Commentary: Romney's 47 percent insult

The Kansas City StarSeptember 18, 2012 

The leaked video of Mitt Romney insulting 47 percent of Americans is an eye-opener: Yes, he really thinks like this.

And are you surprised? Nope, unless you’re a dyed-in-wool Republican.

Everyone’s writing about the video, including President Barack Obama’s campaign, which sees yet another opening to characterize Romney as being out of touch with normal Americans.

Romney’s attack on people who don’t pay incomes taxes (but often pay payroll taxes, state taxes, city taxes and other kinds of taxes but, hey, who’s keeping count?) was said in private.

(And here’s a fascinating chart showing where these “deadbeats” live.)

It wasn’t meant to be heard by the general public, just by the rich donors who were likely nodding their heads in agreement with Romney when he said things like this about American voters and Obama:

“All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, 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. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…

“These are people who pay no income tax. 47 percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect… my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

Who’s Romney talking about here?

How about millions of Americans who are retired, you know, people who have been responsible for their entire life - but not get to enjoy all they worked for because they saved and have pensions and retirement funds to live on?

Or how about kids who are going to college, who are working various jobs to pay for tuition and housing?

Or how about those who don’t earn enough money to be legally required to pay taxes, such as families of four earning $25,000 or less?

Millions of Americans don’t pay income taxes for a variety of legitimate reasons.

They aren’t looking for handouts.

They aren’t people who lack “personal responsibility.”

Romney himself, of course, has used the same legal reasoning to make sure he doesn’t have to pay a lot in taxes, too.

Later Monday, Romney said he often had said things like this in public. But, of course, he had not said anything this explicit.

Or this insulting.

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