Republican ideology pitting 'makers' against 'takers' offers nothing

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  • Mad Hatter Provo, UT
    Sept. 22, 2012 12:37 p.m.

    When Mitt Romney complains that 47% of the electoriate support Barack Obama (let's put aside for now the "victimization" and "lack of taking personal responsibility" talk), he is also saying that 43% of the electoriate support him, leaving 10% up for grabs.

    It is fair to say that this 43% would always be in Romney's camp because of simple political partisanship. Obviously, Romney was saying this about the 47% who support Obama, so it is reasonable to flip the coin and say the same about the 43%. These are his core, so incensed about Barack Obama that they would rather vote for a turnip than for the president. Their antipathy has been stoked for the past 3 1/2 years though a campaign artfully-developed to bring the White House back to the Republicans. They had planned they would hold it for the next 2-3 generations, but George W. Bush's term in office squelched that idea.

    Now they are fighting to re-establish their long-term goal. Mitt Romney can't understand why he can only count on 43% even after successfully shifting responsibility for Bush's bungling mess on Obama. He has absolutely no clue.

    Sept. 21, 2012 4:25 p.m.


    The only way to get 47 percent is to use ALL Americans who do not pay income taxes in the equations - including those on disability, low-income senior citizens, and soldiers in active combat. If he did not mean to include them, his number is highly inflated. Either way, it was an ignorant statement.

  • Wonder Provo, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 1:36 p.m.

    @Roland Kayser -- I know they don't realize it because every one of them thinks he's talking about the proverbial "welfare queens" and they know they're not one of THOSE people, so he can't be talking about them. Well, to get that 47% figure he actually had to be talking about them, but they're not going to let facts get in the way of thinking that he wasn't. Or maybe they are ok with being someone saying they are never going to take responsibility for their own lives. Who knows.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 10:55 a.m.

    We certainly don't have 47% of Americans as "moochers", but we do have a lot of them and the number is growing.

    The answer to the question: How many people receive stuff they don't really need, but nevertheless take it because it is offered, and eventually come to expect it? is anybody's guess. Those people tend to become permanently dependent on government and don't put forth as much effort as they are capable of.

    How many is that? It is certainly more than zero and certainly less than half of Americans.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Sept. 21, 2012 8:51 a.m.

    Great article..but..liberals need to come to this wished for conversation with real solutions also. While the Republican mantra of liberals just want to create a society of dependency is pure fiction and a poor excuse for their own failures, liberals do need to understand what creates personal responsibility and accountabily and tailor both social nets, and economic incentives to those realities.

    Republicans for their part also need to understand that unrestricted libertarianism and Hayekian economics over time do exactly the opposite of creating a society of self reliant citizens.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 8:48 a.m.

    The actual figure of people who receive some government money is 41%. That includes everyone who is retired and gets social security and medicare. It include all veterans who receive benefits. It includes farmers who receive crop subsidies and manufacturers who receive export subsidies. It includes all college students who get student loans. It includes people on unemployment. Few of these people are lazy moochers.

    Only 4.4 million Americans received any welfare (TANF) benefits last year. That's under two percent of the population. But when Romney talks about the takers, they're the only people many Americans think about. As has been pointed out, Romney offended many typical Republican voters with his comment, they just may not have realized it.

  • SME Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 6:47 a.m.

    Interesting title, does Mr. Gerson feel that President Obama doesn't pit 'makers' against 'takers' with his frequent "millionaires and billionaires" comments?

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    Sept. 21, 2012 6:29 a.m.

    Romney was not only pandering to his base with his "takers and makers" Ayn Rand statements, but he was flat out wrong. I know plenty of people who don't pay federal taxes and none of them are "takers". My 89 year old mother has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes, and worked over 45 years, in and out of the home. Is she a "taker" now that she lives off Social Security and investments? What about my friend with PTSD, who fought in Viet Nam and has anxiety attacks, and flashback from that lovely experience? He once owned a thriving business, but his disability has forced him to live off SS, and a military pension. Is he part of the 47% that Mitt is talking about?

    It's not he shear inaccuracy of Mitt's remarks that make them offensive, it's that his statements display such a simplistic understanding of the plight of the average American. Mitt seems to have zero empathy, unless it's for the burden of taxation placed on the billionaires he is courting.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 6:29 a.m.

    An interesting piece from a conservative columnist. Republicans should read it and consider the points raised. Romney's claims that he is concerned with the 100% would carry more weight if he put out concrete ideas, proposals or policy. Instead, we can only judge him by his candid, extended comments.

  • Joe Moe Logan, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 6:21 a.m.

    What an outstanding essay. It's only a start, but what a great start.

    Here I see a writer who is not caught up by the talking points of any party, but is taking a step back and looking at the big picture. We have some serious issues in our current political, social, and economic systems; yet most of our attention and time is taken up by the shrill voices on one end of the room or the other, hammering away at a few over-simplified issues.. As Americans, we need to come together in the middle, stop point fingers, and have real conversations. It starts with taking some time to understand the point of view of those who have different opinions than ours.