases that don’t show up in the table. Others are taken away by something called AMT – Alternative Minimum Tax. In the end, if you earn to much, you don’t get them. Take it from me – the more you earn, the more you pay. Households earning less than $50K gross pay less than 2% of their gross in taxes (unless your single).

        I know this is how the system works – I’m just sick of uninformed people claiming the rich don’t pay their share. Do they get more fire protection, more police protection, or better roads than you? Do they enjoy a larger percentage of national defense than you? They’re kids don’t get any special attention at our public schools because their parents pay 10x as much tax as the average home. So stop saying they aren’t paying their share. They pay their share, and the share of five others.

        Here’s another homework assignment for you if you care to learn: the Bush ‘tax cuts’ actually increased federal revenue and moved the tax burden up the income scale. The top 10% of earners paid a higher share of the total revenue collected after the Bush rate reductions than under Clinton. It’s all there in black and white – if you’re interested in the truth.

        I’m not agreeing with Romney’s comments. I think characterizing whole segments of American citizens based on their income is silly. Buy you’re doing it too – and your facts are completely backward.

        Do a little homework and you’ll find the truth is far from what you’ve been led to believe.

        • You’re trying to be clever with words here, but you hoisted yourself on your own petard.

          Tax revenues always grow along with GDP. When taxes are cut, then they fall to an absolutely lower level at the same level of GDP. When GDP grows, then tax revenues rise because they are a positive function of GDP. However, the tax revenue is never as high at the same GDP level as it would have been without the cuts. Therefore, tax revenues increased after the Bush tax cuts as it always does with growing GDP, but they did so from a lower absolute level than they would have if there were no cuts.

          Therefore, the assertion that Bush tax cuts increased revenue relative to what it would be without the cuts (and that’s the measure as far as revenue is concerned) is absolutely FALSE!

        • No Jeffrey, I disagree. The economy increased only a few percentage points, tax reveneues increased by more than the GDP.

          Further, tax rate reductions are an economic stimulus, the whole reason the tax rate reductions were passed in 2002 was to stimulate the economy in the wake of a recession following the 911 attacks. Therefore, the economy may not have increased were it not for the stimulus of rate reductions, or it may not have increased as much. Either way, history has shown us that it worked, the economy grew and revenues grew.

        • I see holes in a good bit of this. I suspect some dishonesty or at least selective myopia. I can think of a few deductions business people can take that you didn’t mention. Business lunch, travel, home office, etc for starters.

          You said, business income is the owner’s income…well for corps you give up that ownership to have limited liability. The losses become the shareholders or the taxpayers in bailouts. Besides, if you don’t want to pay the 15% tax on dividend interest you pay yourself, then simply don’t pay yourself the dividend. Put the money in your income and pay the 30 whatever % before the company has to pay their tax. But then you might have to pay an extra 12.4% ss and medicare like the rest of us, and maybe more state income taxes in some states.

          You also state “Bush ‘tax cuts’ actually increased federal revenue and moved the tax burden up the income scale. The top 10% of earners paid a higher share of the total revenue…It’s all there in black and white” Does you black and white truth account for the possibility that the top 10% of earners likely paid a higher share of the total revenue due to increasing wealth disparity and many at the lower ends loosing their jobs? So much for the obvious truth of black and white.

          AND Mr. Murray said “I’m just sick of uninformed people claiming the rich don’t pay their share. Do they get more fire protection, more police protection, or better roads than you? Do they enjoy a larger percentage of national defense than you? They’re kids don’t get any special attention at our public schools” Um, yes, I think they probably do get more of these things. Ever compared an inner city school with top schools which generally are in wealthy neighborhoods? Lots of disaster $ go to wealthy coastal & mountain areas. But I don’t want to get into this too far because it deflects from the more important points.

          One is temp assistance to needy families…the main victims of lazy name calling…is only $17.2 billion in 2012 budget. Farm income stabilization, other ag. and crop stabilization and ag. disaster relief funds comes to $23.6 billion. I don’t begrudge agriculture that. But you could certainly look at families with children and no jobs as suffering a disaster in our country’s ability to provide jobs, especially decent jobs and we shouldn’t be coming down on them for that. It’s not a matter of self interest, it’s a matter of human decency and compassion which, like it or not, many of us were born with, and we will strive for that.

          And when you look at fair share, in terms of the 2012 federal budget, income taxes, (aren’t they the only ones that are progressive) only account for 38% of the budget (Individual is 31.5% corp is 6.4% of that.) Ad valorium (alcohol, cigarette, hwy, and air excise taxes along with customs, estate and gift taxes is) 3.85%, over half of what businesses pay. And 36% is deficit spending and pushed off for someone else in the future to pay for. (It’s too burdensome to take out SS and Medicare from all this due to the way the budget lumps things together, and after all, it is a tax people have to pay and it is regressive, and given that poor people tend to die younger, it could be that they are less likely to benefit from it.)

