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The Story of Romney’s Career: “What I Said Is Not What I Believe”

Earlier today, Mitt Romney addressed his well-known 47% remarks and said this [1]:

What I said is not what I believe.

The funny thing about this quote is how often his defenders and supporters would use this same argument during the election to protect him against criticism. Romney supporters often relied on his record as a famously unprincipled political weather-vane to defend him against any substantive criticism of what he said during the campaign on the grounds that he didn’t or couldn’t “really” believe it. Since Romney couldn’t be trusted, it was taken for granted that he never said what he “really” believed, and Romney supporters tried to make a virtue of their candidate’s worst character flaw. This was very often used as a way to get around his awful foreign policy views, but it was hardly limited to foreign policy. If Romney said something awful, it could be written off as mere pandering (which was, of course, simply more proof that he had no political principles that could not be compromised), and if he said something mildly sensible this was supposedly the “real” Romney coming through at last.

Of course, it never mattered whether Romney “really” believed what he was saying, because it became clear years ago that he would have said almost anything to win. In that case, it was a good bet that Romney was always more likely to lie to his audience than not, and for that reason he disqualified himself through sheer, overwhelming dishonesty. When in doubt, it was safe to assume that Romney was lying, and it was usually safe to assume the worst about his intentions. If there was a chance that he might cave in to hard-liners and ideologues in his party, there was no reason to believe that he would ever stand up to them. When the 47% remarks came out, it didn’t matter whether he believed what he had said, because he had been willing to say it and he had done so because he was so desperate to appeal to the worst elements in his party. As it was, everyone assumed that he didn’t believe what he was saying, but we attributed it to his unprincipled willingness to pander, which simply made his awful statements seem that much worse.

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46 Comments To "The Story of Romney’s Career: “What I Said Is Not What I Believe”"

#1 Comment By Mia On March 3, 2013 @ 7:48 pm

He predictably blamed most of his losses on things he could not control (the media, Obama’s dishonesty according to Ann, etc.) and defended his actions on what he could control. I also find it ironic that he blamed Obama on his lack of leadership for his inability to strike a deal with Congress on a sequester. Romney would have given the farm to the House GOP. We may not have had a sequester, but we also wouldn’t have had a reauthorization of the VAWA Act, Hurricane Sandy relief, or any talk from the GOP about becoming a more diverse party. The Southern Strategy rightfully died a deserved death along with a Romney presidency.

#2 Comment By Ron Beasley On March 3, 2013 @ 8:43 pm

Exactly!!!!

#3 Comment By Annek On March 3, 2013 @ 9:04 pm

Mia, Your comments sound a little harsh. The media did hurt Romney’s campaign – a lot. How can you say they didn’t? The media have been very uncritical of Obama yet jumped on every little thing Romney might have stumbled on during his campaign.

#4 Comment By Noah172 On March 3, 2013 @ 9:40 pm

Of course Romney is “a famously unprincipled political weather-vane,” but in a few areas he was, contra that deserved image, distressingly consistent in both his presidential campaigns: aggression in foreign affairs, especially with regard to Israel; free trade; bailouts of Wall Street; and tax cuts for the rich. One can say that this was all pandering to the Republican donor and primary voter bases, and it was to a great extent, but I do not think that Romney’s views on these matters were insincere, considering his personal and professional background. These were areas where we could be reasonably sure of Romney’s “real” intentions — which is why I found his candidacy unworthy even of anybody-but-Obama support (I wrote in Ron Paul).

And c’mon, what kind of promotion of a candidate is “Don’t worry, he won’t actually do what he says he would do!”?

The Stupid Party earns its name once again.

#5 Comment By Glaivester On March 3, 2013 @ 9:41 pm

We may not have had a sequester, but we also wouldn’t have had… any talk from the GOP about becoming a more diverse party.

They’ve been talking about becoming a more diverse party for years. And if you mean that with Romney at the helm we would not have GOPers attempting an amnesty sell-out, please. That happened several times in the 00s, most notably in 2007. Rich elites like Sheldon Adelson want cheap labor.

