What's All This Then?

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Thursday, September 27, 2012
 
REFLECTIONS OF A 47 PERCENTER

I am one of Mitt Romney’s 47%. I freely admit my belief that I am a victim. For years I have dutifully invested three dollars weekly in the Illinois lottery. Every week. Fifty two weeks a year. For years. Yet the most I have ever won at any one time is three dollars. Three lousy dollars. After spending three dollars a week!! A hundred and fifty six dollars a year!! For years!!If that isn’t being victimized then I don’t know what victimization is. Plus I didn’t pay any federal tax last year. But I’m not sure that he’ll allow me to keep my membership in the 47% club. I don’t think I really pass muster on the tax matter or on the other basic membership requirements.

My wife and I are both retired seniors and since a substantial portion of our income comes from that well known Ponzi scheme known as Social Security and as seniors we have extra deductions that we never had before, we aren’t paying any Federal income tax which, according to he who would be president, makes us government supported and subsidized 47 percenters . Except for that annoying thing that Bill Clinton talked about at the Democratic convention. Mathematics.

Like a whole bunch of our fellow 47 percenters, we do pay a whole mess of other kinds of taxes, starting with many thousands of property taxes. Peanuts on Planet Romney, but a pretty big chunk in Planet Earth bucks. Add to that sales tax on just about everything we buy and taxes tacked on to things like our utility bills and add to that state and local fees and the total comes to a percentage of income not far removed from what Romney pays in capital gains taxes. But still, not paying any Federal income does at least give us honorary membership as 47 percenters. Except for our lack of other qualifications.

To be a real 47 percenter, we would had to have spent our lives looking to government to provide us with food and housing and medical care. Silly me. Many years ago, while Romney was just a young man struggling to get ahead in life, burdened with the disadvantage of being the son of the CEO of American Motors and later Governor of the State of Michigan, I scraped together all the money I could lay my hands on, (no parents to borrow from) and made a down payment on a modest Georgian in a Chicago suburb. And, silly me, not realizing the extent of government entitlements that were available to me had I had a latter day Romney (no pun intended) to explain the advantages of being a 47 percenter, I made mortgage payments for years until the mortgage was paid off. Still, I’m not paying any Federal income tax and , late as it may be in my life, that makes me a 47 percenter. Except for one more thing. I think. Excuse me for a moment while I refresh my memory on key elements of the Romney 47% doctrine

Well, there are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that 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 government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. I mean, the president starts off with 48, 49 ... I mean, he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax; 47 percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. He’ll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean, that’s what they sell every four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.

Ah yes, health care. A true 47 percenter believes that he/she is entitled to health care and that the government should provide it. And here, both me and my wife come pretty damned close to qualifying for a 47% membership card. Almost. During our working years, we kicked in for Medicare taxes so that now we qualify for free hospital care. Almost. Except for deductibles and usage limitations. Medicare only pays part of the bills and the rest gets billed to us. But there’s no free doctor care so we have to pay a monthly premium for that. And Medicare only pays part of Doctors bills so the rest gets billed to us. So we either dig into our measly retirement income or we buy insurance to cover what Medicare doesn’t pay. Excuse me again for a moment while I make some calculations. Okay. Yeah. We’re chipping in close to six grand a year to help pay for government health care that true 47 percenters consider an entitlement.

So all in all, I think my wife and can claim that we are among the 53% of Americans who take personal responsibility and care for our lives. But we don’t pay any Federal income tax and that would put us in the 47% group. On the one hand we bought our own house, pay substantial taxes of various kinds, pay a substantial buck for our health care and generally take responsibility for our own lives. On the other hand we don’t pay any Federal income tax. Help me Tevye. If I was a rich man, I wouldn’t be caught on the horns of a dilemma.

Anyway, both my wife and I are clear on one issue. We are not going to vote for Romney. It was a decision we made long before he revealed his concept of a divided America. We pretty much decided that he lacked the character to be the leader of the free world when we heard the dog story. Then his primary rivals kept talking about all the different Romney’s who’ve been running for president for years and I figured the last kind of person we needed in the White House was a multiple choice president. And who would want a president who might decide that it was too stuffy in Air Force One and open a window at 40,000 feet and suck himself and the whole White House press corps into oblivion? And no, I’m not going to make any smart remark here. Just that I’m glad to see what the polls are saying and hope for the sake of the country - for the world for that matter, that they stay the same right up to November 6.