          Anyway, the biggest point is that we are spending way more than we are taking in and the ones that can afford to pay for it are not doing it. Even if we could remove the 30% budgeted for defense and interest—much from previously unpaid defense, there still wouldn’t be enough income to pay for the expenses, and the poor just plain don’t have it to spend.

          We have got some big problems. There are overpopulation challenges, environmental challenges, challenges of corporations thinking that they are ENTITLED to plunder the planet and expect the rest of us to pay for it, challenges of people who think they are entitled to jockey themselves into positions where they own, or control huge amounts of the country’s resources and strive to minimize worker’s pay, sometimes not even paying a living wage. There are people born into loose- loose situations without even a patch of ground to try and feed themselves with. We’ve got propping up of home prices so the poor, and many more can’t afford one and are forced into being rent slaves. And on and on… Is there any way to solve all this? I don’t know… but we, the people, are going to try and let’s hope we can get close enough to seeing the wisdom of certain difficult choices that we don’t all tear each other’s hair out…or worse. Higher taxes seem to be one necessary choice. Policies that bring home jobs would be great. There’s so much more that could be discussed but I’m spent. Best wishes.

    • Mr. Murray,

      This is what Romney said, and you damn well know it:

      “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.”

      He said we’re bad Americans, and bad people. He said that he will not be our President. He said that we’re lazy welfare ni**ers. As if it weren’t obvious to his followers that the “47 percent” includes almost all black and brown people, and oh, just that % of whites who don’t act white enough.

      It’s as simple as that. Why should I vote for someone who openly declares himself my enemy?

      Answer that. There is no other issue that matters in an election, but you’re running away from that.

      Do you think I’m a lazy worthless subhuman who doesn’t deserve a voice in government, Mr. Murray? Do you have the honesty that even that least-honest of all politicians, Mitt Romney has, or are you too cowardly to have to fight up front for the ever-more-unequal oligarchy that you dream of?

      • Well – seeing that you called me out personally – I have to respond. ;)

        I agree with you that making wholesale characterizations of a huge portion of Americans is wrong – and foolish. Describing all of the lower income earning segment of America as being of a single ideology is rediculous. Conservative and Liberal ideology is documented to permeate all economic strata, with no clear weighting in any segment.

        I think he was attempting to attack an ideology, which he foolishly assigned to an entire segment of income earners. I don’t disagree with the attack on the ideology. I think it’s wrong to seek from government that which we should provide for ourselves – in the long term. I personally do believe in a safety net (short term unemployment benefits, etc.)

        You’ve taken particular offense at his remarks. Which begs me to ask a question. Why? Specifically. Are you offended because you count yourself one of the 47% who isn’t required to pay much in taxes (I was in that category myself not long ago) and are offended at the ideological imposition he put upon you? (Assuming that you feel entitled, a victim of an unfair system, etc.) I could certainly understat that, if you are.

        Or is it because you hold an ideology that believes the free market system IS inherently unfair, that you should be given more of what others earn because they somehow stole it from you, and that you as a human are born ‘entitled’ to receive all you need to survive from the government of your choosing? Clearly Mr. Romney thinks that ideology is wrong, but he didn’t say what you said (bad Americans, lazy, etc.)

        Which Sir, are you? How specifically did his remarks offend you? (I apologize for being a terrible speller. I’ve become hopelessly reliant on spell-check!)

        • Answer: both.

          I was a Republican 30 years ago, until I saw Reagan’s movement for what it really was, a plan to radically redistribute wealth back to 19th century levels, with the inevitable result that political power is also radically redistributed back to 19th century levels of injustice.

          I warned then that America’s owners would cynically break the contract they’d agreed to under the New Deal to stave off revolution, and create a permanent Neo-Victorian society that would exterminate the very idea of alternatives.

          Yet it has happened, just as I feared, because “liberals” and “libertarians” like yourself refused to acknowledge that going back to the past means, eventually, bringing it ALL back. The Good Old Days worked because racism was used to play ethnic groups off against each other to suppress wages, but with whites always less worse off so that they would honor robber baron J. P. Morgan’s dictum, “I can always hire half the working class to shoot the other half.”

          That means, the vast increases in wages after the Depression worked as a bribe to get the white labor elite to accept cultural modernization, including racial equality. Thus to reverse those wages, the key to the entire right-wing project, it was necessary to restore the old caste system.

