Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Is It About 47%-ers, or 1%-ers?

How quickly the class warfare discussions have shifted - away from President Obama's plans to tax the super-rich - and on to Mitt Romney's apparently clueless remarks about some ambiguous group that makes up 47% of the electorate, doesn't pay income taxes, feels like a victim, feels entitled to health care and a job and a house, and wasn't going to vote for Mitt Romney anyway.

Governor Romney has made a serious mistake and miscalculation about percentages - and is being painted by even some in his own party as a derisive plutocrat.  There are several ways to parse the 47% that Mitt may be talking about.  For one, roughly 46% of the population identifies as Democrats, or Republicans, with about 38% voting that way all the time.  So, Romney is correct that a certain percentage of people will never vote for him because it's about party and ideology.  Additionally, there is a common notion - from a study by the Brookings Institution - that 46% of Americans don't pay an "federal income tax."  The reasons vary - as some are fixed income seniors and others are working poor who have their burden erased the Earned Income Tax Credit (a tax credit widely supported by many in the GOP, including W. Bush).

The problem for Romney is that he has assumed the 46-47%-ers who won't vote from - and those who don't pay income taxes - are the same group.  And that's far from the truth.  It negates all the Republicans in all the Red States who currently don't pay income taxes and do receive government benefits.  And it confuses the many Democrats who pay plenty in taxes and would never vote for Mitt Romney for numerous reasons, not the least of which is the elite, plutocratic view that leads to making inane statements like Romney has been making.

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