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Romney's Theory of The "Taker Class," and Why It Matters


Society & Culture  (tags: activists, americans, candidates, campaign, children's future, corruption, culture, dishonesty, education, ethics, FACTS, law, politics, society, women )

Kit
- 689 days ago - washingtonpost.com
- Ezra Klein "My job is not to worry about those people," Mitt Romney said of the 47 percent of Americans who are likely to vote for Barack Obama. "I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.



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Kit B. (277)
Monday October 1, 2012, 12:53 pm


“My job is not to worry about those people,” Mitt Romney said of the 47 percent of Americans who are likely to vote for Barack Obama. “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

There will be plenty said about the politics of Romney’s remarks. But I want to take a moment and talk about the larger argument behind them, because this vision of a society divided between “makers” and “takers” is core to the Republican nominee’s policy agenda.

In his comments, Romney says that “these are people who pay no income tax,” but they are people “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.”

In other words, Romney is arguing that about 47 percent of the country is a “taker class” that pays little or nothing into the federal government but wants to tax the productive classes for free health care, food, housing, etc.

Romney is not alone in this concern. “We’re dismayed at the injustice that nearly half of all Americans don’t even pay any income tax,” Texas Gov. Rick Perry said when he began his presidential campaign. “We’re coming close to a tipping point in America where we might have a net majority of takers versus makers in society,” Rep. Paul Ryan said at the Heritage Foundation. “People who pay nothing can easily forget the idea that there is no such thing as a free lunch,” warned Rep. Michelle Bachmann.

For what it’s worth, this division of “makers” and “takers” isn’t true. Among the Americans who paid no federal income taxes in 2011, 61 percent paid payroll taxes — which means they have jobs and, when you account for both sides of the payroll tax, they paid 15.3 percent of their income in taxes, which is higher than the 13.9 percent that Romney paid. Another 22 percent were elderly.

So 83 percent of those not paying federal income taxes are either working and paying payroll taxes or they’re elderly and Romney is promising to protect their benefits because they’ve earned them. The remainder, by and large, aren’t paying federal income or payroll taxes because they’re unemployed. But that’s a small fraction of the country.

Behind this argument, however, is a very clever policy two-step that’s less about who pays taxes now and more about who is going to pay to reduce the deficit in the coming years. Here’s how it works.

Part of the reason so many Americans don’t pay federal income taxes is that Republicans have passed a series of very large tax cuts that wiped out the income-tax liability for many Americans. That’s why, when you look at graphs of the percent of Americans who don’t pay income taxes, you see huge jumps after Ronald Reagan’s 1986 tax reform and George W. Bush’s 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. So whenever you hear that half of Americans don’t pay federal income taxes, remember: Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush helped build that. (You also see a jump after the financial crisis begins in 2008, but we can expect that to be mostly temporary.)

Some of those tax cuts for the poor were there to make the tax cuts for the rich more politically palatable. “Do you think we wanted to include a welfare payment to people who don’t pay taxes and call it a tax cut?” A top Bush administration official once asked me. “No. But that’s what we needed to do to get it done.”

But now that those tax cuts have passed and many fewer Americans are paying federal income taxes and the rich are paying a much higher percentage of federal income taxes, Republicans are arguing that these Americans they have helped free from income taxes have become a dependent and destabilizing “taker” class who want to hike taxes on the rich in order to purchase more social services for themselves. The antidote, as you can see in both Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney’s policy platforms, is to further cut taxes on “job creators” while cutting the social services that these takers depend on. That way, you roll the takers out of what Ryan calls “the hammock” of government and you unleash the makers to create jobs and opportunities.

So notice what happened here: Republicans have become outraged over the predictable effect of tax cuts they passed and are using that outrage as the justification for an agenda that further cuts taxes on the rich and pays for it by cutting social services for the non-rich.

That’s why Romney’s theory here is more than merely impolitic. It’s actually core to his economic agenda.
*** Good graphs and a video within body of article ****

by Ezra Klein at Wonk Blog and Washington Post
 

JL A. (275)
Monday October 1, 2012, 1:53 pm
To translate the double-speak then: "So notice what happened here: Republicans have become outraged over the predictable effect of tax cuts they passed and are using that outrage as the justification for an agenda that further cuts taxes on the rich and pays for it by cutting social services for the non-rich.
"
That’s why Romney’s theory here is more than merely impolitic. It’s actually core to his economic agenda."

And it is so unChristian and downright scary...thanks for reminding us what is at stake in this election Kit.
 

Yvonne White (231)
Monday October 1, 2012, 2:25 pm
I think we could say the same thing of these political parasites: "We'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives." The rich are different than you and me - but they should be forced to have a conscience!
 

pam w. (191)
Monday October 1, 2012, 4:22 pm
Yvonne...I think you develop a conscience through EMPATHY and I don't know how to teach that! These people are part of the "I made mine....to HELL with YOU" school.

I'm so glad these remarks are being widely publicized! Thanks, Kit.
 

marie tc (166)
Monday October 1, 2012, 4:30 pm
Noted thanks
 

Dandelion G. (386)
Monday October 1, 2012, 7:43 pm
What happened to these types of polititicans?

"The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government." ~Thomas Jefferson

It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.
Hubert H. Humphrey

It seems of late the exact opposite thought is being projected by many of those from Washington. Republicans mostly, but not exclusive.

 

Kit B. (277)
Monday October 1, 2012, 7:52 pm

What happened? To much money flowing up and not spread out, few people have even the opportunity at the middle class, only a tiny number will ever be wealthy.

