David Brooks on the 47% video: Romney has “divided the nation into two groups: the makers and the moochers.”

At the New York Times, conservative David Brooks is scathing in his reading of Mitt Romney’s 47% video:

Romney, who criticizes President Obama for dividing the nation, divided the nation into two groups: the makers and the moochers. […]

[I]t suggests that he really doesn’t know much about the country he inhabits. Who are these freeloaders? Is it the Iraq war veteran who goes to the V.A.? Is it the student getting a loan to go to college? Is it the retiree on Social Security or Medicare?

It suggests that Romney doesn’t know much about the culture of America. Yes, the entitlement state has expanded, but America remains one of the hardest-working nations on earth. Americans work longer hours than just about anyone else. Americans believe in work more than almost any other people. […]

The people who receive the disproportionate share of government spending are not big-government lovers. They are Republicans. They are senior citizens. They are white men with high school degrees. As Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution has noted, the people who have benefited from the entitlements explosion are middle-class workers, more so than the dependent poor.

And I would add that not a single one of Mitt Romney’s five male children served in the military, nor did Romney himself, nor does he pay as much of a percentage of his income in taxes as the average middle class family.

And here’s a reality check, again from the New York Times, on Romney’s 47% figure:

[M]ost households did pay payroll taxes. Of the 18.1 percent of households that paid neither income taxes nor payroll taxes, the center found that more than half were elderly and more than a third were not elderly but had income under $20,000. Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the center, wrote in a blog post last summer that about half of those were off the rolls because they had low incomes.

To make it seem that 47% of Americans are freeloaders, in other words, Romney has lumped together the working poor and elderly with the country’s unemployed and mentally and physically disabled.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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6 Responses to David Brooks on the 47% video: Romney has “divided the nation into two groups: the makers and the moochers.”

  1. Staffan says:

    I’m beginning to suspect that Romney want to lose. That Wall Street is orchestrating all of this by showing people a horrible right-wing candidate so that they will vote for Obama and not think about who is really in charge. It’s hard to explain this level of incompetence in any other way. It just doesn’t feel genuine.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      Obama may still lose this. There are a few economic data points still to be announced between now and election day–and some global economic storms, from China to Europe–that could sink him.

      But there is no orchestration needed by anyone here. The reality is that the Republican Party is facing strong demographic headwinds from this point going forward. The 2012 election is California in 1992 (the year Republican Pete Wilson won the governorship on anti-immigrant bashing). It was the last election like that in California. Republicans can’t win that way anymore. Indeed, they can barely win in California at all.

      Likewise, this will be the last national “white male resentment” election. Romney’s comments reflect this tension at many levels. It’s quite evident that he has contempt for a large number of those voting for him–not all Republicans are rich, healthy, young, securely employed, and non-disabled–and it anticipates the civil war that will rage among Republicans, after the election, for the soul of the party.


  2. Gov. Romney is in a rather precarious position when he talks about who pays taxes. Could he be among those who don’t pay? How can we know, since he refuses to reveal how much he has paid in the last few years. Is Romney among that 47%?

  3. give me a break with these one side bs, whites in Wall st did all the damage, nothing else, blame it on a black person, and only one person is far too narrow minded that I can see.

  4. Romney has a snow ball chance in hell to be president. Why you think he is scared to show his taxes for past ten years? One simple word…BAIN

  5. I love Ted Kennedy, he gave Romney a good old fashion ass kicking. If I believe in equal rights for all and that makes me a liberal, well than, i am proud of being a liberal, not those Nazi tea baggers or neo conservatives who want poor, uneducated , weak , old people not to vote. F**k them WASPS, this is not their country. Christopher Columbus landed here before the Nazi’s. they think its their country, hahahahahaha. Umm there is a Christopher Columbus holiday, but no Heil Hitler, or King George, or Queen Elizabeth day. so there you go.

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