You must have heard about all this by now – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's remarkably candid statements about his disdain for half the U.S. population:
On Monday, David Corn writing in Mother Jones released several clips from a recording of an hour-long, private fundraiser Romney held with a some fat-cat Florida donors in May. More clips followed on Tuesday, but that first video above is the most devastating – both for the country and (I do hope) for Romney too.
Here is a partial transcript of the clip:
“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. 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...
“These are people who pay no income tax...[M]y job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
What is shocking about Romney's comments is that they are not shocking. I suspect that everyone in the U.S. who is not a member of the rabid, far-right variety of Republican already knew this about him – that he disdains and scorns everyone who is not rich. We just didn't expect him to say it out loud so clearly.
Nevertheless, more elders support Mitt Romney's candidacy than any other single demographic. In the latest American Research Group poll, voters 50 and older prefer Romney to President Obama 52 percent to 43 percent.
Can that possibly continue after this contemptible and repugnant video? Romney's loathing for anyone he sees as below his station in life is disgustingly obvious not to mention – if I may steal a Republican trope – unAmerican.
Aside from that, Romney's numbers reveal that he has zero knowledge of the culture and circumstances of Americans who are not wealthy. Here is a tax graph of the U.S. population from the Tax Policy Center:
28.3 percent of taxpayers have enough deductions to zero out their federal tax obligation. But they still pay FICA and Medicare deductions which Romney, without a salary, does not.
6.0 percent earn too little - $20,000 or less - to pay income tax or payroll taxes.
That leaves the 10.3 percent of the U.S. population labeled “elderly” - the ones Time Goes By is concerned with – who pay no income tax nor payroll deductions but certainly have paid their share over a lifetime of employment.
“Most of the people who pay neither federal income tax nor payroll taxes are low-income people who are elderly, unable to work due to a serious disability, or students, most of whom subsequently become taxpayers.
"(In years like the last few, this group also includes a significant number of people who have been unemployed the entire year and cannot find work.)”
However, all the employed groups who pay no federal income tax usually pay state and local taxes and everyone, no matter how poor, pays sales tax. No one in these groups is shirking tax obligations.
Oh, wait. There is one group who is shirking. New York magazine enlightens us:
”...the most egregious members of the 47 percent are the 3,000 people who made more than $2,178,866 in 2011 (putting them in the top 0.1 percent of taxpayers), and yet paid no federal income taxes.”
Do you suppose Mr. Romney's contempt for people he thinks are freeloaders includes these 3,000? The ones who likely stash their cash in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens? Like Romney himself?
Now that I've done all this explanation of who doesn't pay taxes, I feel a little foolish because Romney's speech in Florida was not about facts and figures. It was the most elite put-down of the riff-raff since Marie Antoinette.
In practical terms, what it tells us is that the Republicans are running for president an amoral man of contemptible character who, if elected, will do everything he can to throw elders under the financial bus along with the rest of the 47 percent.
Are you ready for the work house?
Like I said above, I hope this Romney speech will waken his elder supporters to switch sides in disgust at his condescension toward them. But, probably not. Here is what infuriates me about my own age cohort – from a comment at firedoglake:
”My Mom is one. A 75 year old widow whose singular reason for voting for Romney is to get rid of Obamacare to save her medicare. That’s the simple truth and you will not change her mind. The mind control by Fox News is stunning.”
I have no doubt that is true and that millions of elders are equally uninformed, ignorant and closed-minded and that scares the bejesus out of me for the entire 99 percent of every age if Romney is elected.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Johna Ferguson: What is Age?