          Similarly, reactionary religion was used to keep the poor under control, but the increase in government entitlements gave the poor leverage. So now the right is destroying government so that the poor must crawl to extremist churches for crumbs, just like in the old days.

          With Scott Walker and Paul Ryan we now see from influential leaders an open call to eliminate all environmental law, minimum wages, rights to unionize, and the reappearance of the prison labor once used in the South to replace slavery.

          The new ingredient is American global imperialism, far vaster than the activities in the Caribbean that General Smedley Butler admitted were invasions for corporations. Those were acceptable to the rich because they were cheap. Now they are a means to squeeze domestic spending out of existence because it can be presented as patriotic, and it rewards the arms suppliers and the sorts of right-wing citizens disproportionately willing to serve the war machine. But a Reagan staffer gave away the scam when he admitted in his memoirs that Reagan’s big military increases and deficits were INTENDED to create a future budget crisis that would be used to restore the government of Reagan’s senile dreams. How many people have died because of this project?

          You’re painting this conflict with a veneer of moral equivalency. But it’s never been about anything less than bringing back an America ruled by landlords, church-based censorship boards, prison labor, Pinkerton mercenaries, and bankers instead of democratic government. Because that is required for their self-serving Classical Economics to work. The staggering increase in wealth among American elites, while the country has begun to fall apart, cannot possibly reflect some amazing increase in their “merit”. It is a direct transfer of wealth through tax cuts, war spending, and financial deregulation and the resultant real estate and stock bubbles.

          Since they accepted the end of oligarchy to stave off revolution, they deserve no less than to get the threat of that revolution back for this betrayal. If our ancestors only tolerated their bosses back then because they thought things would get better, then modern bosses can’t conveniently come back and tell us, “Well, you have to give everything up now because the blacks and the foreigners have ruined everything and you have no right to any of the reforms responsible for past wage increases, but oh, we’ll increase our own earnings tenfold.” They are saying that there is no future we can build with our hard work that they can’t take away.

          That leaves us with the question, why does the United States of America exist? I swore, all those years ago, that I would rather see this country destroyed than live as a beast of burden in a restored, eternal 19th century, a Gucci in the face forever. Our ancestors would not, did not, put up with what is being done to us now. If we give in, then it means America is dead anyway, the Dark Ages restored, its people reduced to ignorant, superstitious peasants. What is there left to hope for under our current masters, who suffer not a single negative consequence for taking us so far down this road already?

  15. It’s becoming increasingly hard to see Romney’s appeal to middle of the roader’s, classic conservatives or independents, who might be wavering.

    What this portends is the necessity of Romney relying even more on the hard, crazed right wing, and creating such a dirty, nasty food fight with Obama that the above-mentioned centrists throw up their hands in disgust and stay at home. At that point it becomes a get-out-the-vote exercise between the hard right and hard left, in which he’d stand a sporting chance.

    But then what happens with a character like this as president?

    • I think you’ve just described everything that has already happened. He’s gambling on a higher turnout of fanatics.

  16. He does not mention the 47% who vote Repug come what may. They could be described as greedy, grasping, lacking in any sense of solidarity, fair play, christian charity, human warmth. They could be considered environmental vandals, spoilt brats, wannabe rich guys (so many are not rich, yet vote Repug hoping to join the 1%) and many other unsavoury terms, but I suppose the audience would not like that .

  17. He clearly states, 47

    He dlearly states 47% of Americans in the video. Listen and learn. This coming from a fat cat who supposedly paid 13% taxes, if we’re to believe anything this pompous, sanctimonious ignoramus utters. Why would he want to be president of such a deadbeat nation?? This is one of those independents not voting for a man who shows such disdain for the American citizens, not to mention, our troops whom he and all at RNC so blatantly ignored. I might be persuaded to vote for him if he had his jaws wired shut. THIS IS ONE PROUD “independent” AMERICAN CITIZEN NOT VOTING FOR HIM. UGH!!

  18. This is the purest, most honest statement of the principles of the American Right that we have ever heard from a politician. Ironically, it’s coming from a man who can’t keep his statements straight for five minutes.

    If the 47% are so bad and weak (and implicitly undesirables who should be eliminated from America), why did he come up with Romneycare, and why did he praise Israel’s socialized medical system? Oh, because he was trying to impress the voters of Massachusetts and the fatcat contributors of Israel, respectively.

    Mitt seems to be a salesman who tries to adapt to the audience immediately in front of him, so his remarks reflect that. But since this was an audience of those the most like him of any audience in this campaign, he might actually have been accurately reflecting their souls – and the paradigm they have been implementing for the last 30 years.

