As we all know by now, MotherJones recently released recordings of Mitt Romney’s speech at a fundraiser back in May in which he dismisses 47% of Americans who are “dependent on government” and believe they are entitled to things like heath care, food, and housing. To understand the full ridiculousness of his statements, Jon Steward, as usual, is a big help:
Not only are Mitt Romney’s comments ridiculous because, as Jon Stewart points out, his own family relied on government support, but the general idea that working or middle class Americans rely too much on government and just need to “work harder” to achieve the “American Dream” like Romney did are also ridiculous when we examine the growing corporate welfare state that our country is in, and how Romney has benefited from it. We hear a lot from Republicans about how poor people are too dependent on government programs, thus implying that once someone becomes rich they no longer need the government. Implying that the government does things to help businesses succeed can be dangerous, as we learned with the uproar that followed President Obama’s “you didn’t build that” comments. Not only does the government help businesses by building things like roads and bridges, which was what President Obama was pointing out, but it also provides huge subsidies to business. The Cato Institute recently estimated that this corporate welfare cost the government $100 billion in the fiscal year 2012, and the Wall Street Journal estimated that the cost may be more like $200 billion. Here is the breakdown:
As Lee Fang of Salon points out, Romney benefited from these subsidies while running Bain Capital by owning companies that used millions in public subsidies and employing lobbying firms to push for government programs.
So what is it that Mitt Romney wants from these 47% of Americans that he says are “dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them”? Does he want them to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and become successful like him, so that they can then take advantage of government subsidies for corporations? Does he want them to pay more income taxes, like his whopping 14.1%, and put money in offshore accounts? Well, he doesn’t seem too concerned, explaining that, “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.” So, although Romney was fine accepting government handouts in the corporate world on his way to making millions, it’s not his job to worry about freeloading elderly or low-wage workers who make up this 47%.
-Clara Wheatley-Schaller, Campaigns and Elections