’47 percent’ may not matter much after allSeptember 20th, 2012 by Steven Gardner
Four years ago I relied much on the RealClearPolitics website to find a broad mix of stories related to the political noise of the day. Who knew that four years later the site would still be my most valued source on national issues at a time when hot sites become relics within weeks?
I found two pieces today that offer reasoned (a rare adjective these days) discussion on what Romney said. And to be clear, I believe what Romney described as “not elegantly stated” should more accurately be described as “as wrong calling a cat a fascist.” That is, the 47 percent he named, those who don’t pay income tax, are not all the “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 said, it has opened a conversation about the fact that 47 percent don’t pay federal income taxes. And that’s where Debra Saunders is taking us when she says,
“…the result is an America in which close to half of voters can support any scheme designed to expand the scope of federal government, secure in the knowledge that they likely will not have to pay for it.”
On the flip side, it is worth discovering why there is 47 percent not paying federal income taxes. It’s not just because of the snoozy economy. Steve Chapman, in an editorial that is (I’m warning you now.) highly critical of Romney and his statement, (The title, “Romney’s Dependancy Delusion” is a clue.) explains it this way, among others:
“Since 1990, the number of people getting Social Security benefits has risen by more than a third. That’s not because the government has suddenly enlarged the program in an effort to undermine self-reliance. It’s because there are more old people.”
RCP also links a Washington Post blog post by Aaron Blake, who says the gaffe probably won’t matter in November.
Which reminds me, the Atlantic Monthly has a graph showing historical evidence that Romney’s comment will have little impact on the election’s ultimate outcome.