Leaked video from Romney fundraiser: Half of US voters expect free “health care, food, housing, you name it” (updated)

Mother Jones has published a "secret" video captured during a private fundraiser for Mitt Romney, in which the Republican presidential candidate tells a small gathering of wealthy voters what he thinks of Americans who support Obama.

The tl;dr: rich guy who gets millions in tax breaks calls half of America parasites.

"[The] 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."

About 47% of the country, Romney continued, "[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

Update: David Corn of Mother Jones says the tape was recorded in Boca Raton, FL on May 17, 2012 at the home of Marc Leder of Sun Capital. (via Chris Geidner). And here's an explainer on where that "47% of Americans pay no taxes" stuff comes from.

Update 2: Holy moly. The fundraiser took place at a sex-partying hedge-funder's estate? Charles Johnson at LGF writes that "Leder has been in the news before, and Mitt Romney’s religious right sponsors may not be pleased to find out about the other kinds of activities that take place at Leder’s mansion: Marc Leder Ends His Weekly Bashes in the Hamptons With Naked Guests Cavorting in the Pool and Peforming Public Sex Acts." How would the Right react if Obama hosted fundraisers at mansions where orgies took place? MoJo's Marc Corn has more.

Meanwhile, Romney campaign spokesperson Gail Gitcho responds to the video, and does not deny it's Romney, or that the words as reported are accurate. Gitcho says Romney wants to "help all Americans struggling in the Obama economy," and "he is concerned about the growing number of people who are dependent on the federal government."

At about 730pm PT this evening, Romney gave what was apparently a very hastily-arranged live press conference. My live-tweeted notes:


    1. Stupid assholes, that is 47% don’t pay income tax, like old people, kids, stay at home parents, all of them are damn freeloaders!

      1.  Don’t forget the approximately 7000 multimillionaires who also pay no federal income taxes due to tax avoidance schemes. 

        1. Now now. Their tax lawyers have probably advised them to pay $1 per year specifically so they could say they paid their income taxes.

          1. 100% not sarcastic. We need schmucks like Romney to speak their mind. Show their true colors. Let there be 100% no doubt who he is, what he stands for & what he is about.

  1. The nerve of these people.  Next they’ll want free education for their children, police and fire protection, streets and highways, and public parks.

    (Yes, I know there are public toll roads and fee-supported parks, but they’re more the exception than the rule.)

    1. I’ve started calling myself a “Warren Buffett Socialist” when asked about my political affiliation.  I get a lot of nervous laughs from people who have no idea what I’m talking about.

      Warren Buffett was derided publicly as a socialist by Republicans because he had the audacity to admit that much of his success in life was based on being born a white male in the US in the 20th century.  He has specifically pointed to the public education he received, the public roads, etc.

      Quelle horreur.

      1. I like the guy’s moxie.  All his kids and grandkids went to public school, too (at least the ones who lived in Omaha), so it demonstrates he’s committed to the institution of public education that should be good enough for the offspring of billionaires, and not just those who can’t afford anything else.

        Plus he’s the only octogenarian I know who drinks more Cherry Coke than I do.

      2. “his success in life was based on being born a white male in the US”
        Something Romney apparently hasn’t figure out.  From that same speech, we get this lovely nugget, speaking about his father, who was born in Mexico: “Had he been born of Mexican parents, I’d have a better shot of winning this.”
        Yeah. In case he didn’t seem like a big enough asshole.

          1. I’m not quite sure if his statement was intended to convey, “Those welfare leeches would vote for me if I was a minority… like them” or “white men sure are at a disadvantage when it comes to national politics.”  
            Either way: Fuck Romney and the dressage horse he rode in on.

      3.  If you read more deeply you’ll find that Warren Buffett’s father was a four term Congressman. And a very well connected one at that. Buffett’s success can be ascribed entirely to trading on inside information with inherited capital.

        At least Buffett is more willing to occasionally admit his inside advantages than the charlatans who infest the GOP.

      4. Funny enough even uber-libertarian and Tea Party hero Milton Friedman has said in his books that there should be environmental regulations and public schools because the entire neighborhood, state, and country suffer if those don’t exist.

  2. well, as “corporations are people my friend”, what he’s saying *is* true… they really *do* expect a handout from the government.

      1. Corporations already do have more rights than humans.  When a corporation gets convicted for doing something criminal, a fine is levied, but not much else.  When a human is convicted for doing something criminal it’s not uncommon for the human to lose everything, up to, and sometimes including, life. 

        1. Also, corporations have direct access to lawmakers via lobbyists and campaign cash, so that no matter who the people elect, the corporations have a friendly ear. And speaking of elections, thanks to Citizens United, corporations can dump as much money as they wish into PACs that support their candidates. We’re basically living in a corporate oligarchy, without the fun of living in a Shadowrun universe. Meh.

        2. Re: ” When a human is convicted for doing something criminal it’s not uncommon for the human to lose everything, up to, and sometimes including, life. ”

          But not if that person is working for a corporation. We have a full compassion policy when it comes to corporate criminals. Since Dick Cheney took over the government in 2000, corporate and criminal cannot be spoken in the same sentence, let alone the same jurisdiction.

      2.  What does that have to do with the original statement?

        I don’t know what part of his A-H he pulled 47% from, but he’s right that a lot of people expect that.

        1. What does that have to do with the original statement?

          Romney is making the assertion that half of US voters expect government handouts; my comment was regarding corporations, who get more welfare than every US citizen combined.

