Many of you probably heard the comment by Mitt Romney that came out yesterday in the form of a recording from a private fundraiser:
“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. … My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” -Mitt Romney, in leaked comments from a fundraiser in May 2012 source
I’m going to try my best not to start raging about this and discuss it in a fair and balanced way, but I’m going to be honest right off the bat, this comment infuriates me, even more than some of the other things he’s said over the past few months that make me want to toss his PR people a roll of duct tape. Including the one about how college students should “shop around” to find the cheapest college they can afford or “borrow money from their parents”, as if everyone’s parents has the money to send them to college. Hmm.
This comment, however, made me quite angry.
I’ve been researching who exactly this “47%” that Romney is referring to, which according to several sources, is actually 46%. This percentage of people is made up of the elderly (who are likely on Social Security benefits, which are money they have already been taxed on, I’d like to point out), people who don’t make enough money to incur a tax liability, students in college who aren’t working, people on disability (which includes disabled veterans), people who reap the benefits of government programs such as welfare/food stamps, and a small amount of very wealthy people who have tax deductions, etc. that allow them to pay little to no taxes.
It is rather dense of Mr. Romney to assume that these 47% of people don’t pay taxes because they’re lazy freeloaders, especially when a good amount of them are likely his own supporters. Anyone would be offended by someone implying that they are a lazy freeloader, especially when they aren’t one. And especially when that person is running to be the leader of our country.
As you know, when I first graduated from college, I was unemployed from June to November, when I landed a job at JCPenney. With the amount of hours I had and the amount of hours I could pick up from other people, I had nowhere near the amount of money to be able to pay my loans, car insurance, and gas, much less rent, groceries, etc. If I hadn’t been lucky to have the amazing parents, family and support system I have, I could have been anywhere from homeless to on food stamps. This doesn’t make me a freeloader, it simply means that I graduated from college in an economy that was struggling. Now, I am able to pay for my own bills, and have taken on the responsibility of almost everything that I own and that I use. I am incredibly glad that I still have health insurance with my mom’s job, which covers much more than the plan I would be able to get through my workplace, not to mention I am not eligible because I am not yet full-time. However, eventually I will take over this expense as well. Living in the area that I do, cost of living on top of my bills is an extraordinary amount. But I deal with it and work hard to get the money I need to take care of myself. I find it hard to believe that there are many Americans that don’t want to be independent and want to mooch off of government assistance. The fact is that we are a first-world country that should be able to provide for something as basic as unemployment, food stamps, etc. that help someone get back on their feet when life inevitably knocks them down. Healthcare should be provided, period, through employers at reasonable rates, which is what the Affordable Care Act did.
Another example is my dad. He worked for the same employer for 20 years, sustained a back injury that persisted through a percentage of disability for most of his career. After he finally received the surgery to relieve his back pain and restore function just a couple of years ago, he was off work for a year before going back on modified duty. He was not incapable of doing his job and did exactly what his workplace wanted him to do within his medical limits. Two years ago, he received a letter saying that they could no longer accommodate his restrictions and would either put him in a job that paid less than what he was making (even with his seniority and excellent work record) or retire out nearly 10 years early. He opted to take his retirement in hopes that it would be a better option for keeping our family financially secure. This happened right before my senior year of college, and the financial implications were a little scary. However, we made it through, despite the fact that my dad can’t have his retirement until he is of retirement age, it seems that my family was penalized for his early retirement although it was not a retirement that was entirely of his own choice, and had to pay more taxes. My dad is one of the many retired people in this country…would you consider them freeloaders?
Ultimately, I don’t think that someone who seems to care so little about the American people should be at the helm of our country. I don’t believe that President Obama wants our country to be dependent on government. I think he wants us to have the opportunities that we need to be independent and take care of ourselves, and to have a fair opportunity and do our fair share. With the amount of prosperity that the United States has compared to other countries, we should be able to do at least that much.
Romney’s comment alienated a large portion of the country, and added it to his list of blunders throughout this campaign and even during his candidacy campaign. What do you think about this comment that surfaced? Are you part of the “47%” or know someone who is? What is your reaction to it? I am open to discussion even if you disagree with me.