I guess it’s time for me to weigh in fully on this one.
I get the conservative argument on the welfare state: dependency is bad for the poor long term, and conservatives hope to free up capital so that businesses will expand and people will be hired, and there won’t be so many poor people. I don’t buy that one, but I see where they are coming from.
The trouble is what Mitt Romney actually said:
[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.
Fun fact: 61% of the 47% he is talking about actually pay payroll taxes, meaning they work, although, obviously not for a high enough salary for them to be responsible citizens in Romney’s view.
And this gets to where I often have trouble buying that people who espouse conservative economics give a darn about what happens to the non-rich: because it is so often wedded to Ayn Rand inspired spite like this. It’s hard to buy that you have sympathy for the troubles of the middle class and everyone under them if your next breath you say they are a bunch of bums who are getting what they deserve.
(Aside: anyone notice how many Republican politicos here in the Old Pueblo that spout this “maker and taker” rhetoric seem to be employed by our city’s largest federal contractor?)
So, S. E. Cupp had an interesting take on this yesterday. Her argument was that Barack Obama himself created this rhetoric by claiming that working people were the victims of Wall Street greed and of the economy. Obama was the one calling them victims and Romney just followed suit, she asserts. I suppose this gets back to the view from conservative commentators that class warfare is only a bad thing if it is waged from below, but I find it funny because it seems like no one is as good at playing the victim card these days as the right.
It’s even built into some of the rhetoric on the 47%. Years ago, the Wall Street Journal ran an article calling those that don’t make enough money to pay income taxes “Lucky Duckies,” as if the struggles of trying to figure out how to pay your bills from month to month make you “lucky.” It was a rather odious argument, but one that has blossomed into full flower as of late.
So, these people who don’t pay federal income taxes (leave aside the numerous taxes they do pay) are moochers, looters, parasites, right? They are mooching, looting and feeding off of whom? Oh, so who is pretending to be a victim now?
You find this victimhood all over the place. Give it a couple of months, the next time a greeter at Walmart says “Happy Holidays,” and Bill O’Reilly will be on about how some secular oligarchy is persecuting the good people of America.
Romney played a bit of the victim himself when he joked that he’d be doing better in the race if he were of Mexican decent. That’s right, because Bill Richardson and Ben Fernandez made such a splash in their campaigns. Mexican Americans get all the breaks. Ask my Mom about growing up in Barrio Millville sometime, Mitt.
Pobrecito el Mitt. He’s a victim of circumstance. It’s hard to be a rich white guy these days.