        2. The 47% figure is the percentage of Americans who have no federal income tax liability.  By Republican inference, this means they are wholly dependent upon federal largesse for food, shelter, and health care.

          Of that 47%, the majority are employed and pay payroll and state and local taxes, and presumably use some of the revenue from their employment to buy their own food, shelter, and health care.  About 10% are retirees whose only income is from untaxed retirement programs.  These people typically argue that they are receiving payments they earned while paying taxes earlier in life; I am actually willing to listen to arguments that they are getting more than they paid in and should have their payments reduced, but contrary to what he’s saying here Mitt Romney is actually pandering — hard — for the votes of this segment of the population by swearing he will never cut benefits to current retirees.

          tl; dr? — Romney is a dishonest douchebag.

          1. Don’t forget the approximately 7000 multimillionaires who also pay no federal income taxes due to tax avoidance schemes.  

      3. Oh, please, Mitt Romney doesn’t even know what Mitt Romney wants, other than what his corporatley funded handlers tell him in his daily updates.  And Even then he can’t be consistent in any short term way at all.

        The only long term position he’s kept is that he hates Obama.  Nothing else has stuck much longer than a few months.  That doesn’t seem like a good platform to run on.  Hating the current president.

        1. This is a naive and dangerous way of thinking. Reminds me of people in 2004 saying that Bush was dumb, and Kerry was smart. Remember how that turned out?

          I don’t think Romney hates Obama, and not because herp derp, Mitt’s a robot and doesn’t experience emotions. I think Romney is scarier than that: he’s a True Believer. He believes he and he alone has the solutions to the problems in this country, for lo, he was given the answers on silver disks which floated down from heaven on an angel’s fart, or something.

          Seriously though: Mitt believes his own bullshit, and that can be dangerous. His choice of Ryan as VP tells us a lot; who better to help him save a country in financial crisis than a guy who can’t do basic math?

          1.  Heh, paul ryan….But seriously, I agree that Mitt completely is a True Believer.  Just that when he started campaigning he had to change the canon of his political religion to fit with the extreme side of the right.  And even that didn’t really work.  Nobody in the republican party liked him, but everyone agreed the majority hated him less than any other crook running for the nomination.

          2. Only a true believer blinded to reason by faith would go door to door asking French people to give up coffee and wine. 

  3. It is hard to win people over if you refuse to listen to them.  For many Republicans, every Democratic concern reduces to, “Communism! Communism! Communism!”  Or, worse yet, the villains from an Ayn Rand novel.

  4. “Romney went on: “[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.””

    See being President means you have to care about everyone, not just your rich friends.
    Christ what an asshole.

    1.  He is NOT the president! He was talking about his job for this campaign to convince a bunch of rich people to give him money for that, not about his job as president.
      We should listen to what people say, even if we don’t like what they are saying.

      1. Of course he’s not the president, but you may have noticed that he desperately wants to be president.  We therefore get to judge his statements as though they were coming from a president – the job he has spent the last 10 years trying to get.

        The first part is about not working for (caring about) votes he can’t get.  The second part is a window into Romney’s soul, such as it is.  He reveals himself and his belief that those of us who were not born to CEO/governor fathers have refused to “take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” 

        It’s a very Ayn Randian point of view so I guess Ryan was the perfect choice for VP.

      2. Or one could assume that he doesn’t give 2 craps about these people and any number of reasons they ended up needing assistance.
        They are all just parasites he should not care about and will at his first chance slash every bit of the social safety net so they learn to sink or swim.
        I find it amazing that he can discuss taking personal responsibility while all of his banker friends who detonated the world economy haven’t even said sorry.  They are still working on making themselves shit tons of money using other peoples money and pushing the risks onto everyone but themselves.
        Being President means you have to care about everyone, even the ones you don’t really care for.  If hes willing to make these statements behind closed doors to get more money but not say them publicly he is not qualified.  But then I dislike a very rich man begging for people to give him money to “fix” the country, he seems unwilling to put his money where his mouth is.

  5. he is unfortunately fairly accurate with this remark.
    His simple point he is making here is that there has been a gradual increase in the number of people who believe the government is and should be the central producers of wealth and a good quality of life for the masses.

    1. Taking my older sister as an example, she’s on permanent disability, receives her income and medical from the government, and rails against Obama the socialist.  Romney’s got her vote and no amount of reasoning with her is going to make her admit that she’s on the dole, nor cause her to understand that voting for Obama is probably actually in her best interest.

          1. I have a friend who was a smack head for years. The government has paid out millions of dollars over the years to deal with his chronic Hepatitis B. Not to mention the food stamps and various other forms of welfare. Need I even deliver the punch line?

          2. He was a smack head because his parents handed him over, at age ten, to some guy in their trailer park who traded vodka shots for blow jobs.

