“Mitt Romney and the 47%” – It’s true; so what?

Several years ago, my favorite pundit to read was Doctor Zero, who was commonly promoted from the Green Room page on HotAir.com up to the site’s main page. He was witty and well-read, entertaining and provocative. Eventually, he got a regular writing gig over at Human Events under his real name, John Hayward.

Hayward has a column today that touches on the brouhaha over Mitt Romney’s recently come-to-light remarks about the 47% of Americans who are in the tank for Obama due to their receiving government entitlements and/or not paying any income tax. The statement is unremarkable in that it has been said hundreds of times across the blogosphere for years now. The Media, of course, is treating this as the worst statement in rhetorical history.

Hyperbole, thy name is today’s media.

I’m going to include a small section of Hayward’s column here, but will request that you go over to Human Events and read the whole thing. You’re going to hear about it from the press, repeatedly, in their normal hyper-distorted fashion.

Because Romney is right, and the press just can’t have that be the case.


Mitt Romney and the 47 Percent — By John Hayward

…As for what Romney actually said, his analysis of political reality is right on the nose – uncomfortably so, which is one reason we’re hearing all this “darkest hour” stuff.  It has often been reported that the population of truly uncommitted voters is exceptionally small during this election.  In essence, we’re watching the same media figures who have spent months telling us Obama’s base is locked in at 47 percent howl in outrage because Mitt Romney just said …Obama’s base is locked in at 47 percent.

Of course, what makes this a four-alarm media fire is Romney’s reason for the loyalty of the left-wing base: they don’t pay income taxes, so they’re not personally excited about tax-cut proposals, and it’s easy to get them worked up by attacking all efforts to reform America’s job-killing tax regime as “tax cuts for the rich.”  This is another on-the-nose observation that the media could probably find tape of Obama or his top advisors making, if they were interested in looking.

Granted, there are various ways for people to reach zero income tax liability, and those people pay plenty of other taxes, but wandering off on such tangents misses the point of Romney’s remark – it was, explicitly, a political analysis, not an economic policy discussion.  Much of the tax burden carried by people who don’t pay income taxes is invisible, by design.

They don’t know about the layers of corporate tax built into the price of every product they buy, or the cost of regulations and mandates, which are taxes by other names.  Most working people don’t even think about the taxes withheld from their paychecks, which is one of the reasons America’s income tax slid smoothly and quickly from a small levy on the super-rich to a titanic growth-crushing burden that devours millions of hours of productivity just for compliance… and still doesn’t harvest enough loot to cover Washington’s extravagant spending.  A large volume of people in this country see themselves exactly the way Romney described them: they don’t think they’re paying much in the way of income taxes, so opposing tax cuts for other people is their default position.

We live in a “progressive” world where an increasingly small percentage of Americans pay most of the burden of government… and they are routinely excoriated for their reluctance to pay even more.  Dependency on government really is creeping further into the “middle class,” as part of a long-term strategy to make them vote exactly the way Romney described them.  And everyone is paying a truckload of taxes they can’t even see, making the perception of “progressive” taxation and benefits even more powerful than the mathematical reality.

If any of that bothers you, you absolutely must vote for Mitt Romney in 2012.  If none of it troubles you, there’s little chance you were going to vote for him anyway.  It really shouldn’t bother anyone to hear him offer confirmation that he understands this.  The American electorate is not well-served by moving an increasing volume of our political discussion off-limits.  Making everyone afraid to discuss such a wide range of subjects increases the sense that we’re locked on cruise control as we approach the edge of the fiscal cliff.


***Read Hayward’s entire post HERE***

6 responses to ““Mitt Romney and the 47%” – It’s true; so what?

  1. We took in 1.1 trillion in federal income taxes in 2010, we have about 140,000,000 million people of working age. The Average’s to around $7900 per person, Romney paid for over 400 people with his taxes alone. How much more fair do they need?

  2. Romney is in a rather precarious position when he talks about who pays taxes. Could he be among those who don’t pay? How can we know, since he refuses to reveal how much he has paid in the last few years.
    Is Romney among that 47% who pay little or no tax?

    • First of all, welcome to our blog, Helen!
      We’re both glad to have you here, and hope you stop back soon.
      As you might guess, I disagree with even your implication on Romney.
      However, I don’t wish to be dismissive, so I’ll interpret your comment above as a serious query and answer accordingly.

      Considering that Romney released his last two years of records, as he’s required, I don’t even fathom your statement.
      Why do you want more? Romney was running for Prez 4 years ago, too. Is it your contention that he wasn’t paying taxes two years prior to 2008, as well? Or worse, that he is inexplicably running for office AND cheating on his taxes, expecting to not get caught by the IRS (remember those guys?), the media, AND the DNC Oppo Research teams?
      If Romney was a Democrat, MAYBE he could get away with it (e.g. Charlie Rangel, Timmy Geithner, etc.,,).
      But as a REPUBLICAN?
      No way, …and everyone knows it.

      The man is rich, not stupid.

      What rate HAS he paid? Well, let’s see: I’ve had the opportunity in my professional life to have as clients some very wealthy individuals. I personally guarantee that none of them, whether liberal/conservative/whatever.,., paid a single dime more in taxes than they had to. So, my guess is, Romney paid exactly as much as he had to…and that’s it.
      Given the Labyrinthine nature of our current tax code, when you have oodles more $$$$$, you can afford substantially better tax attorneys who are very, very good at figuring out ways for you to pay less in taxes, legally. It’s why they have jobs, after all.

      As an example, remember that in 2010, General Electric paid NO taxes.
      Not. A. Dime.
      From abcnews.com:
      “The company, led by Immelt, earned $14.2 BILLION in profits in 2010, but it paid not a penny in taxes because the bulk of those profits, some $9 BILLION, were offshore.
      In fact, GE got a $3.2 BILLION tax benefit.”

