Lots has been said and lots more will be said about the glimpse into Romney’s soul we got from his candid remarks at a closed door fundraiser. It’s mind-boggling and scary that anyone hoping to be President of the United States would be willing to so absolutely dismiss half of America as lazy victims who will never be able to be “convinced to take personal responsibility of their own lives.”
There are so many problems with that statement that I could never hope to tease them all out in a single post. It shows us what Romney really thinks about regular workers and families, and it’s scary. But what is perhaps most disappointing about Romney’s prejudices and dismissal of regular Americans–and especially American families struggling to make ends meet—is that he is just completely wrong in his assumptions.
The group he is dismissing as politically unimportant and socially worthless is mostly Republican! With the exception of swing state Florida, the top 10 states with the highest percentage of the population not paying income taxes are the reddest states in the country. And when you look at who doesn’t pay in Flordia (retirees and lower-income workers in the panhandle), most of them are Republicans too. The red states in the map below aren’t “Red” because they are so Republican. They are red to show they are the states with the most families Romney doesn’t believe its his job to worry about and who will never be convinced to take responsibility for their own lives. If you look closely, you’ll see that the trend continues with states 11-15 and so-on as well.
The reason Romney’s political geography is so badly skewed is that his understanding of who these “dependent victims” are is so off. First and foremost, they are human beings…children of God, with hopes and fears, trying to make it and care for their families. They are not statistics or problems or worthless. They are our neighbors. They matter and have worth. But since that argument is not likely to break through with the heartless Ayn Rand crowd now controlling the GOP, let’s try some other ones.
Twenty-two percent of the group Romney says has no interest in taking responsibility of their own life are retirees living on their Social Security. Another 17% are either students or people too disabled to work (often as a result of injuries from the job). Then 60% are low-income workers, many of which have a full-time job. After these workers take their child tax credit and deduct charitable giving, they don’t make enough to pay income taxes. Heck, 20% of Americans working full time don’t make enough to keep their family out of poverty, even with both parents working full time! It’s also important to note that these workers Romney dismisses as not contributing to society or paying their fair share actually pay more in federal payroll taxes (15%) than Romney did in the one year of taxes he released (13.9%).
At the end of the day, the comments show what many already knew. Romney’s similarity to the Wizard of Oz’s Tin Man is more than just in affect and movement. He has no heart. But when one considers that he is attacking and dismissing his political base along with seniors, students, and those struggling most right now in this economy, it’s clear he also has a lot in common with the Scarecrow. And the last thing we need right now is a President with no heart or brain.