“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president [Obama] no matter what. 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. My job is is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Romney was reportedly speaking at a private fundraiser and was unaware of the fact that he was being videotaped (you can view the footage here). If you don’t already see how Romney’s statement is quite misguided, let me attempt to explain how. Romney mentions how this voting cluster doesn’t pay income taxes. If your personal income is extremely low (i.e. the working poor) or non-existent, you may qualify for a tax credit (ex. child tax or earned income credit). According to the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), 60% of non-taxpayers were low-income workers, 22% were elderly individuals on Social Security and 17% were students, unemployed or disabled. These telling figures aside, Romney’s comments are reflective of the negative, stigma-based attitudes about the poor and those on government benefit programs. His statement implied that those who use government benefits are lazy, spoiled and comfortable in the state they’re in. This is a STEREOTYPE. Living below the poverty level is FAR from a comfortable lifestyle. As mentioned before, there are thousands of Americans who work hard and daily for very small wages. Minimum wage in most states is not a livable income, especially if one has children or is taking care of an elder parent. Lots of others have trouble gaining and retaining employment-particularly in this economy-for various reasons, including limited resources (ex. transportation), lack of education and prejudice. When I was working at a fast-food restaurant as a teen, a 50-something year old woman with hardly any teeth turned in an application. The manager told an associate to throw it away and said “She doesn’t have any teeth.” It never ran across his mind that perhaps she couldn’t afford dental care and if he gave her a job maybe she could. Imagine if every potential employer was that prejudiced. She would never find work.
Also on the tape are Romney’s opinions on ABC’s “The View,” saying that appearing on the program would be “high-risk, because, of the 5 women on it, only 1 is conservative and 4 are sharp-tongued and not conservative.” Is it high-risk because the “sharp-tongued” women will challenge his views and he might feel backed into a corner? His views are supposed to be challenged, whether he’s with fellow republicans or not. I would like to think that any citizen or journalist, regardless of political affiliation, would ask the important questions. What are your thoughts on Mitt Romney’s statements?