      As another example, throughout the 1940s & 50s, the top marginal tax rate was around or above 90%; today it’s 35%. But the millionaires weren’t paying 90% of their incomes in taxes back then; they used the loopholes of the day to shelter/hide their money, ….just like we see today.
      Thus, the complications/loopholes of current tax law actually FAVOR the rich and punish the poor, who can’t afford such high-priced expertise.
      At this point, I’d hope it’s obvious that the answer is not to just “raise taxes on the wealthy”, either.

      This entire discussion over Romney’s taxes is, accidentally, an argument FOR a Flat or Fair tax.
      ***And, coincidentally, the Romney/Ryan ticket favors such a plan.
      Just sayin’….


  3. Flat tax? No, another stab into the backs of the poor.
    Let’s see if I can figure out how to quote you:

    Considering that Romney released his last two years of records, as he’s required, I don’t even fathom your statement.
    Why do you want more?

    When Sen. McCain ran for president, he released 20 years of tax returns

    When Sen. Robert Dole, R-Kan., ran in the 1996 election, he released 30 years of tax returns

    Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., releassed 20 years of returns when he ran in 2004

    Romney’s father, George Romney (who was born in Mexico, but no one made an issue of it — go figure) ran for president in 1968 and he released the previous 12. Bill Clinton in 1992, released 12 years.

    Many, many of the people who don’t pay taxes are millionaires, so why are we to believe that Romney is not among them? All we can know for sure is that he believes it is morally permissible to contribute as little as possible to the country he wants to lead, and that he will take advantage of loopholes not available to the masses in order to pay a much lower percentage than working Americans. A worthy leader? I think not.

    • Hi again, Helen!
      Sorry for not coming back here sooner, but it being a work week (and trying to squeeze blogging in somewhere, too), I’ve had my hands full.

      Anyway, first up:
      Quote, “Flat tax? No, another stab into the backs of the poor.”
      -I honestly don’t understand this statement.
      How would a flat tax be a “stab into the backs of the poor”? Would a flat tax somehow make them pay more?
      I suppose it would depend upon what the rate is, but that is different argument entirely. You seem to be saying that the CONCEPT affects the poor negatively, which…I confess I don’t follow.

      As I detailed above, the tax system as it stands currently is set up to punish those who cannot navigate its waters as well as others with high-priced accountants and tax attorneys. THIS disparity adversely affects the poor, and the middle class.
      Regardless of what we call such an alternative system (Flat; Fair; whatever), a simplification of the current tax structure is called for, to eliminate the loopholes which exist to benefit those who can afford to take advantage of them.

      The rest of your reply details other candidates who have released more tax records. Fine. That doesn’t answer the fact that Romney was releasing two years of records, and that there IS no set standard. He doesn’t need to release any, yet he said he’d release two. Dole released 30 years; Carter released 1.
      I don’t see the problem with either.

      Coincidentally, I see that today Romney released his records from last year, along with a summary of his records dating back to 1990, which was prepared by analysts at PricewaterhouseCoopers. It shows a man who was certainly paying the legal requirement, and in some cases more. In addition, he was donating a substantially larger portion to charity, last year that amount being roughly double of his taxes.

      Personally, I didn’t need to see them. I’m glad he released this info, since it neuters this entire argument, but I really didn’t care. With someone of Romney’s wealth, he had more than just one (or two) sets of eyes reviewing his forms at the IRS. Count on it. If there had been a problem in the last 20 years, it would have come out by now, especially since he’s run for President once before.

      My own concern is that our country is being reduced to a smoldering slag. Our economy is barley moribund, and our real unemployment rate (the U-6) has hovered in the mid-teens for the past three+ years. We have a disastrous energy policy, and our debt (an additional $5 Trillion in just the last 4 years) passed the “ridiculous” setting some time ago. Add in the pathetic situation in the Middle East, and it’s obvious that the man presently in charge shouldn’t be at the helm.
      Heck, he shouldn’t be allowed on the bridge.

      Feel free to peruse our blog; we’ve covered each of these topics, some of them several times.

      You seem to be passionate, and I’m quite glad to have you visit. I truly hope you will take the time to objectively review the two options which we have before us this year.

      Romney wasn’t my first choice for Prez; he wasn’t even my third.
      But the choice between him and President Obama is painfully stark.
      Obama has failed so completely, so spectacularly, both domestically and abroad, that a continuation of his policies should terrify all but the most hardcore liberals.

      I’m hoping that doesn’t include you.


  4. Since we’re on the topic of “releasing” stuff…..I’d like to ask why Obama REFUSES to release his college transcripts? By helenofmarlowe’s logic, the lack of doing such MUST mean that Obama is HIDING SOMETHING!

    Don’t the American people deserve to know? The only thing we know about Obama’s college years (since NO ONE seems to be able to find folks who actually WENT to school with him and can’t seem to recall this DYNAMIC, young, rising star) is what HE HIMSELF (a LOT of leeway being given here since it is HIS name attributed as author) said in his book, which came down to (paraphrased): the white kids had better dope.

    This whole tax argument is specious at best. Remember when Obama and other Dems kept touting the phrase: “Everybody needs to have some skin in the game”, implying fairness (my favorite STUPID word) among all?

    Well, what is “fair” about one person paying over $2 million in taxes while 47% are paying nothing? Don’t THEY enjoy the same freedoms, rights, protection, etc, as the 53% who DO pay taxes? Why shouldn’t THEY, the 47% have to have some “skin in the game”.

    C’mon, Helen…..you can do better than the argument you’re trying to present here. Get away from the Left’s talking points and do some actual research.

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