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.