The Mitt Caught Pandering. Again.
The Mitt was caught on video spouting a bit of right wing fantasy, that 47% of Americans don’t pay taxes. In addition to being freebooters, The Mitt went on to claim they were lock-in votes for President Obama. WC thinks The Mitt and his speechwriters have been listening to too much Limbaugh and not enough facts.
The Mitt claimed 47% of Americans don’t pay taxes. Before everyone works themselves into a froth over this claim, can we think for just a minute?
According to the U.S. Census, 23.7% of Americans are 18 years of age or younger. Seriously, does anyone expect minors to be gainfully employed, especially in the current economy? So half of The Mitt’s non-taxpaying Americans are kids. The same report finds that 13.3% of Americans are 65 years or older. You know, retired. Sure, not everyone over 65 is retired, and not everyone waits all the way to age 65 to kick back, but it’s another huge chunk of Americans who shouldn’t be expected to pay much in taxes. So 37% of The Mitt’s 47% should come as no surprise to anyone whose neurons function.
Now factor in spouses who do not work outside of the home, people with serious disabilities that prevent them from working at all and Limbaugh’s alarmist claims, thoughtlessly spouted by The Mitt, don’t demonstrate some huge, money-leeching underclass, sponging off the hardworking majority.
The Hamilton Project has a very nice article on this issue, including this helpful chart:
Set aside the fact that the 47% is cooked up by omitting folks who pay payroll taxes that equal or exceed their income tax obligation. The number itself is shocking only if you can’t reason. It’s like claiming 40% of all employee absenteeism occurs on Mondays and Fridays. It shocks only if your critical thinking is impaired or you listen to Sean Hannity too much. But WC repeats himself.
The other thing that’s astonishing about The Mitt’s claims is that it kicks one of his most reliable constituencies right in the fork. The older you get, the more likely you are to vote for a Republican presidential candidate. Among registered voters, the single largest constituency that doesn’t pay income taxes taxes is the retired. So The Mitt told one his more reliable voting blocks they were leeches, automatic votes for Obama and not worthy of The Mitt’s concern. Not a clever strategy, in WC’s opinion.
David Brooks, writing in the New York Times, concludes:
Personally, I think he’s a kind, decent man who says stupid things because he is pretending to be something he is not — some sort of cartoonish government-hater. But it scarcely matters. He’s running a depressingly inept presidential campaign. Mr. Romney, your entitlement reform ideas are essential, but when will the incompetence stop?
WC is not so charitable. A decent man has and holds to principles, A decent man doesn’t pander to the country club fantasies of the right wing. A decent man doesn’t pander, period. All of which makes The Mitt something other than a decent man. A decent man doesn’t claims half of our citizens are grifters. And certainly not a man who is fit to be president of the entire country.