And if “talk from the GOP about becoming a more diverse party” were really true, that would be a reason why Romney should have been elected, as what “talk about becoming more diverse” really means is creating a racial spoils system, and trying to stoke hatred of white people as the left does.

#6 Comment By Glaivester On March 3, 2013 @ 9:44 pm

Of course, it never mattered whether Romney “really” believed what he was saying, because it became clear years ago that he would have said almost anything to win.

No, he would have said anything not to offend the elites who fund the GOP. There were a lot of things that he could have said regarding Ben-Ghazi, immigration restriction, etc., that would have netted him votes that he either did not say or gave only a perfunctory mention of.

That’s not to say that he put character or some other virtue ahead of winning, but winning was clearly not his highest goal or he would have fought harder and not restricted himself mostly to “boy the economy sure is bad.”

#7 Comment By sglover On March 3, 2013 @ 9:57 pm

“That’s not to say that he put character or some other virtue ahead of winning, but winning was clearly not his highest goal or he would have fought harder and not restricted himself mostly to “boy the economy sure is bad.””

The guy put himself through the mill of a presidential election twice. He’s loaded; he didn’t need to do it to cultivate the PR to book more silly “lecture” appearances. I’d say Romney wanted the job.

Unfortunately for him, his only avenue for doing that was enrolling in the traveling nutcase outpatient session that the Republican primary circuit has become. You simply can’t “succeed” in that world without making public statements that are hilariously insane, and make wonderful fodder for your opponent in a general election.

#8 Comment By Skipjack On March 3, 2013 @ 11:31 pm

Glaivester, if you are going to accuse the “left” of fomenting hatred of white people, cite some examples. Just two would impress me.

#9 Comment By Fran Macadam On March 4, 2013 @ 3:21 am

Given his life’s trajectory, his 47% remarks were, for once, entirely believable. He made them at a supposedly off-the-record gathering of the like-minded, who were part and parcel of the Bain Capital financialization elites, among whom he made his own killing. It was as close to sincerity as Mitt was ever likely to get, candor among cronies.

#10 Comment By ArborJack On March 4, 2013 @ 7:36 am

Both his father George and mother Lenore were popular Republicans in Michigan. Look at their history and that of their son Mitt, it’s hard to believe he didn’t know what he was doing or what the implications were.

Venturing a guess, it looks like the Republican Party has changed and that the Party no longer has credible candidates (or any truly interested in following the Party Line). From various accounts, it seems the Republican Party has been taken over by energetic right wing fanatics.

Looking at the history of the party itself, a brutally honest assessment is that this party has always been the party made to represent the primary interests of wealthy Old Time Conservatives. The high water mark was when J.P. Morgan called together other wealthy men and declared, “Gentlemen, we have to buy our own president.” They thought they had their man in McKinley but he was assassinated, leaving them with more democratic, popular and dynamic T. Roosevelt by accident. They didn’t like Teddy at all, so the Party withdrew its support and ejected him.

I think the Democrats would have ejected him too, even if the situation arose today. That’s because the Democrats and the Republicans both have become propaganda machines for ideologies and both ideologies are dishonest and produce injustices peculiar to themselves. T. Roosevelt’s ideology was justice for all (the Square Deal) and neither ideology will tolerate either honesty or justice for all.
Like Barack Obama, Mitt Romney is simply the guy who best sells the ideology of their own party. Obama just wanted the presidency more than Romney.

#11 Comment By collin On March 4, 2013 @ 8:19 am

And I thought the SNL skit of the ‘new’ Obama telling people how bad things are and his (Romeny saying something stupid) secret weapon was the most succint 2012 election analysis.

Now Romney wraps it up in one line.

CR

#12 Comment By icarusr On March 4, 2013 @ 9:26 am

I agree with Fran. The irony – if that is the right word – is that the 47% and the “gifts” comments were probably the only things he said that he truly meant. Well, those and related comments – Anne drives a couple of Cadillacs, my friends own NASCAR and NFL teams, etc.

