What an outstanding essay. It's only a start, but what a great start.Here I see a writer who is not caught up by the talking points of any
party, but is taking a step back and looking at the big picture. We have some
serious issues in our current political, social, and economic systems; yet most
of our attention and time is taken up by the shrill voices on one end of the
room or the other, hammering away at a few over-simplified issues.. As
Americans, we need to come together in the middle, stop point fingers, and have
real conversations. It starts with taking some time to understand the point of
view of those who have different opinions than ours.
An interesting piece from a conservative columnist. Republicans should read it
and consider the points raised. Romney's claims that he is concerned with
the 100% would carry more weight if he put out concrete ideas, proposals or
policy. Instead, we can only judge him by his candid, extended comments.
Romney was not only pandering to his base with his "takers and makers"
Ayn Rand statements, but he was flat out wrong. I know plenty of people who
don't pay federal taxes and none of them are "takers". My 89 year
old mother has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes, and worked over
45 years, in and out of the home. Is she a "taker" now that she lives
off Social Security and investments? What about my friend with PTSD, who fought
in Viet Nam and has anxiety attacks, and flashback from that lovely experience?
He once owned a thriving business, but his disability has forced him to live off
SS, and a military pension. Is he part of the 47% that Mitt is talking about?It's not he shear inaccuracy of Mitt's remarks that make them
offensive, it's that his statements display such a simplistic understanding
of the plight of the average American. Mitt seems to have zero empathy, unless
it's for the burden of taxation placed on the billionaires he is courting.
Interesting title, does Mr. Gerson feel that President Obama doesn't pit
'makers' against 'takers' with his frequent
"millionaires and billionaires" comments?
The actual figure of people who receive some government money is 41%. That
includes everyone who is retired and gets social security and medicare. It
include all veterans who receive benefits. It includes farmers who receive crop
subsidies and manufacturers who receive export subsidies. It includes all
college students who get student loans. It includes people on unemployment. Few
of these people are lazy moochers.Only 4.4 million Americans
received any welfare (TANF) benefits last year. That's under two percent of
the population. But when Romney talks about the takers, they're the only
people many Americans think about. As has been pointed out, Romney offended many
typical Republican voters with his comment, they just may not have realized it.
Great article..but..liberals need to come to this wished for conversation with
real solutions also. While the Republican mantra of liberals just want to create
a society of dependency is pure fiction and a poor excuse for their own
failures, liberals do need to understand what creates personal responsibility
and accountabily and tailor both social nets, and economic incentives to those
realities. Republicans for their part also need to understand that
unrestricted libertarianism and Hayekian economics over time do exactly the
opposite of creating a society of self reliant citizens.
We certainly don't have 47% of Americans as "moochers", but we do
have a lot of them and the number is growing.The answer to the
question: How many people receive stuff they don't really need, but
nevertheless take it because it is offered, and eventually come to expect it? is
anybody's guess. Those people tend to become permanently dependent on
government and don't put forth as much effort as they are capable of.How many is that? It is certainly more than zero and certainly less than
half of Americans.
@Roland Kayser -- I know they don't realize it because every one of them
thinks he's talking about the proverbial "welfare queens" and they
know they're not one of THOSE people, so he can't be talking about
them. Well, to get that 47% figure he actually had to be talking about them,
but they're not going to let facts get in the way of thinking that he
wasn't. Or maybe they are ok with being someone saying they are never
going to take responsibility for their own lives. Who knows.
Dwayne,The only way to get 47 percent is to use ALL Americans who do
not pay income taxes in the equations - including those on disability,
low-income senior citizens, and soldiers in active combat. If he did not mean
to include them, his number is highly inflated. Either way, it was an ignorant
When Mitt Romney complains that 47% of the electoriate support Barack Obama
(let's put aside for now the "victimization" and "lack of
taking personal responsibility" talk), he is also saying that 43% of the
electoriate support him, leaving 10% up for grabs.It is fair to say
that this 43% would always be in Romney's camp because of simple political
partisanship. Obviously, Romney was saying this about the 47% who support
Obama, so it is reasonable to flip the coin and say the same about the 43%.
These are his core, so incensed about Barack Obama that they would rather vote
for a turnip than for the president. Their antipathy has been stoked for the
past 3 1/2 years though a campaign artfully-developed to bring the White House
back to the Republicans. They had planned they would hold it for the next 2-3
generations, but George W. Bush's term in office squelched that idea.Now they are fighting to re-establish their long-term goal. Mitt Romney
can't understand why he can only count on 43% even after successfully
shifting responsibility for Bush's bungling mess on Obama. He has
absolutely no clue.