I do not usually write articles like this one, but I was so incensed by Mitt Romney's comments about the 47% of Americans who pay no federal taxes that I had to express my concerns on paper before I drove my wife crazy.
I am a 65 year old retiree living in the State of
One's ability to pursue the "American Dream" is determined largely at birth and by one's ability to use or "manipulate" the resources available to them. I use the term "manipulate" because it carries with it a unique perspective that we all share. It is our own personal perspective that determines who is manipulating resources and who is not. Manipulation occurs at the top and bottom of the socio-economic spectrum and everywhere in between. There is plenty of it to go around. So let's cut the crap and be honest, we all use or "manipulate" the resources available to us. It is how we get by, find our way in life, and pursue our "American Dream". But we don't all have access to the same resources.
When Mitt Romney made the comments he did, he insulted far more than just the 47% of Americans who currently pay no federal taxes. And even though his comments were clearly directed at Obama supporters, republicans, independents and Romney's rich millionaire friends (who paid no federal taxes) are certainly well represented in this group.
This group of freeloaders is not, as some might think, a static group of people. People move into and out of this group all the time. It is safe to say that most of us have been or will be a member of this group at one time or another. Many of us enter this group by taking advantage of tax breaks like the earned income tax credit and child tax credit. Others occupy low paying service jobs that have increased in large numbers in recent years. These jobs include everything from health care, to food service, to security; jobs that are occupied by the working poor. Fortunately, many of the working poor eventually make it out of this group, move on, and pay their share federal taxes. Those that don't, for whatever reason, find the odds too overwhelming. But let's again be honest here. These folks pay state and local taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, cigarette taxes, bottle taxes, gas taxes, and any other kind of tax that you can think of.
Others in this not so elite group of freeloaders are the disabled and the elderly living on a limited income. These folks are simply not capable of doing it alone. And let's not forget our veterans or religious leaders. They too are part of this group. My wife's aunt, a nun, is one of the hardest working people I know. Over the years, as an educator in the parochial school system, she saved taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. She's still going strong at age eighty-five and she's never paid a dime in federal taxes. I suppose she needs to be taught a lesson in personal responsibility as well.
Like most Americans, I was once a member of this not so elite group. Not long after high school I joined the army and served two tours of duty in
Entrepreneurship plays an important role in every society, but nowhere in the world does it play a larger role than in the
Put another way, we all want and benefit from cheap goods and services. To that end, society creates millions of low paying jobs to support our many businesses and institutions. These jobs rarely provide a living wage, yet someone has to fill them. They are filled by the working poor. Without their contribution our society could not exist.
Mitt Romney's comments about the 47% of Americans who pay no federal taxes were more than just a gaffe. They reflect a complete lack of respect for the contributions made in our society by those less fortunate than he. Some would argue that he was just pandering to his millionaire contributors. But the beliefs that he expressed would never have occurred to me. No matter how he tries to spin it, the comments he made reflect a core belief system that, in my opinion, disqualifies him from being President of the