First of all, I just want to say chill out everyone. While Mr Romney described his words as inarticulate, I would describe them as honest…in either this is honestly how he feels, or he was pandering to wealthy potential donors, who really knows. I also think the attitude of defining the 47% of those who don’t pay federal income tax as “entitled victims” is a pretty common one. Except, and this is the main point of today’s post, it isn’t accurate.
This is a real summary of that particular group of people Mr. Romney referenced in his speech. I do think he needs better information. But I don’t want to dwell on this particular issue. What I really think is that we all get a primer on the word entitlement, which for the purpose of this blog, means a government program providing benefits to a specific group. And, well, that would include EVERY AMERICAN. Personally, as much as I would like to say that I am part of the 53% who receives no entitlements and feels the loss of income due to high costs of, well, everything so severely that I may actually become that turnip that you can’t get any blood from, I have received them throughout my life. I received Pell grants and low-interest Stafford loans when I was a student…many times. When I first worked in ministry, my salary did put me below the poverty level, and filling out that EZ form gave me reason to celebrate that refund, because I could afford rent and food that month without having to go down the street to Liquor Lyles for the free happy hour dinner of pickled herring and crackers and cheese. Any person that went to public school, or ate a Catholic school lunch that received subsidies, or drove on any road, or was protected by law enforcement receives entitlements. There are plenty of farmers who are entitled to subsidies, or corporations who receive entitlements through our tax code, and these are only just a few and arguably controversial ones. But we all live off entitlements from the government period. The argument is really about who deserves them. And those who receive what most of the country understands as traditional entitlements: welfare, medicaid and medicare, and social security and veterans benefits fall equally into both parties.
According to a ranking of states of people don’t pay federal income tax, the top contenders are in the south. To think those “victims” who won’t take responsibility for their lives are in Mr. Obama’s camp isn’t necessarily true:
Most of those states marked in red, will vote for Mr. Romney, even though they are poor. So I would venture to say, that there are victims on either side of the aisle. I’ve railed myself on those who would blame others for their problems and never accept responsibility, but I don’t think that attitude is limited by income. I know just as many wealthy people who point the finger of blame, while turning a blind eye to all the help they have received in this lifetime, because they worked hard for it. In fact, most of the people I’ve met on some kind of assistance do work hard, and while they may be the true victims of this horrible economy they are fighting to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Yet, I do think Mr. Romney is accurate when he says that he isn’t going to change their minds of people who cling to being victims…I simply disagree that they are all democrats. It is because poor people and minorities are qualified as less American, I will remain more socially liberal, but…..
When it comes to saving our country’s economy…I am and probably will always be fiscally conservative. But truthfully? I am also disgusted with “the job creators” who claim to want to bring wealth back to America. Does anybody care how they’ve handled this job over the last decade? Google John Youngdahl, Russell Wasendorf Sr., Bernard Ebbars, Ken Lay, and Dennis Kozlowski, just to name a few. I think Jesus was right on when he said it was easier for a rich person to go through the eye of a needle than to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Having wealth, whether you earned it or were born into it, demands responsibility and perspective. Reform goes without saying, but it needs to be based on real, factual information and not….well there is no other way to put it…BULLSHIT. I am so tired of misinformation. I’m tired of the millions that are spent on elections when it could be put to better use. I’m tired of whining about the economy (and I regretfully include myself here). And mostly, I’m tired of having to clarify to my children what the real truth is midst the latest wheel-barrel of political poo that comes out every day…because I have to become the fact checker, when in fact the news should be doing that for me. I’m tired of all the political low-blow face book ads that people post to support their party. Mostly because they are just mean…and patently distort the truth.
So to all those who are claiming to the last remnants of sanity and civility, let’s all try to be grown-ups about this election and stick to the truth, whether we think people will like it or not, and do it in a way that can be persuasive, but responsible. Oh excuse me, there is this solicitor on the phone from England, and he just told me that a long-lost relative just left me a million dollars, and all he needs is my account number to deposit the money! How cool is that?