Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rich words from an unemployed man

The recently unearthed video of Mitt Romney dismissing nearly half of Americans as freeloaders interests me for numerous reasons. Not so much for how bad it makes him look (because he's been in that territory long enough for statehood by now), but for how devoted one man and one party can be to an odd talking point.

Both Republicans and Democrats often repeat themselves incessantly, which is why I'm grateful that Facebook has a feature that lumps common posts together (such as, "Jim J. James and 12 other friends posted about Mitt Romney") so I can open or close it by choice. The best of these are perspectives on a news story; the worst are when people (usually conservatives) begin spouting off some seemingly random talking point like a chorus.

Lately, even before the above video surfaced, I've been treated to a fresh round of anti-tax rhetoric by the usual Facebook suspects (not to mention everywhere else). Specifically, that income tax is the primary barometer of personal responsibility.

This is both wrong and stupid.

Wrong because while everyone might not pay income taxes, everyone does pay sales taxes. The main reason people don't pay income taxes is because 1) they lived on fixed income such as Social Security or 2) they don't earn enough money to do so. And if you're living on a four-digit income, sales tax feels like a bone-marrow donation. (To say nothing of payroll taxes that are capped and thus disproportionally eat up meager paychecks.) Also, there's a difference between 47 percent of the work force and 47 percent of all Americans Mitt fails to make that's kind of important here.

Stupid because the real "freeloaders" on income tax are wealthy evaders and corporations with deep-pocketed accountants — in other words, Romney's favorite people (and "people"). Pretty much the only group he hasn't yet completely alienated (aside from those whose whiteness guarantees their vote). For someone so apparently concerned about how many people he needs to win over to be president, Romney sure has no problem writing off half of Americans. His tactic of dismissing the 47 percent to gain 10 percent of the independent vote is true one-percenter thinking.

I'd say this is why Romney has a 1 percent chance of being president, but I'm not sure it's even that high anymore.

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