      1. Dare I ask how she manages to live on government cheese and welfare checks without admitting that she is on the dole? That’s the sort of cognitive inflexibility that lets you walk on air in the cartoons…

        1. Shoot…I can’t find the quote, nor recall who it was, but there was some famous Republican who gave a speech talking about how he was once very poor, living off food stamps and welfare, how the government didn’t do anything to help him, and how it was up to him, and him alone to rise up out of that poverty.  It was really kind of funny.  Somehow he didn’t view those food stamps or welfare checks as “help from the government.”I’m also reminded of the article describing a Palin rally in Kentucky from 2010:———“Scanning the thousands of hopped-up faces in the crowd, I am immediately struck by two things. One is that there isn’t a single black person here. The other is the truly awesome quantity of medical hardware: Seemingly every third person in the place is sucking oxygen from a tank or propping their giant atrophied glutes on motorized wheelchair-scooters. As Palin launches into her Ronald Reagan impression — “Government’s not the solution! Government’s the problem!” — the person sitting next to me leans over and explains.”The scooters are because of Medicare,” he whispers helpfully. “They have these commercials down here:’You won’t even have to pay for your scooter! Medicare will pay!’ Practically everyone in Kentucky has one.”


          And if you want to get even more into it, some of the low tax rates come from deductions people make.  From a budgetary standpoint, these tax deductions are identical to if the Gov’t straight up subsidized the activities.  There’s no difference between the gov’t giving you $100 to go buy something and saying “If you spend $100 and buy it yourself, we’ll give you a $100 credit on your taxes.”  The final accounting is identical in both cases.  And what are the biggest examples of such “tax expenditures?”  The tax treatment of mortgage interest payments, 401(k) plans, and the tax treatment of employer sponsored health insurance.  Essentially those are all subsidized by the gov’t.

          You could go on all day with examples of people who get help from the gov’t in some way but don’t think the gov’t helps them…they all think it’s only “Young Bucks” with their T-bone steaks and Welfare Queens driving Cadillacs who get all the goodies.

          1.  To clarify — the mortgage interest *personal deduction* is not a credit or pretax write off like 401(k)s and health insurance. So interest deductors only get about 1/3 of the interest off their taxes, depending on their incomes and interest amounts.

      2.  In Chisago County, Minn., The Times’s reporters spoke with residents who supported the Tea Party and its proposed cuts to federal spending, even while they admitted they could not get by without government support. Tea Party aficionados, and many on the extreme right of the Republican party for that matter, are typically characterized as self-sufficient middle class folk, angry about sustaining the idle poor with their tax dollars. Chisago County revealed a different aspect of this anger: economically struggling Americans professing a robust individualism and self-determination, frustrated with their failures to achieve that ideal.

        Why the stubborn insistence on self-determination, in spite of the facts? One might say there is something profoundly American in this. It’s our fierce individualism shining through. Residents of Chisago County are clinging to notions of past self-reliance before the recession, before the welfare state. It’s admirable in a way. Alternately, it evokes the delusional autonomy of Freud’s poor ego.

        These people, like many across the nation, rely on government assistance, but pretend they don’t. They even resent the government for their reliance. If they looked closely though, they’d see that we are all thoroughly saturated with government assistance in this country: farm subsidies that lower food prices for us all, mortgage interest deductions that disproportionately favor the rich, federal mortgage guarantees that keep interest rates low, a bloated Department of Defense that sustains entire sectors of the economy and puts hundreds of thousands of people to work. We can hardly fathom the depth of our dependence on government, and pretend we are bold individualists instead.


        1. And none of them realize that it is in fact the failures of our current model of capitalism that is the biggest reason for these problems.

          1. It is the failure of your current model of capitalism that is the biggest reason why even during a big worldwide economic crises you are still living better and being wealthier than most of the countries that shook off communism in 1989, that you are not having to eat dirt or your dead children like some people in China and North Korea.

          2. 1. Poverty and homelessness in the US are higher than in Europe, where governments are significantly more socialist.
            2. US is actually not tops in terms of economic freedom by most measures.
            3. The wealth of the USA probably has more to do with the last 300 years of technological progress and with the outcome of WWII than with any particular economic system. 
            3a. US only became a superpower after the socialistic reforms of the New Deal.
            3b. Much of the technological prowess that resulted in the wealth of the US is the result of direct government investment in technology, which was then essentially just turned over to industry — representing a massive (socialistic) subsidy of high-tech business.

            So there are many reasons why USians are still fairly comfortable in the midst of an economic crisis, but lack of socialism doesn’t seem to be one of them.

          3. @ wysinwyg
            1. In the European countries, where governments have been the most serious about “socialism”, people are poorer than in US. One of the countries that you are probably referring to, Sweden has just come out of a big crisis, that happened 15 years ago, but not by increasing welfare. In 1994 the government budget deficit exceeded 15% of GDP, so they had to cut spending on welfare at the time, and they did. They had a plan to solve a financial and real estate crisis (much like the US one) that worked, as a result the economy grew and they were again able to spend more on welfare. But notice that you have to fix your economy first. You can not continue to spend money on welfare hoping that “socialism” magically saves your country.

            2. No it is not. I never said that. But economic freedom is what capitalism demands so that it can work. So this is not US being let down by capitalism, as the parent post suggests, it’s the other way around.

            3. US was not the only country that won the WWII. The Soviet Union did too, and their economy was in ruins in 1989, as a result of taking socialism VERY seriously.

            3b. That is exactly the point. Capitalism does not mean handing out privileges to ANYBODY, banks, corporations or anyone else. As a matter of fact capitalism requires that the government keeps the playground a fair place to compete in.

