"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 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 -- that that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. ... These are people who pay no income tax. ... [M]y job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives." -- Mitt Romney
The statistic is accurate. 47% of Americans pay no income tax, yet receive government assistance.
I have no problem with most of this quote. The last line could have been stated a little more eloquently.
Because the fact is that roughly 5% of Americans are on disability (ie. have been determined by a medical professional as unable to work).
So let's lower that number to 42%, 'kay?
Another 10% are elderly. So let's lower down to 32%.
Another 7% work, but bring home less than $20k. So let's lower some more down to 25%.
That seems more reasonable to me. Including from my own experience.
One-fourth of our population pays no income tax, but believes they are entitled to government benefits.
While his statement could have been stated a bit more... tastefully... the point behind the statement stands. A large portion of our citizens have grown to rely on the government for things they could provide themselves, but don't. They believe they are entitled to certain provisions, and honestly don't understand why they should pay for them, when the government will. I've heard them argue this point with my own ears.
I know people who work just long enough to qualify for their unemployment checks again, pretend to look for work each month so they can keep drawing them, get the checks till they run out, then work another month or so. Just long enough to get back on the taxpayer's payroll.
I know people who get ticked off when the government cuts off their benefits, because what are they supposed to do now?!? (hint: get a job).
I know people who get their hair & nails done, wear name brand clothing, smoke a pack a day, then complain that their government stipend doesn't cover their living expenses.
I know people who take their food stamps and do their grocery shopping at the local gas station, paying incredibly inflated prices for junk, because they don't want to walk another block to the grocery store.
I can tell you that after my car accident I was told by several doctors that I "more than qualified" to be on disability (government paid, taxpayer paid, disability) - yet I was always able to work, and in fact during that time often worked more than one job. So how many of that 5% do you think are, in fact, truly disabled? truly unable to work?
I can tell you that when I finally had to declare bankruptcy due to medical bills, and attended my government-mandated financial counseling, the counselor told me he was shocked at how frugally I had been living. After all, I had been "entitled" (his actual word) to things like cable, having my hair & nails done, eating out, entertainment, etc.
The fact is that our government does have programs that were originally intended to help those truly in need, but which over time have somehow evolved into providing aid not only to those in need, but to those with entitled mentalities. It's the truth. It is.
How you can have a system that tells able-bodied people they're entitled to disability, tells poverty-stricken people they are entitled to luxuries like cable, professional hair appointments, manicures, and the like, tells people that they are entitled to use their food stamps to buy food that is of little to no nutritional quality, that they are entitled to work the minimum amount required by law and never recognize the pattern of abusing they system... how these things can continue to happen over & over again, how these entitlements can continue to expand, how our taxpayer system can become more & more strained...
I just don't understand how this can continue to happen. How can we Americans continue to be okay with it? How can we call requests for reform unsympathetic?
Maybe you like these entitlements. Whether you're currently using them or not.
Maybe you think I've just had a lot of bad experiences, been surrounded by the rare exceptions. Maybe you're right.
But we all have to base our opinions based in part by our life experiences, and unfortunately my life experiences have been full of entitled laziness. Friends. Family. Neighbors. And I'm sick of it. I'm tired of trying to ignore my friends' complaints about how the system doesn't give them enough, while she tells me her latest scheme for abusing my tax dollars.
I'm tired of it.
If you're okay with living in a country that entitles people to be lazy & spoiled, then fine. But I'm just not.
I get what Mr. Romney was trying to say. Could he have said it better? Sure. But then again, I'm sure I could have written this post better in some way as well. I'm sure every one of you has at some point in your life said or done something that came out differently than you'd intended. It happens. And while I haven't yet decided who is getting my vote, I'm not going to count him out because of one minor miscommunication. Not when the overall point stands so well.
I acknowledge that this post rambled a bit, and got longer than I'd anticipated. If you got this far, thanks for hanging in there. And as always, thanks for checking in!