If you want to know how right Larison is, read Frum on Romney before and after the elections. Frum prides himself on being an apostate and, other than on Israel and invading other countries, he is trying his best to reform the GOP. (He is still unrepentant about Iraq and “axis of evil”, and so I can’t take him seriously; and on Romney he was no better than any other GOP hack.) He identified Romney’s, er, strength early on. On tax reform, and the economic plan generally, Frum said expressly that Romney cannot be as stupid as all that – he was successful in business, decent man, blah blah – so the only explanation for a disastrous economic policy was – wait for it – that Romney was cynical. The same with the Russia comments. And so on.

The support of the diminishingly small sane wing of the Republican Party for Romney was based entirely on the presupposition that he can’t possibly mean the stupid things he says, and I suspect they were right. Except, of course, for the 47% comment. But the bigger point remains. A man who so easily lies – the first and the third debates were breath-taking, so were his lies about Chrysler, about the “apology tour”, about Benghazi – apparently without any compunctions (at the time) and quite evidently without any remorse (now), is not fit to be President.

#13 Comment By sal magundi On March 4, 2013 @ 9:41 am

can Annek above give examples of his/her claims?

#14 Comment By Alan On March 4, 2013 @ 9:56 am

What’s funny is that in the same interview Romney blamed his loss on the fact that Obama “bought off” the 47% with his healthcare improvements. Which, in turn, were modeled after Romney’s health care improvements. So it’s really a layer cake made of of lies sandwiched between an astounding lack of self-awareness.

#15 Comment By MBunge On March 4, 2013 @ 10:20 am

It’s folly to pay any attention to Romney on politics because the man is a terrible politician. His one win in Massachusetts sure seems like it owed more to people just getting sick of Democrats running the state than to anything about Romney. His performances as a candidate in both 2008 and 2012 were just a half-step above pathetic. Where would Romney have been if he hadn’t been able to outspend his opponents in negative ads by 10 to 1 or more?

Mike

#16 Comment By icarusr On March 4, 2013 @ 11:09 am

“The media have been very uncritical of Obama”

In a world where the “media” continue to report on such momentous scandals as Obama’s birthplace, where both Solyndra and Benghazi are spun and turned into dark conspiracies, where every utterance of a war-criminal former Vice President against the sitting President is repeated ad nauseum, where a major cable outlet is a veritable anti-Obama propaganda machine – such that even Gingrich is complaining about the echo chamber – to argue that “The media have been very uncritical of Obama” is to live in a parallel universe – in the echo chamber, to be precise.

#17 Comment By EliteCommInc. On March 4, 2013 @ 11:44 am

I have no idea where most of this is coming from. I think now, what I thought then. Mitt Romney is a decent man whose life, intelligence, an intent was but to serve his fellow citizens. I don’t he is evil or hav evil intent. I think he was wrong about Iraq. Israel, must adjust to some non cold war realities and modify her behavior towards palestinians. Franlky, I think he was just the man we needed for these times. The healthcare issue was problematic, unless you understand that it was a state program, wholly unsuited as a program for national implementation, but making those fine distinctions in the poltically rhetorical charged climate would have required a much more astute staff.

Attempting to turn his 47% comment into anything more than a man chit chatting with his supporters was just an opportunists trick. I have no doubt nearly politician caught in circle of friends converstion would be given the boot if everyword would become public. And the subsequent response given the frame would have been hard to pull off, if you are a prudent person. He certainly could have said, “Absolutely, I think that americans have been so frightened by the economic collapse, healthcare debacles, employment woes, corporate bail outs, that many may feel that have no choice but to rely on goivernment welfare. I hope they prove me wrong. I hope that 47% of the our citizens aren’t pinning their futures on government for a living. I certainly don’t believe 47% want that. I think they want something better. I think they want growing economy. I think they want affordable healthcare, under their control not uncle sam’s. I believe that all citizens are disappointed in our financial sector’s management of our sysytem. Well, if they aren’t being bought. If that not what they want — I am you’re alternative.”

(Laughing) But that’s me, and months later. I don’t think he had critical support on the inside. And they were not as tough as I once belived they were. I think that Mitt Romney would have made a fine President, and I have little doubt that even the 47% would have been pleasantly (if begrudgingly) surprised by his leadership, management and humanity.