            I’m not saying that “lack of socialism” is the “reason USians are still fairly comfortable”. I’m saying that the capitalist economy and the freedom of it’s people are the reason you had it good for a long time. And I’m saying that it’s wrong to blame capitalism for the anti-capitalist practices of USA: allowing a small number of people to fix the market of money and currency in general, “bailing out” the ones that wrecked the economy so they can break it again (hint: that’s not how Sweden fixed the problem), giving more rights and fewer responsibilities to corporations effectively promoting monopolies, taking more freedoms away from the citizens every day so that the interest of a few will be protected, etc. Socialism will not fix these wrongs, and no matter what the right wing in USA says, these policies are not capitalism. Again, capitalism requires a fair playground, not favouritism.

            So, don’t blame capitalism, and take care what you wish for, when you praise socialism.

          4. 3. US was not the only country that won the WWII. The Soviet Union did too, and their economy was in ruins in 1989, as a result of taking socialism VERY seriously.

            The Soviet Union suffered 12M-14M civilian casualties in World War II.  The U.S. suffered about 1700.

            The Soviet Union lost 13% of their population due to war casualties.  The U.S. lost 0.3%.

            The U.S. suffered exactly one significant attack on US soil.  The infrastructure of the Soviet Union was ground into rubble by the war.

            The Soviets may have been on the winning side, but only America “won” the war from an economic standpoint.

      3. Your Sister sounds a lot like my Mother in Law. My Mother in Law is on Welfare, Social Security, You name it, she’s gotten a pacemaker, and a slew of Doctors Visits, Medications, etc from the Government (She’s 70 and living off of Social Security) and there is no convincing her that Romney is not god. She thinks that he’s amazing and constantly is trying to drag me into debates about why he’s amazing and why our current President is not. It’s terribly frustrating. 

    2. Except uh, no.  

      Almost all of the people who pay no income tax fall into one of three groups- 1) seniors who have spent their entire lives working and don’t pay taxes because they’re receiving small social security payments in their retirement, 2) college students who have limited incomes as students but who will spend the rest of their lives working, and 3) temporarily unemployed people who otherwise work.

      The idea that this group of people who don’t pay federal income taxes represents some ongoing group of freeloaders who never pay taxes is a complete fantasy.  Virtually all of these people work for nearly all of their lives, and not paying taxes is a temporary condition for them.  It is not some chronic or cultural thing, it’s temporary.

      1. Plenty of employed people pay no net income tax. They pay in, but get a refund that represents the entirety of what they paid in incrementally. Some people consider this a form of savings.

        But that is a mere aside because you know who didn’t make the tax rules? People who earn too little to pay net taxes, that’s who. To have a system as heavily weighted toward the wealthy as we have, then have them whine about the earned income tax credit is ridiculous.

      2. ^this. Thirtyfive years in the workforce paying taxes. Now, no income, no job… waiting to grow old enough to find work or start collecting on the SS I’ve paid into all my working life.

    3. Does this have anything to do with the, er, increasingly excellent job that the private sector is doing in producing wealth and a good quality of life for the masses? Or is it the incredible brainwashing power of marxist professors writing journal articles that nobody reads that does it?

      Just think of it as a consumer choice problem: Why, exactly, are the popularity of private sector wealth and wellbeing solutions plummeting across the bottom four quintiles or so, with proportional gain, albeit blunted by cynicism in enthusiasm for the public sector competitors?

      Either you write that off as ‘the little people are brainwashed’, or you have some unpleasant examining to be done RE: real wages and standards of living since ~1970, and the news isn’t going to be good.

    4. There are lots of things wrong with what Romney is saying here, but I think what has people’s attention is his claim that the people who intend to vote for Obama are the same people who supposedly hold all these views (and don’t pay income tax). Regardless of how many people hold each view he names or don’t pay income tax, his equation of them with Obama voters is unexpectedly revealing.

    5. the 47% refers to the percentage of americans who pay no income tax.  the vast majority of those people pay withholding taxes for social security and medicare, state income taxes if they live in a state with one, local property taxes, and sales taxes.  most of them pay a higher percentage of their income in all taxes than romney does.

      no one does class warfare quite as effectively as the republican party.

      1. “no one does class warfare quite as effectively as the republican party.”

        One wonders how they do so well at it when you can see they have no class.

    6. There probably has been a gradual increase in the *number*, but only because we have an increasing population.

      Personally, I can’t think of anyone that I know who thinks that government should be the central producers of wealth and a good quality of life. Government should provide a safety net, and government spending represents a large chunk of our economy, but that’s as far as it goes.

    7. Can you believe the audacity of these assholes who are expecting of their government what the rest of the developed world long ago figured out is the responsibility of a representative government? So insane!

      Anyone got a spare $100? I seem to have misplaced my fold and I just need it to light up this cigar and laugh at these silly presumptuous parasites!

    8. Bullshit. Healthcare, basic provisions of food for the poor, and housing the homeless are not big asks of government. These are the bare essentials that virtually every developed nation in the world outside of the united states at least attempts to provide.

      Asking the government to provide healthcare, and food and housing safety nets is not to assume the government must be the central produces of wealth, but instead that they should manage a small portion of wealth that the economy has a whole produces. That’s pretty much the purpose of taxation!

    9. No, he’s not. Not even close. The exact point that he is trying to make is that the 47% of people who don’t pay income tax for whatever reason are parasites who expect things for free and vote Democratic in order to maintain that largesse. None of this is true for the reasons that others have already pointed out.

    10. I don’t think that’s correct.  Source? 

      I think there’s a steady increase in the realization that the game is not fair.  It’s rigged in favor of the people born lucky.  In fact, many people see the government as something controlled by the wealthy primarily for the benefit of the wealthy – even though both Republicans and Democrats want the government to help even out the playing field more.