    Oh, if only rich guys didn’t have to leave their cushy little exclusive shindigs and actually get other kinds of people to vote for them! It would be so much better, hint, hint, if the vote were restricted to those who are Real Americans.

    From about 1980 to 2010, the GOP played a game of pitting culturally-intolerant workers against “rich liberals” and the minorities whom they were supposedly selling them out to. But more and more, we are finally seeing the very extreme factions brought under the big tent, the ones who outright blame all of America’s problems on democracy and equality, or at least the expectation of equality. More and more, the poor are openly condemned as saboteurs and traitors, waging a war against their Fatherland by voting for You-know-who.

    30 years ago, I first encountered in a Houston bookstore a tract attacking progressive taxation on the grounds that the poor were intellectually inferior and by definition made bad economic decisions – therefore they should pay HIGHER taxes than the rich.

    This was a fundamentalist Christian tract, by the way.

    They couldn’t openly proclaim such ideas in the GOP then. Extreme ideas have been carefully mainstreamed, each wave worst than the one before, while the accountants and lobbyists made regressive taxation an actual fact.

    A young Herbert Hoover once declared, “If you haven’t made a million dollars by the time you’re 30, you’re not much of a man.” He got elected president despite that insult to the integrity and industry of the vast majority of Americans, only to preside over a much greater and more lethal insult.

    Have we been regressed back to that point again?

    It seems we will keep regressing back even further, until we can ask what Lincoln asked. Can a house stand half slave and half free? Half devoted to their local plantation oligarchs and ready to kill for the privilege of being second from the top in a caste system, and half ready to fight for the last shreds of their rational self-interest?

  19. “I know some believe the government should take from some to give to the others,” Romney told Fox News. “I think the president makes it clear in the tape that was released today that that’s what he believes. I think that’s an entirely foreign concept.

    COMMENT: So Romney believes that “redistribution” — such as the progressive income tax, which taxes the wealthy at a higher rate than the poor — is a “foreign concept.” In fact, the first progressive income tax law in the US was the Revenue Act of 1862, which was signed into law by our first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln. The idea that government services should be supported by all, with wealthy taxpayers paying a larger share of the taxes than the poor, is as American as apple pie. It’s Romney and his billionaire friends who are un-American.

    • But that means the “rich” will pay more than the poor, unfairly punishing them for their success and using it to support the lazy shiftless n——, black and white. The 47% who Romney describes with such elegance, and if you listen closely, from the bottom of his heart.

      Per Brian Murray, whose comments are above, 86% of federal income tax is paid by the top 25%. Is that fair? It’s the fundamental choice being faced. Do you really want to drift toward a socialist state, which they’d argue is Communism-Lite, or the fantasy world of rugged individualism—a myth modeled and sold by Hollywood, socializing a generation and given a face by the likes of Clint Eastwood.

    • Note that Ron Paul and his followers already consider Abraham Lincoln a “tyrant”, and Glenn Beck has already drummed Theodore Roosevelt posthumously out of the GOP for his justifications for the permanent income tax in 1905.

      What’s amazing is how many Americans have accepted this Orwellian rewrite of American history, claiming to be “independents” and “libertarians”.

  20. At first I was taken aback by Romney’s comments, and then I remembered that he is a famous panderer even by the standard of electoral politics. He may believe what he said or he may have just been trying to solicit donations to his campaign. There’s no way to know, and that is really the problem.

    He still hasn’t gotten around to effectively explaining why he believes he should be president. All he does is complain about Obama. He seems incredibly incompetent. Last year we had an election in California for governor and Meg Whitman, the former CEO of eBay had an unsuccessful run where she made pretty much every mistake that Romney has made but in a smaller context. She ran as a business woman but didn’t realize that most Americans don’t want to elect their boss.

    I almost feel sorry for him and his donors. They are going to spend hundreds of millions of dollars trying to win this thing and they don’t even stand a chance.

  21. The US is a system specifically designed so that people like Romney exist. The US as a state-supported-capitalist system gives people like this all the money they need, it then rewards their outlandish notions because in the end your culture thinks it only right that a man can get rich and live the American ‘dream’. Well there he is, writ large in all of his bigotted ignorant egotism, congratualtions America. ps The 500lb elephant in the room, America is not paying anything like the suficiant tax levels to cover its cost, rich/poor neither are paying in any realisitic sense. The Fed is printing money like never before to cover the debts left by all, all this is doing is causing inflation. No matter which rich man wins, 2013 will see the printing press turned off. Get ready.

  22. Not to mention that many of the higher income tax units were saved from pounding the pavement thru the government bailouts of 2008-09. Did these people “take responsibility” for their lives; were they not unusually “dependent” on the government?

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