#18 Comment By MBunge On March 4, 2013 @ 11:51 am

“Mitt Romney is a decent man whose life, intelligence, an intent was but to serve his fellow citizens.”

Mitt’s understanding of “serving his fellow citizens” was a little too close to a feudal lord’s understanding of his responsibilities to his serfs.

Mike

#19 Comment By EngineerScotty On March 4, 2013 @ 12:00 pm

The only way Romney was interested in serving his fellow citizens, was on a silver platter, with an apple in their mouth.

#20 Comment By cfountain72 On March 4, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

EliteCommInc.

Here’s a taste of where it’s coming from. As an individual citizen, I am certain he has been charitable. However, his lack of public spine and principle is well documented by Mr. Larison, going back to 2008…

[2]

Peace be with you.

#21 Comment By icarusr On March 4, 2013 @ 12:42 pm

“I hope that 47% of the our citizens aren’t pinning their futures on government for a living.”

You do realise that the problem with the 47% comment was, first and foremost, that it is wildly inaccurate, bordering on a lie, and that this was demonstrated not by liberals, but by conservatives, and not in the MSM, but in conservative journals; that the very basis of the erroneous comment – let’s be charitable – is conservative tax reduction policies over the past three decades; and that he repeated a variation of the moocher lie – it became a lie when he was corrected and continued to assert it – to his supporters, in signficantly viler (“gifts”) terms, and then again, in absurdly clueless fashion, in the Fox interview (“people who don’t have healthcare”)?

47% refers to people who do not pay federal income tax, and includes people who pay social security contributions, which are regressive; it includes people who would pay federal income tax but for Republican policies on tax credits for earned income by low-income families and for children; it includes – nearly half – seniors who make too little to tax. Aside from certain deluded conservative-voting senile old biddies (Take your Government Hands Off My Medicare) – probably one half of one half of the 47% – and an insignificant minority (not more than 5% of the total US population), the 47% do not “pin” their futures on the government – they just ask that the political, economic and financial system not be rigged against them.

For the sake of Romney, if for no other reason, you might well wish to stop defending that clueless self-entitled oik.
And I suggest you keep away from speaking points – you managed to sound even more clueless than Romney.

#22 Comment By HyperIon On March 4, 2013 @ 1:01 pm

Annek says: “The media did hurt Romney’s campaign – a lot.”

Because they faithfully transcribed what he said?

#23 Comment By collin On March 4, 2013 @ 1:01 pm

I thought Mitt Romney was a better candidate for Rs than they gave him credit for. However, I always thought he reminded everybody too much of their company CEO and have some problems of telling his story without the threat of a paycheck on the other end. A CEO has to tell their employees a good story but they don’t have to prove they care about them. Secondly, a CEO tends to be good a shaping the story for their audience. So Romney in front of other CEO will tell them that Americans don’t appreciate how they have it while telling coal workers a different story.

#24 Comment By Rob in CT On March 4, 2013 @ 1:54 pm

It was obvious early on that the intelligent Romney supporters figured he was BSing whenever he said something that fired up “The Base.” I heard it around the office too – it was a common defense mechanism for New England Republicans/leaners.

For obvious reasons, it’s not a very good defense.

And the 47% thing was just a total mess (fundamentally dishonest is just the first problem). It’s also Base orthodoxy. I know this, because I have Republican family members who totally believe it. Half the country doesn’t pay taxes… I’ve had that conversation with my own mother repeatedly. Pointing out the factual issues with it (income taxes only, the role played by the EITC, etc) has zero effect. Why? Because it’s about giving a group of people an excuse to look down on others (it’s a bit like educated liberals going on and on about rednecks). Don’t confuse them with the facts – the emotional payoff is just too sweet.

#25 Comment By JohnE_o On March 4, 2013 @ 2:12 pm

As it was, everyone assumed that he didn’t believe what he was saying, but we attributed it to his unprincipled willingness to pander, which simply made his awful statements seem that much worse.

I assumed he believed what he was saying – sounds like just the sort of thing I’d expect extremely rich guys to say amongst themselves in a private room.