  6. It is somewhat refreshing to see Romney saying the same things out loud that he’s been silently projecting since this thing started.  He’s Monty Burns incarnate.

      1.  Which reminds me of all the times in The Simpsons where they’ve done morphs depicting C.M. Burns variously as: A Snake, A Vulture (multiple times), a lizard, and IIRC once he was some kind of lemur or something suckling at Smithers’ teat….. Or was it a mole’s teat?

  7. The nerve of these people, trying to take away rarely visited vacation-houses of the rich, and use them to live in!, or maybe just sell!, imagine that, SELL!, and use the money to cover rent and food for the next 10 years!

  8. So, this is Romney’s “clutch their guns and bibles” moment? When are politicians going to learn to stop saying stuff that they don’t want everyone to hear?

    1.  I honestly think they don’t care.  What he said here is obviously to curry support from his politcal base.  Note he uses the word Free, implying that they have no inherent right to it.  The poor who support the Republicans have honest belief in hard work.

      “Free” is something Communists use, or at least that’s the fear he is trying to project.  All he has to do is dismiss anyone who doesn’t like, it, at least to his base, if point out at how they support Communism, that they don’t respect hard work like Republicans do.

  9. There is not much point in arguing with people in bad faith, however… I can be with Mitt on this.

    The government should stop any form of welfare now.

    And the people should stop any support of any institution now – that includes police, military, etc.

    Wait a little, then let’s see who has more physical power: the Masses or the 1%.

    Fight Club squared, guys…

    1. In a variety of colonial extraction zones around the world, the ability of business interests to finance right-wing paramilitary death squads has generally been nontrivial…

      It’s hard on everybody, of course, since the local communist militants slip a bomb in now and again; but unless the people show miraculous unity in the near future, most of the action would just be a meatgrinder between the proles who will sell out and the ones that won’t, with the ones who just want to be left alone inflating casualty counts.

      1. the ability of business interests to finance right-wing paramilitary death squads has generally been nontrivial…

         Yep, cause that’s a damn fine job – 3 squares and a cot, plus all the loot you can gather.  Way better than flipping burgers or collecting empty soda bottles.  It works the same way here; that’s why crime bosses have no trouble hiring “soldiers” in any American inner city.  It has little to do with politics, more of an economic factor.

  10. This video doesn’t shock me at all. As an independent voter, and at risk of persecution from the prevailing political opinions here, this is the part of Romney that appeals to me. Several things about Obama are equally appealing. I consider myself socially liberal and fiscally conservative. In other words: do what you want, up to but not past infringing others’ rights to do the same, as long as I don’t have to pay for it. There are some useful public goods to be sure, but not to the extent of the entitlement state we are in today.

    I expect that I am one of those swing voters (in FL) that both parties are spending big bucks to try to reach. Too bad I don’t listen to the radio (besides NPR) or watch TV commercials (thanks, TiVo).

    I typed out a bunch more about my political opinions, but it’s not relevant to this discussion, so I cut it to post somewhere else, privately.

    1. “There are some useful public goods to be sure, but not to the extent of the entitlement state we are in today.”Could I ask you what you think they are and where the line should be drawn?  As a European, my impression of the US is that your “entitlement state” is ludicrously tiny and under-resourced.  (I won’t get into the debate about “as long as I don’t have to pay for it” since that’ll just lead to raised voices and possibly fisticuffs.)

        1. Agreed, “entitlement state” probably comes from one side of the argument.  Our political language is riddled with alleged synonyms that each try to spin the situation to their view.  I am on the ‘conservative’ side of this issue, so that is the wording I chose, though I was not consciously trying to spin.

          I have voted in 5 presidential elections, and I’ve voted twice for one party and three times for the other.  I probably lean right on local races, since I generally vote on my fiscal stances more than my social ones, but in national races, I’m pretty close to equal.

          As for the safety net versus entitlements issues, I don’t know where the line should be drawn.  I feel that they are too expensive today and, due to population shifts, we are headed for a time when our country will not be able to afford to keep the promises we have made.  I also believe that as a society we should rely more on private charity than public, but that there remains a smaller role for the state as well.  I’m not a politics junkie or a policy wonk, so I haven’t devoted vast swaths of my time trying to figure it out.

          The moderator edits to my post above did not alter any of my wording.

          1.  Swing voters being something different to the Swinging voters from whom he obtained this particular venue to spout bullshit at crazy rich people…

          2.  “Entitlement programs” (gross term!) are such a small fraction of our budget, it’s inconsequential. Acting like they’re draining our economy is ludicrous.  Let’s talk about multiple on-going unnecessary wars, and unregulated banks and investment firms betting on failure of others and sucking up money from everyone and sticking it in tax havens overseas (aka Romney’s ‘self-made’ success plan).

            Anyone who thinks it’s a ‘burden’ to help out others in need who don’t have equal opportunity to ‘succeed’ is patently a jerk, pure and simple. Jesus would not approve.

      1. We’ve somehow lost the snippet of code that keeps the “edited” notations from showing up.  I probably edit about 5% of comments because Disqus insists on inserting false line breaks unless you scrub your copied text through a text editor.  And because there’s a floating character space in the comment box which Disqus says that they are unable to get rid of, and which has an annoying habit of getting into masked links and breaking them.

