What Romney video, you who do not spend 18 hours a day watching the never-ending journalistic beclownment that is the political news cycle may ask? Well, let me tell you. Back, in May, a couple of weeks before Mitt Romney clinched the Republican nomination, he held a fundraiser hosted by a hedge fund manager (Yes, I know, Democrats. Boo! We hate those hedge fund managers, well, except for George Soros who has funded the Democratic new media machine almost entirely by himself). During that fundraiser, he took a few questions and gave some off-the-cuff answers. Again, yes. I know. Mitt Romney and “off-the-cuff answers” go together about as well as Barack Obama and “taking any questions at all at a press conference”. Sometimes people do things you don’t expect, though. I don’t mean the President here either. He’s as likely to subject himself to the gentle kitty paw questions of the MSM as Fonzie was eager to admit he was wr-wr-wr…wr-wr-wr…wr-wr-wr.
Back to Mitt. The Q&A didn’t turn out as well as he had hoped. Someone at the fundraiser was rolling tape (It wasn’t James O’Keefe. You can tell b/c the MSM used the recording and didn’t whine about editing or unfair covert sting tactics) and, as happens in an election year, that tape found its way into the hands of a media outlet friendly to President Obama. Wait, I should narrow that down a bit, shouldn’t I? The recording went to Mother Jones magazine, which put a few bits into a blog post. Here is the most “damning” section.
“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,” the former Massachusetts governor can be heard saying.
“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,” he continued, adding “so our message of low taxes doesn’t connect.”
“[M]y job is, is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Oh, ouch. You just know the lickspittle media crew grabbed right on to that “not to worry” part and the “believe they are victims” part. And if you stacked all the
journalists Democratic operatives who will leap out bravely today to debunk that 47 percent number end to end, you’d have a continuing line of partisan hackery that would rival the Tower of Babel in both height and overweening arrogance. Take for instance, the Venn Diagram Expert Ezra Klein, who already jumped out to explain that Mitt Romney is an awful, awful man who hates your Grandma, Republicans are horrid hypocrites, and all of them should probably die in a fire. Never mind that one of his points is on a subject — payroll taxes — about which Mitt Romney said not a word. Never mind that his charge of hypocrisy omits the fact that the tax cuts he blames on Republicans weren’t passed only by Republicans.
IN 1986, the year of Reagan’s tax reform, Democrats held the House with a commanding majority. Republicans held the majority in the Senate by 3 votes. From 2001-2003, the years of the Bush tax cuts, the Senate was split 50-50 (remember Jim Jeffords, who went with the Democrats to make that happen?) and the Republicans held the House by only 9 votes. That chart was a team effort.
However, there is something I want you to note. See the part of the chart in the mid-1990s when the lines stayed mostly flat and even went down a bit? Republican House. Speaker Newt Gingrich. Conservative revolution. And Republicans held the Senate as well, by as much as 55-45 for about half the decade. They handled the business, Bill Clinton signed the bills, and look how nicely things worked out.
But, really, Klein isn’t the object of this post, no matter how much I enjoy taking pokes as his hackery. Mitt Romney is the subject of this post and, as it happens, he wasn’t very far from being spot-on.
In 2010, almost half of the households in this country got a check from the government. If you toss out Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment, that number only drops to about a third. Also in 2010, over 18% of all income in America came from government entitlement programs while wages accounted for the lowest percentage of all income since the Great Depression. That number has almost certainly gone up as the Democrats have pushed for more and more government spending. We do know there are more households on foodstamps than at any point in our history. I don’t doubt that other government entitlement programs will have broken, or be close to, records.
Coincidentally, or not, roughly 35% of Americans believe success is “pretty much determined by forces outside our control” and “hard work offers little guarantee of success” according to the Pew Research Center. Those numbers have not changed much since 1987, the first year the survey covered. It’s tough to say whether the attitude preceded the government handouts or the handouts mired so many people in misery and failure that the attitude has become a permanent feature of our nation, but regardless of which is true, it’s hard to say that Mitt Romney’s “gaffe” didn’t reflect a huge chunk of reality.
Admittedly, that chunk of reality doesn’t quite get to 47%, but it’s not far from it. We’ll get closer when we look at another part of that survey that measures Americans’ attitude toward government. According to Pew, plenty of Americans do believe government ought to take care of them. When asked what government should to to take care of people, 78% of Democrats, 58% of Independents, and 36% percent of Republicans agreed that “government should guarantee every citizen enough to eat and a place to sleep”. Almost 40% of those polled were not concerned about government’s involvement in health care, even after the early failures of Obamacare. It’s not hard to imagine an America where a sizable amount of the population “believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it”. Sure, we’re not quite to that 47%, but we are close enough we could hit it with a rock and not strain our shoulder on the toss.
For Mitt’s part, he called a press conference last night in which he correctly said his answer was “not elegantly stated” but also correctly noted that he was, by and large, right. Our government is far too large and tilts farther toward fiscal collapse every day. There are far too many people taking from the government and far too few people throwing off the entitlement shackles and pursing their happiness. Remember, folks, we could take every penny from every billionaire in America and not get anywhere close to covering the cost of our federal government for one year. Heck, that won’t even get us halfway there. The answer to our problems is not taking more from “millionaires and billionaires”. Math doesn’t work that way. If we’re going to keep America growing, grand, and generous, we’re all going to have to get it in our heads that progressive unicorn dreams of a happy utopia are for losers. Mitt Romney knows that and so, I suspect, does most of America.
UPDATE: This is an award I would accept gladly. Thanks, Stacy!