#26 Comment By EliteCommInc. On March 4, 2013 @ 2:27 pm

Well Mike, you’ll need a bit of supporting data before I would even consider the notion.

cfountain,

Most Americans, criticize France. And the idea that there are those who want to model our entitlements after the programs which are available in France is not unique nor out of bounds.

The Europeanization of the US contention is not unique to Candidate Romeny. Now, I am going to read through each of Mr. Larison’s articles, but with rare exception, I doubt one would uncover that Mitt Romney is untruthful. A campaign staff who’s advice he shopuld have ignored — I agree. Several errors in rhetoric and position sure. That his wealth may reflect a someone who needed to do more homework – sure. I reminded of Pres. George Bush’s handling a a question about the price of bred . . . it was a simple question, that was poorly handled. And that made him appear out of touch.

But I will respond as I read through the suggested material.

#27 Comment By EliteCommInc. On March 4, 2013 @ 2:30 pm

. . . as for peace, Whenever I hear that comment I am reminded of this scripture . . .

” . . . beware when they coming crying peace peace . . . when there is no peace.”

and there is no peace.

#28 Comment By sglover On March 4, 2013 @ 2:49 pm

” I think that Mitt Romney would have made a fine President”

Even if you gave Romney every conceivable benefit of the doubt, you’d still be left with the fact that he included perennial self-parody John Bolton as one of his foreign policy advisors. You can’t take a clown like Bolton seriously and not be dangerous.

#29 Comment By Mia On March 4, 2013 @ 3:14 pm

“What I said is not what I believe.”

It wasn’t what he said that I question. It is what he kept hidden that was concerning and that lost him the election. Had it not been for a waiter and a hidden camera, this remark too would have been kept hidden. Nothing he volunteered to the public revealed anything about him. He only adopted what he thought people wanted him to be. He was merely a shell of a personality, constantly changing. There was something completely unsettling about him…like he was merely an actor in play. Unfortunately, this man represents much of the GOP. The GOP candidates who do possess a modicum of self awareness and conviction couldn’t win a one man GOP primary.

#30 Comment By MBunge On March 4, 2013 @ 3:27 pm

“I doubt one would uncover that Mitt Romney is untruthful.”

Were you in a coma during the 2012 campaign? This ahistorical approach to debate is one of the most infuriating tics of today’s conservatism.

Mike

#31 Comment By icarusr On March 4, 2013 @ 3:40 pm

Elite:

“Now, I am going to read through each of Mr. Larison’s articles, but with rare exception, I doubt one would uncover that Mitt Romney is untruthful. ”

Three minutes on google:

“Inevitably, the Romney campaign chose to use these attacks to make a hasty and stupid criticism last night, which represented the most tasteless political opportunism while also managing to misrepresent the administration’s response to the attacks.

“First, Obama didn’t respond to the attacks by apologizing for anything or sympathizing with the attackers, as Romney’s original statement charged, so it was blatantly false.”

“Steve Benen remarks on the central lie of the Romney campaign (via Andrew):

… Obviously, I agree with this, and I have been saying something similar about the “apology tour” and Romney’s part in perpetuating this lie for the last two years.

“He faced a backlash because of his deliberate decision to claim that an unauthorized statement that predated the embassy attack was the administration’s first response to the attack, and in addition to that he misrepresented that statement as showing sympathy for embassy attackers. … In other words, the episode reflected Romney’s capacity for dishonesty, opportunism, and foreign policy incompetence all rolled into one.

My suggestion to you is to stop defending Romney. He’s gone.

#32 Comment By EliteCommInc. On March 4, 2013 @ 4:02 pm

Mike, I have issues with the campaign, but if you have evidence of out and out fraud or untruthfulness, and I am going to couch untruthfulness with respect stating a known falsehood.

Now if you had said, his continued support for our Iraq invasion, I might agree, but veven there many people, including democrats will sy the same and do so genuinely.

#33 Comment By EliteCommInc. On March 4, 2013 @ 4:06 pm

My position on the 47% comment is known as being incorrect. But inaccurate, is not tantamount to a lie. But there were ways to manage it more effectively.