          1. You know, the toaster worked when we bought it. It’s like somebody broke into our house and stole the old toaster and left us a broken one.

  11. Does Romney actually believe that the “47% of Americans who don’t pay income tax” are an undifferentiated mass of shiftless, teat-sucking,  Obama supporters?

    If so, he’s a clueless asshole. A lot of the folks in that category are conservative working-class folks who simply don’t earn enough to pay income taxes . . . once various credits, including the EARNED INCOME* tax credit, are factored in.

    If Romney knows that the “47%” includes a substantial amount of his base, and he’s simply pandering to the arrogant swine in the audience of that fundraiser, he is an opportunistic ass who doesn’t deserve to be president.

    * Of course, “earned income” may be a foreign concept to Romney, the vast amount of whose income comes from investments.

    1. well – part of his base are people who are resentful for being on government assistance – they feel tethered to the system and want a way out (plus they also are angry that a few of their peers are “exploiting” the system and aren’t interested in changing).  The problem is that just cutting them off isn’t going to work, and these people typically aren’t educated enough to understand that the GOP alternative means they’ll just end up being shackled (to unfortunately quote biden) by private debt – and in a republican (aka neo-confederate) government, you’ll end up with law enforcement acting entirely on behalf of private enterprise.


    2. Not to mention, many of those people who “don’t pay *federal* *income* tax”, make up for it in payroll, state and local taxes.

  12. How do we know Romney pays income tax? We know he paid it once, but who knows about the rest of the years? Anyway, it’s damn funny that a vulture like him calls other folks parasites. Being a parasite is his business plan.

    1. That’s a very telling graphic.  The very people that Romney is dissing are the ones voting Republican in droves?  What a complete cognitive disconnect we have in this nation.

  13. The party of God indeed. I wonder what their God has to say about the poor?

    “When you refused to help the least of these my brothers, you were refusing to help me.” – Jesus (Matthew 25:45, before stating his intention to toss said refusers to hell)

  14. My predicted topic of discussion come November: Who lost the election better? Romney or McCain (remember him)?

    My vote: Romney.

      1. That mental image is… too disturbing for words. I’ve gotta stop reading things literally. I don’t care much for anything Palin does but at least she had presence. Maybe it’s just that this is an incumbent vs a newcomer election but I seem to have hardly heard or read anything about Paul Ryan.

        This is one of my favourite John Cleese clips: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blesmzddd38
        Interviewer: “What do you think of Sarah Palin?”
        John Cleese: *Solid gut laugh* “I used to think Michael Palin was the funniest Palin on earth”

  15. “Inelegantly stated”?  What’s an elegant way to say half the country is poor because they are lazy?

    And really, when did almost HALF the country become dependent on government handouts. . . oh wait, is he counting subsidies?

  16. Dear Mister Romney. I’m one of your 47%. I take government handouts, including the biggest, most massive handout of them all—I’m going to school on the G.I. Bill. Oh, wait a moment, I’m not GETTING a HANDOUT, am I? I served in the U.S. Military and had the military equivalent of Obamacare working for me the entire time, which even with its flaws I am glad I had. More handouts, in your eyes, I’m sure. Oh, and I get government handouts for my service-related medical issues. No, wait, that’s called DISABILITY PAY.

    Am I one of the 47%? I can’t tell. But I do know this–I’m not voting for you. Not a snowball’s chance in a cat’s ass.

    1. I both applaud the sentiment and shudder at the imagery. For one thing, how does one even *get* a snowball into a cat’s ass?

  17. What truly stuns me about this video is it shows how insecure Romney truly is. Given the fact the economy is still in the crapper, and there are issues with Obama that still have not been resolved, why would someone with half-a-brain play into the worst stereotype his enemies have handed him?  Why would Mitt do this?

    Oh, it’s because he’s truly clueless.

  18. Let’s see. 13% of the US is over the age of 65. Another 25% are under the age of 18. So that’s 37% of Americans who probably pay no taxes and are almost certainly on the government dole (those darn kids with their free education!). Only about 43% of the population is actually employed (there are a lot of freeloading stay at home mothers along with the previously mentioned leeches on society). I’m actually amazed 53% are paying any income tax.

  19. Do Republicans really want a “Lord of the Flies” society?  When you’re at the top of the ladder, I’m sure it seems fine to let people die of hunger in the street if they just “can’t cut it” in the dog-eat-dog world.  But it can only end in revolution if you take it too far.  I thought part of being a society was working together for the good of your fellow humans.

  20.  I am an Operation Iraqi Freedom vet. I used the GI Bill when I went to college.  While I received it I payed no income tax.   So I guess I’m a victim?

  21. Even if he does not agree that those 47% of people should be dependend on the government, his job as a conservative candidate should be to have an answer for the problem. He should be saying how he is going to get those people off welfare and onto high paying jobs. If he doesn’t have that answer, why should anybody bother to vote for him, even if you are a republican? If he doesn’t give a shit, he shoulden’t be running for president.

    1. Err, these 47% are people who don’t pay federal income taxes.  They certainly pay lots of other taxed and most of them are not on welfare.

    2. Getting people off welfare in the US is dead easy.  Wait 5 years and if the person hasn’t found a job they stop receiving benefits.  No real need for a plan there.

  22. The majority this 47% that are going to vote for Romney only watch Fox News. Fox News will either spin it or won’t mention it at all. The portion that do watch other news outlets and/or read a decent newspaper are probably voting on social issues such as gay marriage and abortion. The rest just don’t particularly like having a black man as POTUS. Romney will lose no votes.