It is a moral test, do we care about the very young or the elderly or do we just talk and do nothing?
 

wendy webber (28)
Monday October 1, 2012, 10:40 pm
Another good one Kit.Thanks.....don't you just love it? Totally agree with the quote from both Jefferson and Humphrey from Dandelion. I am so glad that a person caught Mitt's famous plea to his backers on camera. Seems like some want to believe in this garbage about folks here in the US (being takers). Interestingly enough, this type of thinking makes the Rich folks look like they are being victimized and that their way of thinking is true and just.Smoke and mirrors much? I think it is much easier (and less risky) to believe that there is this 47% of sub-class people who are lazy and takers then the fact that many who were elected are not doing their jobs and trying to find a gravy train to ride so they can be Mitt when they grow up.To change the ways things are (the rich being slackers) takes action and personal commitment to alter mind sets and get busy.The other way of thinking allows a relatively powerless (as far as $$$$ go) group of folks to be the scapegoats while the Repubs cry "the Emperor does have clothes on". If I voted for the Mittwit agenda, I don't think I could ever go to sleep at night again. All the more reason to keep doing what we are doing and more when we can.
 

Kamila A. (141)
Monday October 1, 2012, 11:45 pm
I love this paragraph because it is exactly how it is: "So notice what happened here: Republicans have become outraged over the predictable effect of tax cuts they passed and are using that outrage as the justification for an agenda that further cuts taxes on the rich and pays for it by cutting social services for the non-rich."

Not only is it insane, but it is diabolical. They are more than sociopaths, they are psychopaths without souls.
 

Angelika R. (146)
Tuesday October 2, 2012, 3:22 am
Camila is absolutely right, such an impertinence cannot be called anything other than a diabolical plan.
 

Nancy M. (201)
Tuesday October 2, 2012, 9:54 am
Just when you think those right wing opinions can't get any worse, they do.

My Dad is most likely rolling over in his grave.
 

Tom Sullivan (99)
Tuesday October 2, 2012, 12:47 pm
They are all stupid, it is all about them
 

Michael T. (82)
Tuesday October 2, 2012, 1:52 pm
Sorry for the repeat post Kit but I think it applies here as well.

Do we really want a brain that thinks bain to run the country? He vetoed the health care bill in MA 17 times and then claimed responsibility for it's popularity.
There's a popular venture capitalist formula that's been practiced since the Reagan era and is the source of the ever burgeoning wealth of many of the 1%.. Bain Capital has been particularly successful in its use of this formula.
1- purchase a profitable corporation under the guise of restoring greater profits. This is the signal to Wall Street to start purchasing shares.

2- Lay off the experienced workforce whose labor created the corporation's profit reputation.
This will show short term high profits on the balance sheet and increase the Corporation's market share.
3- this is the signal to Wall Street to dump the inflated shares to pension and insurance plans, while simultaneously insiders get rid of their own now super-inflated stock

4-Break down the corporation and sell the parts because the parts are now worth more than the whole. Bain wins, Wall Street wins: pension plans, banks, long term insurance loses.

Is this the platform of our flip flop politician?

Here is a short video on how this works in greater detail.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-kKGELUc8A&feature=youtu.be
After the comments about the 47% this becomes even more important as a consideration.
 

David Menard (43)
Tuesday October 2, 2012, 2:26 pm
The taker class are the banksters CEO's wall st Romney's cronies
 

faith v. (13)
Tuesday October 2, 2012, 2:42 pm
The REAL taker class are the greedy ***s who want born babies to starve in order to provide elevators for their cadillacs.
 

Brian M. (145)
Tuesday October 2, 2012, 2:44 pm
Romney never starts espousing theories until after his manservant has delivered the magical garments, cleaned for the day's wearing.
 

Lin Penrose (92)
Tuesday October 2, 2012, 3:28 pm
Noted, thanks Kit. Interesting how Mr. Romney and his supporters classify "Takers". What, who is he and his many representatives in our human global social structures? Mr. Romney and many of his "Takers of whoever has Resources" of this planet, are true and serious problems. Taxes and taxpayers of this country, are not the true issues...His, and others ability to take From taxpayers, are an issue. Frightens the heck in them.

Nitpicking has become a mask of leadership art, to hide obvious, and long lasting situations for our home..

Somehow, we have named ourselves "stewards AND owners' -of this bit of the universe. Well, we seem to be excellent at parasitism and viral infection. Giving little back but the poisons we have introduced and the many human consumers who will eat the poisons (earth is a closed recycling system for the most current part) and perish or adapt (evolve ?), along with many of the other life forms that earth is home to.
 

Kit B. (277)
Tuesday October 2, 2012, 4:09 pm


So many well thought out comments and so few Green Stars. My thanks to all have left their own thoughts about Ezra Klein's excellent work.
 

Mary Donnelly (47)
Tuesday October 2, 2012, 4:47 pm
Thanks Kit--great post.
 

Jennifer C. (172)
Tuesday October 2, 2012, 5:17 pm
Noted. Thanks.
 

Gloria H. (88)
Tuesday October 2, 2012, 7:28 pm
Oh gee..I should have planned ahead, taken responsibility and consulted a crystal ball that would have definately shown me my art teaching degree would be useless, my library science degree and jobs would be cut, that I would have to resort to part time and temp jobs. That I would lose my house, drive an old car with mysterious noises, not have medical until I hit (hooray for Medicare..65), that my marriages would end and I would be supporting myself and not have a man "support me".
Yeah, I sure shoulda done this, shoulda done that. Maybe I ahem...should vote for Obama!!! Yes I can!! Yes I will!
 

Dave C. (213)
Wednesday October 3, 2012, 11:18 am
thanks......
 
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