Now lest there be any confusion here. I am responding to the suggestion that Mitt Romney was a fraud and untruthful.

#34 Comment By EliteCommInc. On March 4, 2013 @ 4:14 pm

icarusr,

Well, I don’t know how you understand apologia rhetoric. It does not have to be a direct ‘mia culpa.’ But clearly the language and intent of the speeches was in effect to say, ‘excuse the past admin., I am going to do something different.’

Mitt Romney’s err, was not in calling a spade a spade, or that which looks, acts and sounds like a duck is i fact a duck. The error was in not holding the cyrrent wh occupant to his own hypocrisy — because his policies have been anything but different, in fact he has ridden the coat tails of the admin policies he criticized and addeda few of his own.

There was an apologia, even , if the language was not direct as in ‘ . . . we are sorry . . .’

Mitt Romney’s assessment is correct.

#35 Comment By EliteCommInc. On March 4, 2013 @ 4:18 pm

Well, my comments pertain soley to Mitt Romney, as for the staff, I have no views as to policy.

Here’s what I know, campaigns rarely reflect the realities of governance. My counter factual, is based on what I believe and think —-

I remain convinced that Mitt Romney would have governed quite well. Certainly more effectively that we have seen heretofore.

Excuse my grammatical errors if you can —

#36 Comment By EliteCommInc. On March 4, 2013 @ 4:47 pm

correction: I remain convinced that Mitt Romney would have governed quite well. Certainly more effectively than what we have seen of the current admin. heretofore .

#37 Comment By EliteCommInc. On March 4, 2013 @ 4:58 pm

Just a note,

I would venture into assumptions about what i mean. If it is unclear, or you think I am alluding to something, just ask me.

My position on the 47% was largely in response to how it was framed . . . one could have tackled it head on as opposed to attempts to mitigate it.

In short, 47% of the people get a return on tax such they pay no taxes at all . . . and that 47% are in the pocket of the democrats. A huge error in writing off half the population — but that the comments were made among people he thought were freindlies, maybe some frustration — whatever, not really an indication of a fraudulent individual or even an untruth. Given how it was couched he might have been better to have said something akin to my response — head on, a challenge.

#38 Comment By icarusr On March 4, 2013 @ 8:31 pm

“In short, 47% of the people get a return on tax such they pay no taxes at all”

This is manifestly false. 47% do not pay FEDERAL INCOME TAX; they pay all sorts of taxes.

“and that 47% are in the pocket of the democrats.”

The two groups are not the same. Conservative writers and analysts pointed out that many – if not most – people in the first group are not part of the alleged 47% who are in the pocket of the “democrats”.

“A huge error in writing off half the population”

Even if an error the first time, the second time it was not an “error”. It is a noxious mentality based on an oft-repeated lie.

#39 Comment By Annek On March 4, 2013 @ 10:49 pm

icarusr said:

“This is manifestly false. 47% do not pay FEDERAL INCOME TAX; they pay all sorts of taxes.”

Yes, but in a presidential election we’re talking about electing someone who has a say in how FEDERAL dollars are spent, and we have 47% of the people (close to a majority) having a huge say on how dollars that they do not pay into are spent.

Prior to the election, Obama campaigned on making contraception free to everyone, making student loans less expensive, Obamacare, and proably other things I don’t remember. It doesn’t seem farfetched to me to say he enticed these voters with federal dollars. Again, federal dollars 47% don’t contribute to.

#40 Comment By Annek On March 4, 2013 @ 11:01 pm

icarusr, regarding Benghazi as a dark conspiracy:

In the words of Pat Buchanan regarding Benghazi (The American Conservative’s founder):

“There was no protest. Was the video-protest line a cover story to conceal a horrible lapse of security before the attack and a failure to respond during the attack — resulting in the slaughter?

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has sent word she will not be testifying. And she will soon be stepping down. Petraeus is a no-show this week. He is gone. Holder is moving on, and so, too, is Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

President Nixon’s Attorneys General John Mitchell and Richard Kleindienst and his top aides Bob Haldeman and John Ehrlichman were all subpoenaed by the Watergate Committee and made to testify under oath about a bungled bugging at the DNC.

