First and foremost - this note is in response to this video:
Now for the breakdown:
The 47% number he is using throughout the video is one that stems from the conservative talking point "47 percent of Americans Pay No Income Taxes". A statement that he repeats himself at the end of the video.
So, with that, who exactly is in this 47% he's talking so illy of? It's easy to find 18% of it, which is about how much of the population actually doesn't manage to pay any taxes into the federal government through income. (More on that in a second). But more than half of that 18% is elderly folks who paid into the system in the past, another portion students among other things and then -- OMG -- some people are actually lucky enough to be so poor as not to owe Uncle Sam a cut. Those lucky duckies living the dream. Must be nice.
So, wait a second? Where is the other 29% of Americans Mitt Romney is talking about? Who are these dependent, entitled, unteachable, self-victimizing, not even worth worrying about people? Well, I think it's time I admitted something. If not for myself, for the sake of transparency and my journalistic integrity. I have to admit that...he's talking about me. He's talking about my girlfriend. He's talking about my best friend. He's actually talking about the majority of people I personally know within my age range. If you're making under $25,000 a year, he's likely talking about you as well. ( http://abcn.ws/QygFUU ) If you've ever gotten a (proportionally) fat refund check at the end of the year because you were working a low-wage job just to get by, he's likely talking about you too. Working through school? You're a dirty 47%-er. Working an entry level job in the career of your choosing? You succubuss scum. Just plain lucky enough to have a job? I bet you get the government to cover your horses dressage lessons too! Oh wait...
What that number really means and therefor, what he should say if he wants to even pretend he's not being willfully manipulative is: '47% of Americans pay no income taxes beyond Payroll taxes (which includes Medicare, Social Security and Unemployment), state taxes, and local taxes'. Since that may be a bit long-winded they could at the least fairly reasonably say "47% of Americans pay no federal taxes beyond Payroll taxes" and it would still ring true. But I guess that just doesn't have the same bite when you want to denigrate as much of the lower class as possible in order to cater, patronize and vindicate the beliefs of all the wealthy donors in the room. So, not only is that not what he said, he painted 47% of America as dependent, self-victimizing, and personally irresponsible.
And if you think it's unfair to assume he was being purposefully manipulative with that message, I guess one could tell themselves he really meant it...
*****You can stop reading here if you were only interested in my original headline. My main point has been made. My message above was the most annoying, blood-boiling narrative I took from seeing him say to a room full of wealthy donors, so bluntly, what he was always skirting along the lines of saying to the general public. After looking around online and seeing people only debunk (err...re-debunk?) the number itself (among other hysterical, hypocritical call-outs) I felt the need to write this perspective.*****
is a thirty-something guy who hasn't been able to look away from politics since 2008. Around the time he got tired of staring at religion.