By now Mitt Romney's comments about the 47% of Americans he says don't pay taxes are well known (at least they should be). As a window into the soul of a man who wants to represent all Americans, it's indeed a revelation. For the record, this is what he said, courtesy of Mother Jones Magazine and Website:
"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.
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."
Mind you, he uttered this doggerel in front of a bunch of fat cat donors, including his host Marc Leder, equity titan and party boy extraordinaire. One wonders what his straight laced Evangelical voting audience must think of parties featuring nudity, sex acts, and Russian dancers on platforms (or do they even know?).
All fluff aside, this about a presidential candidate who apparently has no clue that more than one in five of the 47% he spoke of are senior citizens! Fully half of those who pay no federal income taxes are too poor to reach the threshold necessary to have any tax liability. At the other end of the pay scale, there are millionaires who also pay no taxes. That's because they move their assets offshore, and take advantage of tax loopholes the rest of don't even know about.
But you see, that's exactly who Mittens was talking to. When he speaks of entitlements, he's not talking about people who run equity funds and foist pension costs of companies they devour on the government. Some of these clowns are entitled to do so, and they do. But that's not the 47% Mitt's talking about. One would think he'd be a little circumspect in talking about people who pay no taxes, when the American public knows little or nothing about the taxes he pays.
The most entertaining aspect of all this is watching conservative pundits and strategists trying to defend this guy. He wasn't even their first choice, and now they're trying to dig him out of a hole almost as deep as the one George W. Bush put this country in.
There are those who say this latest gaffe puts the nail in Mitt Romney's campaign coffin. I wouldn't want to bet the store on that, not yet, not this far out from November 6th.
What do you think?Mark Riley