The Benghazi massacre is a far graver matter, and the country deserves answers. The country deserves the truth.”

#41 Comment By Glaivester On March 4, 2013 @ 11:23 pm

Skipjack:

Glaivester, if you are going to accuse the “left” of fomenting hatred of white people, cite some examples. Just two would impress me.

How about Tim Wise’s article about the end of the “ [3]

Yes, he claims it is not against white people in general, but the article pretty much says that whites are only acceptable if they hate their whiteness. He also seems to gloat at the idea of whites being a minority.

How about this from Eric Holder’s comments that we are “ [4]? Does anyone think that this means that he is interested in white concerns about black crime, etc., rather than that whites should listen and nod their heads at all black grievances?

How about the leftist slogan that “ [5]?” and in fact, the whole filed of [6]?

Yes, I know that “whiteness” theoretically is not about being white, but if I criticized “blackness,” identifying blackness with negative things stereotypically associated with black people, that I was not making a stealth attack on black people as a group?

#42 Comment By Fran Macadam On March 5, 2013 @ 2:34 am

“I hope that 47% of our citizens aren’t pinning their futures on government for a living.”

The speculative “commanding heights” of the financialized private economy (heavily codependent with political lackeys) sure aren’t interested in providing the 47% with a living wage – as the late Steve Jobs was courageous enough to say to the President, when no one else would, that the good jobs they have exported are never coming back.

Ronald Reagan, long ago, opined that American businessmen took seriously their responsibility to provide good paying jobs with benefits to the people of their communities. How quaint. Almost no one takes such a thing to be of any account whatsoever anymore, certainly not in the board rooms of the giant self-serving corporations who monopolize our economy. And as a national politician said recently, “It’s important to publicly look like you care” – even though you really don’t.

Reagan was right for a second time, posthumously – he didn’t leave the party, they left him.

#43 Comment By Rob in CT On March 5, 2013 @ 8:45 am

And Elite proves my point about the “47%” thing being base orthodoxy.

40-someodd percent (it fluctuates) of the population does not owe federal income tax. Most of them pay (or paid) FICA (anyone who works for a wage pays FICA), and various other taxes. Those who do not pay federal income tax include:

1) Retirees with relatively low incomes
2) The working poor, many of whom benefit from the EITC (a Republican idea from the 70s, since expanded).
3) The unemployed and/or disabled.
4) The few who make all their money in capital gains/carried interest.

There really isn’t more money to be found in there. What, you want to tax those people more? How, exactly, will that work out? They (categories 1-3) don’t have the money. I’d be happily to tax category 4 at higher rates, but there just aren’t very many of them.

I happen to think the ~47% thing actually is bad news, but not for the reason that many conservatives seem to think it is. It’s bad news because it shows that roughly half the householdes/tax filers in the country have very little income. It’s basically an illustration of the extent income inequality has grown over the years.

So, in an environment in which the only people whose income is increasing is the top ~10% of the population, what are the implications for tax policy? If you say “tax the folks in the bottom ~50% more” I don’t even know what to say to you.

#44 Comment By Scott On March 5, 2013 @ 3:03 pm

Is anyone else humored by the irony that a party that continuously runs on “Taxes are too high, we need to cut them” at the same time complains that too many people pay no tax?

Will one of the right-leaning posters here please clarify? I mean, if the 47% statement is accurate and true, why is that a bad thing since you also hold that taxes are too high and need to be lowered?

#45 Comment By Annek On March 5, 2013 @ 7:54 pm

Scott,

When Republicans say taxes are too high, I think they mean tax rates should be reduced but not eliminated for almost half of the people in the country. Everyone should have some skin in the game of voting on how to spend federal dollars. It’s easy to vote to increase federal spending on programs one is likely to benefit from but not have to share any responsibility in paying for.

#46 Comment By Scott On March 6, 2013 @ 7:42 am

Annek,

I have no doubt what you say is correct. The optics, however…