This one time, Mitt Romney decided to make this election about the most important issues facing this nation: Restraining government, reforming entitlements, and getting the economy producing jobs again. There is — ahem — some overlap among the three. Romney pivoted from anti-Obama to pro-growth in one decisive stroke: He named Paul Ryan as his Veep.
And then he sort of forgot about all that stuff, it seemed.
But video emerged of Romney telling a group of his supporters that Obama’s supporters tended to be grievance-issue voters dependent in one way or another on government. Suddenly, whether Romney meant to or not this time, he made this an election about issues again. The Wall Street Journal sums it up thusly:
In his comments to fundraisers captured on video, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said 47% of Americans would almost automatically vote for President Barack Obama because they were “dependent” on the government, in part because they received government benefits and paid no federal income taxes.
The WSJ then goes on to break down the data:
26.4% of U.S. households had someone enrolled in Medicaid (the health-care program for low-income Americans)
16.2% of households had at least one member receiving Social Security.
15.8% lived in a household receiving food stamps
14.9% had a member with Medicare benefits
4.5% of households received assistance with their rent
1.7% had a member receiving unemployment benefits.
This is something, uncomfortable though it may be, which needs some serious talking about — all the partisan stuff aside.
There are plenty of Medicare recipients who vote Republican, and plenty of überrich Democrats, too. Just because you’re on the dole doesn’t mean you can’t support Romney. In fact, I can think of a few million people getting unemployment checks who might just be dying to vote for anyone but Obama. Twice, if need be.
We now live under a system where almost three trillion dollars get hoovered out of the economy, sent to Washington, and then (mostly) sent back to individual Americans in the form of some kind of benefit. People, especially people in power, enjoy this process so much that they magically conjure up out of thin air another trillion dollars, which is then (mostly) sent back to individual Americans in the form of some kind of benefit, too.
About half of the people pay no income tax, despite getting all these benefits. Ten percent of the people pay more the half the income tax. The payroll taxes which are supposed to pay for the two most ginormist benefits — Social Security and Medicare — have been gutted, in order to provide “stimulus.” While SS and Medicare are now going broke even faster than they were before the cuts, we’re still waiting for that stimulus to arrive. Any day now. Tick tick tick.
See, Obama broke the New Deal.