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***