  23. “this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations, shall not perish from the earth. ”
    The rest of the people though… well once we have private sanitation they’ll mostly die of Cholera, Typhoid, Malaria, and West Nile.

    1.  The Euro has suffered from a branding issue from day one. Making a universal currency that every nation uses, cos it’s all the future and shit? Well, SF already done coined a name for that coin: Credits.

  24. My only regret is he didn’t finish the speech and then engage in some public sex. Don’t get me wrong; I have no desire to see a naked Mitt, but if he got elected after that I would know there is no hope at all for America, soI could lay down and die.

  25. You Americans expect housing, to be able to feed yourself and healthcare?  that’s a hoot!  Now I’ve heard everything.  Crazy.

    1. Well, it’s not like society, or the economy in particular, is supposed to exist for the lumpen and proles, or to meet needs like food and shelter. It’s supposed to exist for the [s]’aristo’cracy[/s] wealth-‘creators,’ and to help them extract more from everyone else.

  26. Love reading the insightful comments to this ridiculous man’s foibles. My comment speaks directly to his (and others) POV regarding our nation’s lazy parasites. Credentials: I am a therapist who counsels the lazy parasites, my husband teaches them English at community college,and my daughter is a substitute teacher for K-12 in a community dominated by these parasites. I have to state two important facts about these lazy ne’re-do-wells.

    First: A huge majority want to work and feel the need be productive. They and their children suffer greatly in many ways from lack of gainful employment which provides a living wage. We just don’t provide that service in our country anymore. I could write paragraphs and paragraphs dismantling the myth regarding the facts of real people in real poverty (but I won’t, nobody likes a rant)

    Secondly: More and more folks across the land are pointing the finger at lazy parasites as the Cause of All Our Problems. This finger pointing is dangerous behavior. It is based on false information and it keeps us from addressing the literal unraveling of the US. To dismissively mutter a pejorative sentence or two about welfare queens or the lazy people sucking our tax dollars away blocks us from the full awareness that we are becoming a third-rate nation producing new legions of incapable people. Our education system is producing people who cannot read nor think creatively and analytically. I witness it first hand.The cognitive impairments brought on by stress/anxiety/depression are being passed on from parents to children who become parents. Good judgment is becoming un-doable…no longer a choice. University is becoming a joke. Look at How Many People actually entertained the idea of Palin as VP! WOW!

    Romney’s dumb-ass remarks are both astonishing and perpetual. But we have to look past presidential elections and finger pointing to actually see the facts behind these economic issues. We resent lazy parasites, but the US is actually becoming one big lazy parasite –  because Important Wealthy People are playing games with humanity and WE LET THEM.

    1. “nobody likes a rant”
      You’re new here, aren’t you?

      No, seriously. Rant. Please. That’s half the fun of the comment threads on bb!

      1.  there just isn’t enough space for All that I have to say. But one good strategy might be have presidential candidates live on “welfare” or obtain employment in retail and live like most folks I know in this area (battleground Ohio) for six months to even be qualified to  run for office. A little required education in this area would be sweet

  27. Obama has not really impressed me as a president, but hearing this quote today from Romney, I realized that if he gets elected, this ahole is going to be our president. It is unbearable to me. So, today I realized I need to start being much more vocal about my political views to keep Romney from being elected.

    I know this is a bit ranty here, but I did not grow up wealthy. My mother worked as a teacher, forgoing years of contributing to her pension by working at a private school during my childhood so I could go to school with the richest and most privileged children in our city. My father is mentally ill and an alcoholic. He contributed sporadically to our family’s income and less and less as he grew older.

    My mother is now modestly cared for thanks to an inheritance from her father, a successful businessman who saved almost every penny he earned, and a retirement plan that took her an extra 10 years of teaching to get since she was not always in the public school system. My father is supported by social security and government assisted housing; if I were to have to take on his care out of my pocket I would be living on a very tight budget.

    In high school, I also went to school with the most privileged kids at a prestigious prep school – partly on scholarships that I received because my father had been a teacher at the school when I was young and partly on loans. Then I went on to college at one of the most expensive schools in the nation, with a scholarship that covered all my tuition, all of my room and board, and even gave me some extra spending cash.

    For these opportunities I am grateful. I make a good income working in high tech and know that I am tremendously blessed to have had parents who valued education highly as well as to have the fortune of good mental and physical health. Yes, I work to maintain my health but I also got lucky. I could so easily have been born with my father’s bipolar or my sister’s depression.

    I spent all my life around the wealthy, some of them people of the fabled 1%, and I have seen this condescending attitude that they are special, smarter, more driven, more deserving than the poor. This sort of, “why don’t you just quit drinking and get a job” attitude that shows so little compassion for those who grow up without access to education, without access to mental health services, without access to health care, with this sense that they are all alone in the world – and not one thought that it is their responsibility and privilege to give others a helping hand up. I pay crazy high taxes, and I am grateful to be capable of paying, and not to be the person filing their tax forms with a meager income, waiting for a small refund check to get me through another month. Yeah, I’ve been there and it never felt like I was riding a gravy train.

    Not every single wealthy person is a jerk; there were some who were gracious and caring. But many people seemed to think they earned what had, in fact, been handed to them by wealthy parents or simply by the privilege of being born into a world where money was freely traded and lent, where health and mental health are a given, and where they could receive a great education.

