I watched the secret video of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney telling wealthy donors at a private fundraiser that 47 percent of Americans are “dependent” and “entitled” freeloaders who pay no taxes, refuse to assume responsibility for their lives and think the government should take care of them. And you should, too. Just so you’re very clear about who wants to be in charge of your country and what, exactly, he thinks of you, your mama, your neighbors, your babies, your auntie and cousins and them and anyone else who isn’t filthy stankin’ rich.
The highlight of Romney’s $50,000-per-plate fundraising speech, which found its way to Mother Jones, says it all:
“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…”
So basically, anyone who votes for President Obama, who thinks the government and the taxes it collects from the people should be for the people, who thinks it fair and just and righteous to take care of the poor, the sick, the young and the old among us, who is tired of watching the rich get slick while the rest of us drown in the muck and mess they created, deserve to have the words “freeloader,” “loser” and “slacker” tatted on their forehead. This is what this fool is saying. It is what he believes to his core.
And you should be afraid for how that translates in the Oval Office.
Frankly, I’m flabbergasted by just how little this man seems to understand about America and Americans. As conservative columnist David Brooks points out in the New York Times, America is the hardest working country on the planet, bar none, and the entitlements of which Romney speaks encompasses much more than those collected by the mythical Cadillac-driving welfare queen buying steaks with her EBT card. “Who,” Brooks asks, “are these freeloaders? Is it the Iraq war veteran who goes to the V.A.? Is it the student getting a loan to go to college? Is it the retiree on Social Security or Medicare?”
Yes, Romney is referring to each of these people, trust and believe. He is also talking about me, a hardworking writer and small business owner who has been handing over a portion of my pay—at times grand, more often than not, quite small—to the federal, state and the local governments since my first job at age 15. I do so willingly, because up until this very day, I’ve been led to believe that every single penny is going to the greater good of my country—to keep roads and bridges running, to keep police offers and firemen and emergency responders working so that we are protected, to pay our teachers, charged with making our babies smarter and brighter and ready for the world, to pay our political leaders—the people who are charged with representing us—so that we have a say about what matters in our lives. And yes, to mend holes in the safety net that is supposed to help the poor, the elderly, children and the most vulnerable among us from withering away and dying in one of the richest countries in the world.
Now, it may be true that the higher you get up in the income brackets, the more likely you are to find people who go to extremes to pay as little taxes as they possibly can (shout out to Mitt). But I’m going to be frank in admitting that I don’t know nothing ‘bout no Swiss tax shelters.
Here’s what I do know: I pay taxes—lots of them—whenever I get a paycheck and whenever I pull my wallet out of my purse. I am a responsible person. I work hard. I am thoughtful. And I actually give a shit about my neighbors. About my fellow Americans. I think that we all should have affordable healthcare and food and housing and that this country—a country that takes great pains to snatch my money out of my pockets for such things—should follow through on that promise.
Mitt Romney? Not so much.
As Jonathan Chait put forth so eloquently in New York Magazine:
To think of Romney’s leaked discourse as a “gaffe” grossly misdescribes its importance. Indeed the comments’ direct impact on the outcome of the election will probably be small…Instead the video exposes an authentic Romney as a far more sinister character than I had imagined. Here is the sneering plutocrat, fully in thrall to a series of pernicious myths that are at the heart of the mania that has seized his party…[H]e put himself forward as the hopeful president of the top half of America against the bottom.”
In which half are you?