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Posts Tagged ‘mitt romney’

Serious question.

This is about the whole 47% thing, obviously. And I genuinely want to know. His thoughts: what were they?

The picture he’s painting for his audience of $50,000-a-plate party-goers is, after all, a wildly inaccurate one. Nearly half of the entire country, he tells them, are “dependent on government”, don’t pay any income tax, think they’re “entitled” to things like food and healthcare, will never “take personal responsibility” for their lives, and will vote for Obama “no matter what”.

He doesn’t use the word “moochers”, or any term so overtly provocative, but it’s clear what he’s trying to communicate. The image is one of millions of slobs and layabouts, who can’t be bothered putting down their beer and getting off the couch to do an honest day’s work, and who expect you good, hard-working people to take care of them and pay for their pampered lifestyle, which the black guy’s going to make you do if we let him stay in office.

It’s clear simply from the tone of voice what we’re meant to think about people who feel “entitled” to anything (notwithstanding the incredibly narrow definition of “entitled” within which it’s assumed to be about the worst trait a human can possess). He doesn’t call them all feckless scum, because he doesn’t need to. (In fact, a Pennsylvania legislator – unconnected to the Romney campaign, as far as I know – did recently paraphrase his speech in rather more stark language.)

And yet, it’s bullshit.

For starters, even if the 47% statistic were meaningful, the judgment he leaps to from it is ideological and severely lacking in compassion. The idea that money is a useful measure of a person’s value, or of how much they deserve to be fed and clothed and treated when they’re sick, is comical enough already – but federal income tax? Jesus wept.

But I didn’t even need to do my usual bare minimum level of research, before the internet pointed out to me that most of the 47% do pay taxes in other forms, like payroll taxes, unless they’re retired or getting paid a pittance; that these payroll-tax-payers actually contribute a greater proportion of their income than Romney does; that people who don’t pay income tax actually tend to vote Republican; that the entities most “dependent on government” in history continue to be banks and corporations; and so on, and so on.

So… does Romney just not know any of this stuff?

I mean, I’m about as connected to American politics as he is to the administration of the pension schemes of London-based multinational law firms (whee, I have a job), but even I can get my head around the evidence suggesting that every second person in the United States isn’t a good-for-nothing scrounger being courted for their vote by a socialist President while the other half effectively wait on them hand and foot. Can Mitt Romney really not have picked up any of this information himself?

I know he’s a busy man, but the internet’s even drawn him a picture:

Does he really not know this stuff? It hardly seems plausible.

And yet, if he really has ever encountered these, y’know, facts, but still chooses to use this kind of manipulative language to dismiss any concern for the well-being of 150,000,000 people as “not his job”…

…then what is it that he’s thinking, when he talks like this?

Because it looks a lot like he’s thinking that he knows the crowd he’s playing to, and they don’t much care whatever happens to those poor people so long as their own interests are being looked after, and he’s okay with that.

He’s in a room full of other rich white guys, who all seem to think they made their fortunes entirely through their own personal merits, and it’s purely a coincidence that just about every one of them happens to be white and male and had rich, well connected parents. Assuming Romney’s not entirely ignorant of basic facts, it looks like he’s thinking that he wants to keep them happy and take their money more than he wants to engage in any kind of intellectual honesty about income inequality and the injustices of capitalism.

So either he’s deeply isolated in a bubble that’s non-permeable to significant portions of reality, or he thinks lying about half of the country that he wants to rule over is worth doing to meet his own goals.

When Mitt Romney says “47% of people aren’t contributing”… does he mean “47% of people are effectively contributing to a wealthy minority, by means of not being paid the full value of their labour in the first place”?

Does he mean “47% of people find my policies completely unappealing and wouldn’t be helped by them at all, suggesting that I might not be an ideal candidate to lead the entire country as I think I should be allowed to do”?

Does he mean “47% of people’s contributions – and, by extension, their lives – seem completely worthless to the people who want to run the country”?

This turned into more of a run-of-the-mill anti-Republican rant than I was hoping for. And Obama shills for cash just as shamelessly and has murdered a lot more foreigners than Romney, so maybe this isn’t even that big a deal. Just another familiar instance of a series of systemic problems that no mainstream politician even comes close to wanting to solve. I don’t know.

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Rush Limbaugh has some fascinating insights into “the kind of stuff the Obama team is lining up“.

Millions of idiots with whom poor Rush has the misfortune of sharing a country – “the pop culture crowd”, as he calls them, also known as “people who enjoy stuff that lots of other people enjoy” – will be watching and hearing about a new Batman film in coming weeks, in which the villain‘s name uncannily resembles that of a company Mitt Romney used to run.

Poor Mitt. He couldn’t possibly have known that such a conspiracy would someday be launched against him, back when he was made the first CEO of Bain Capital, a company named after its founder.

He’s going to be livid when someone shows him a dictionary.

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Mitt Romney demonstrated his utter inability to comprehend the basic number ordering system last week.

He said, specifically, that he’s “not concerned about the very poor“, and instead wants to focus on the middle-class, the “very heart of the America, the 90 percent, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.”

His rationale is that the very poor have a “safety net” in place, and so we can basically stop thinking about them. Whereas the middle-class, that block in the middle who it’s assumed aren’t really poor but are doing kinda-okay-but-could-be-better – the ones who might actually vote for Romney – well now, they’re worth some pandering.

The point being, of course, that those people are by definition better off than the “very poor” who need those safety nets, and it makes no coherent sense to be more concerned about them.

He also said:

The area that I think is the greatest challenge that the country faces right now is not to focus our effort on how we help the poor, as much as to focus our effort on how to help the middle class in America, and get more people in the middle class, and get people out of being poor and becoming middle income.

A sentence in which he both continues to misunderstand how numbers work and contradicts himself a couple of times.

Oh, and if you look at the actual tax plan Romney’s proposed, most of the middle-class he’s courting get screwed over pretty good anyway. And Obama’s not exactly unfamiliar with similar rhetoric himself.

So, good luck America. Hope that democracy thing works out for ya.

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– Newt Gingrich knows what’s wrong with US drug policy: not enough people are being killed for carrying handfuls of marijuana.

Thirteen Observations made by Lemony Snicket while watching Occupy Wall Street from a Discreet Distance.

Nice analysis of a picture which has apparently been doing the rounds lately, being used to suggest that Obama, unlikely his Republican counterparts, is a down-to-earth man of the people. Uh-huh.

– One school in New York has seen a bizarre spate of a rare medical condition among its students, involving tics similar to those characteristic of Tourette Syndrome. They’re investigating the possibility of some kind of chemical poisoning or memetic virus that will enslave humanity.

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– A TED talk from Clay Shirky on the problem with SOPA.

– “Just like John Kerry, he speaks French, too.” The Republican candidates are genuinely attacking each other for having acquired new skills and abilities. Who are they even pandering to?

– You might get what you wish for, even if you don’t get what you want. This blog on Artificial Intelligence continues to be one whose updates I look forward to the most.

– Wow. Apparently you really can become a world-famous religious authority, even when your arguments aren’t a jot more sophisticated than “Christianity is true because Jesus, and we know other religions aren’t true because there’s no Jesus in them and the Bible is special, QED!”

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