    So, yes, let’s keep the guy in office who is at least smart enough to pretend to care about those less fortunate. Maybe it’s a line Obama is giving us, but it is quite clear that Romney could care less about anyone but his rich cronies.

    1. Great comment!  It is all about circumstance, opportunity and attitude.

      I am not happy with Obama either and wish we had more real viable choice than these two parties.  Our voting system clearly needs a major overhaul.  But in the meantime I have to weigh a non-vote (alternate party) vs letting this horrible outlook that Romney has re-populate the White House.

      1. I’m not sure that Romney’s comments will turn any voters that are up for grabs away from him, but I know that right now, as someone who was not a particularly energized voter, that his nasty dismissal of people who need assistance has motivated me to fight to keep Obama in office.

        I have been reading since that this 47%/53% idea has been circulating on ring-wing blogs and commentary for some time in response to the “I am the 99%” slogan of Occupy, so it seems Romney is repeating what has become a popular rallying cry on the right. He knew that the comment would play to the crowd he was addressing.I have felt for a long time that neither party is serving the public. As much as I felt like Edwards was a douche, when he opened his campaign with a plea to end poverty – oh, wow, that was beautiful. Wouldn’t it be great to have someone else, someone slightly more credible, run on the same platform. 

  28. The only thing that surprises me about the speech is that was captured on camera. I bet a caterer is going to lose their job over this, if not get arrested and thrown in jail.

    It is not in the interest of the 1% to help the 99%. They need a hungry and desperate working class to make all their things and do all the work. 

  29. I know it’s old-fashioned, but I’d like to remind everyone to not only register, but vote. If you don’t vote, please STFU.

  30. Interestingly GOP legislation was a major contributor to the creation of the 47%. How is that the people who created it are somehow now magically equipped to fix it? 


    Key quotes from article:  A major reason that many poor people no longer pay federal income taxes is the Earned Income Tax Credit, which has long been supported by Republicans. The credit was added to the tax code when Gerald Ford was president, and was expanded by President Reagan in 1986 and by George H.W. Bush.
    When President Reagan urged the passage of the 1986 tax overhaul, he said that ”millions of working poor will be completely dropped from the tax roles,” which he said would make the tax overhaul package ”one of the best anti-poverty programs this country has ever seen.”

  31. Well, I guess I have to count myself as part of that 47% of moochers. For several of the last 12 years I paid no federal income tax. See, I spent those years working to develop an instrumentation technology business, one that has now resulted in employment in the US, in electronics manufacturing, with designs that are selling globally, and, that is, modestly, “creating jobs”.  We worked 7 days a week, late into the night or early morning, risking our own money with no guarantee of success, struggling to make something new- I believe it’s called “entrepreneurship”.  But we couldn’t pay ourselves anything, because we weren’t making money- ergo, no taxes. All the while, we continued to drive on roads, use airports, currency, a host of government services. And not only that, but nearly everything that makes my business possible- the existence of the microprocessor, the internet, the communications and transportation systems, the GPS satellite system, the sensor technologies, the excellent universities that educated me and our engineers and that created the basic research that made these technologies possible- ALL that is largely or exclusively the result of government investment made by earlier generations. Exactly the sort of investments Obama will continue just so freeloaders like me can take advantage of the results, irresponsible moochers that we are. So yeah, we were really sucking hard on the government teat.  Good thing we’re making some money now.  Though we won’t get rich in our specialized market, I can finally hold my head up as a responsible person with a tax bill.  Where do I sign up for the “I’ve got mine, screw you” party? 

    Unlike “up by my bootstraps” Mitt, who fought his way to the top with nothing but a trust fund, stocks, a draft deferment, an elite private education, and gold plated family connections- we didn’t figure out how to divert money other people made into our own pockets in a zero sum game of financial manipulation, how to pawn off pension fund obligations on taxpayers, or how to load up companies with debt, pay ourselves millions, and walk away from the wreckage. We kept this funny distinction between “making” and “taking”.  We concentrated on making and building something new- growing the pie- guess that means we just couldn’t “take personal responsibility.” 

    Funny thing is, in many years of traveling through “red” states, I have seen a LOT of folks who were living off the dole in one form or another- collecting questionable disability payments, scamming tax free jobs in the underground economy while collecting benefits like food stamps, living off social security- and the vast majority have been white, Republican to the core, and would call themselves conservatives. Seduced, no doubt, by what Mike Lofgren called the Republican “rube bait” of social issues.  But I do expect Mitt’s picture of who that 47% are supporting- or were- might need to be re-calibrated. People don’t see themselves in that 47% not only because they don’t want to associate themselves with negatives, but because they know- most of them- that they DO pay their share, or have done so.  Income tax being only part of the government funding equation. Perhaps they will see the 47% meme for what it is- a fraudulent dodge, lying with statistics to stir up class resentment.  

  32. Yesterday, I discovered that for some reason I wasn’t on the voter registry in this state (despite having a clear memory of registering previously). It took about 3 minutes on the phone to find out, and another five minutes with a pen, a registration form, and an envelope, to fix.

    If you have any doubts about your voter registration; if you’ve moved since the last election; if you’ve changed your name: Do yourself a favour and check that all the records are in order. It’s calm and easy to do right now, but will get progressively more time-consuming as the election date gets closer.

    Check now. Vote in November.

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