The Gift That Keeps on Giving

By now most of you probably know about the video of Mitt Romney at a fund-raiser for rich people dissing 47 percent of Americans, including seniors, one of his core constituencies. (Many seniors don’t pay income tax because they don’t have enough income, since Social Security is not taxed except for high-income households. For more on the “47 percent,” see here.)

Still, this is standard Tea Party fodder that Romney et al. have been dishing out for months now. But what about this?

Describing his family background, he quipped about his father, “Had he been born of Mexican parents, I’d have a better shot of winning this.” Contending that he is a self-made millionaire who earned his own fortune, Romney insisted, “I have inherited nothing.” He remarked, “There is a perception, ‘Oh, we were born with a silver spoon, he never had to earn anything and so forth.’ Frankly, I was born with a silver spoon, which is the greatest gift you can have: which is to get born in America.”

Mitt Romney saying that he inherited nothing? The son of the CEO of AMC and governor of Michigan? (And Mark Thoma remembered how Mitt and Ann didn’t have to work because of stock from Mitt’s father.)

Then there’s the campaign’s response:

Gail Gitcho, the communications director for Mr. Romney, said in a statement that Mr. Romney is “concerned about the growing number of people who are dependent on the federal government, including the record number of people who are on food stamps, nearly one in six Americans in poverty, and the 23 million Americans who are struggling to find work.”

Um, Gail, the people on food stamps, in poverty, and struggling to find work are precisely the people who don’t pay income taxes—about whom your candidate said, “my job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

Some people are thinking (hoping) that this means the end of the Romney candidacy. I’m not so sure. Remember George W. Bush addressing a group of the “haves and have-mores” and saying, “you are my base”? Didn’t seem to hurt him. Still, there is—or should be—a difference between making a joke about your rich friends and insulting half of the electorate.

This post was originally published at The Baseline Scenario and is reproduced here with permission.

5 Responses to "The Gift That Keeps on Giving"

  1. Michael Caulfield   September 19, 2012 at 4:32 am

    A healthy economy can't result from taking money from job-creators and giving it to the jobless. Instead, we need to create an economy where jobs are plentiful and the people who are not paying income tax now find work and resume contributing. Only this will get us out of the black hole the Socialists in both parties have gotten us in. The alternative is to head down an even worse road than Greece.

  2. benleet   September 19, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Government assistance reduces the poverty level from around 28% to 15% or 16%, and that's bad? The U.S. economy had 150 million workers in 2010, 75 million had incomes below $26,363 and their collective average income was below $11,000 for 2010 according to the Social Security Administration report on wage income. Romney and his crowd complain, but they miss the problem. The lower-earning half's wage income amounts to only 7% of total personal income. Private sector hiring stands where it was 12 years ago, 2000, at 111 million. There have been on net no new jobs from private enterprise despite the fact that the working age population has grown by 31 million or 14.6%. This is a failure of capitalism not of the humans who are victims of capitalism. We can reform capitalism, we've been reforming it for centuries. The Right is on on the Wrong side of history., my blog

    • M Caulfield   September 20, 2012 at 6:17 am

      We have moved away from capitalism to socialism. That's why the manufacturing jobs have moved abroad. Many unions in the "rust belt" states would rather shut down whole industries by demanding ridiculously high wages than keep jobs in this country. Let's face it, when it's cheaper to build and transport something here from all the way around the world than it is to deal with the unions, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the union workers will end up punching a time card at a low-paying service job. Socialists governments are under the mistaken notion that you can create jobs by forcibly seizing money from the private sector, but 9 times out of ten the pubic sector is wasteful and efficient with the income they redistributed (while taking their huge cut, of course). Trickle-down, supply side economics under Reagan worked. Trickle-down tyranny under Obama and Carter didn't work. The best thing for this nation's future is to take away voting rights to those who are on public aid. Otherwise, this nation faces continued destruction and death just like all the other socialist nations.

      • lydiardave   September 27, 2012 at 11:08 am

        No the jobs left because the Chinese, etc. have been doing capitalism better than we have. Adam Smith was very concerned about the morals of unfettered capitalism because the incentive is to maximize profit no matter what the societal cost.
        I love the selective use of political history – Why no mention of George W? How well did his tax cuts and unfettered capitalism work for us? Why no mention of Clinton? Higher taxes, better economy.

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