The National Catholic Review

I saw THE video last night (see below) after I got home from work and my first reaction was: what's the big deal? I didn't hear much that I hadn't already heard from the candidate in the subtext of his previous public declarations and nothing he said seemed likely to disturb his base. If anything I was impressed by the directness and confidence of his delivery. There was none of the halting, the searching for the right words, the forced chuckle or smile that I had found disquieting about Romney's public persona. He seemed a man comfortable in his shoes, nothing phony or indecisive about him. I had had trouble imagining Romney as the guy who could make tough calls in the Oval office, but this guy I was watching seemed a completely different animal. Perhaps he just neeed to chill with his homies in order to be himself.

But while I was focusing on the body language, other people were focusing on, well, the language language. The Mother Jones video has blasted across the internet and people are talking and not just the 47 percent that Romney seemed to dismiss as hopeless moochers and burdens to the rest of us (wait a minute, I'm in that 47 percent!). I don't think I could do a better job of dissecting Romney's comments than David Brooks, not exactly an anarchist's hearthrob, did this morning, so let's just tune in to Brook's "Thurston Howell Romney:

Romney, who criticizes President Obama for dividing the nation, divided the nation into two groups: the makers and the moochers. Forty-seven percent of the country, he said, are people “who are dependent upon government, who believe they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to take care of them, who believe they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”

This comment suggests a few things. First, it 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.... It says that Romney doesn’t know much about the political culture. Americans haven’t become childlike worshipers of big government. On the contrary, trust in government has declined.... 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.... 

 Romney’s comments also reveal that he has lost any sense of the social compact. In 1987, during Ronald Reagan’s second term, 62 percent of Republicans believed that the government has a responsibility to help those who can’t help themselves. Now, according to the Pew Research Center, only 40 percent of Republicans believe that.

The Republican Party, and apparently Mitt Romney, too, has shifted over toward a much more hyperindividualistic and atomistic social view — from the Reaganesque language of common citizenship to the libertarian language of makers and takers. There’s no way the country will trust the Republican Party to reform the welfare state if that party doesn’t have a basic commitment to provide a safety net for those who suffer for no fault of their own.

Comments

JOHN SULLIVAN | 9/19/2012 - 12:30pm
#29 Who might be this decent, successful, hardworking man?
J Cosgrove | 9/19/2012 - 11:14am
Michael Brooks,

''(JR, I think you misunderstood me)''


I was responding to Josh DeCuir's comment.  A lower stable, simple tax policy is part of the solution but only one of many things that has to be changed.  And one that encourages the rich to allocate their money to risky investments.  The average person hasn't a clue what this world of risky investments is about but it is what drives their living standard.  That was one of the insights from another book recently published, Unintended Consequences.  Some of the rich get very richer but the real winners are the average person who now gets to use these innovations in their daily life.
JOHN SULLIVAN | 9/18/2012 - 3:06pm
Romney's callous disdain for the 47% is abundantly clear. It's precisely how they converse in the precincts of the country club. Put a fork in him, he's lost all credibility with working and middle class Americans. Brooks is right-he is absolutely clueless!
Rick Fueyo | 9/18/2012 - 1:11pm
Wee said Josh.  Rameshs is correct on that point - has been for awhile.  But he is rare in that regard. Most who repeat that "statistic" imagine a freeloading grifting component, not the working poor/elderly/students which constitute the vast majority of that component.

It is an unfortunate outgrowth of an attempt to fabricate an intellectual justification for an otherwise difficult to defend worldview.
ed gleason | 9/19/2012 - 4:46pm
David... now take a shot at explaining to us the two unfunded government wars  George . Bush started.
David Smith | 9/19/2012 - 4:34pm
Stanley (#32), because of their taking power, governments have enormous amounts of money to spend immediately on a single politically popular item - much more money than any individual non-governmental enterprise. Thus, communications satellites. Governments also have the power to avoid their own regulations, to cut across jurisdictions that would probably stop private investors. The internet, perhaps. And they have the power to tax and to redirect national resources in an emergency. Wars, and all the technological improvements that come from them.

Governments, on the other hand, are, necessarily and always, large, clumsy, and usually not very intelligent bureaucracies. Such animals are not able to think outside the box, to take politically unpopular chances, to change direction on a dime, to adjust rapidly to changing circumstances.

One example. The space program, as we know it, was necessarily a government project, because it was a crash program to do something that was enormously expensive: put an American on the moon before the Russians could put a Russian there. However, that enormous expense was, in retrospect, horribly wasteful. We can now do a lot of the things the government did then much more intelligently and cheaply.

Like an individual with a lot of money in the bank and no immediate need for it - or like an individual with no spending limit on his credit cards - governments are free to indulge themselves with any project that suddenly becomes politically popular. And, of course, they do. And, of course, we have no choice, as taxpayers, but to back them up.

Progressives, in particular, I think, should always be keenly aware of the dangers inherent in government power, because progressives are the ones most enthusiastic about using it in ever wider ways. If you're using a chain saw, you need to be very, very careful. If you're juggling a dozen running chain saws, ''careful'' acquires an entirely different meaning.
J Cosgrove | 9/19/2012 - 2:17pm
Mr. Kopacz,


Innovation has a lot of antecedents.  Some of which is government research.  It is just one of them but a very useful source.  Sometimes the government does the research itself, sometimes they farm it out.  And when they do it can come from private business or universities.  I doubt anyone wants to limit government research too much and does not appreciate what they have done in the past.  But businesses and universities often do their own research not funded by the government.  Both approaches have served us well.


Research is often a starting point for innovation, but certainly not the only one, it takes several different skill sets to make something happen and basic research is just one of the possible mix.  For example, there is the inventor of the idea which can be more than one person or it can be a lab or some other form of cooperation or it can come from government sponsored research or just be a wild idea someone has.  Next is the entrepreneur who is the moving force behind bringing this idea to some form of physical reality and it may not be the inventor of the idea.  Next there is a source of financing to provide the physical means of implementing the product.  And finally there is the management of the process that brings the innovation to fruition.  Sometimes it happens within large corporations (Ford and the production line) and sometimes it happens in basements or garages (Apple computer).  You or others may want to add other steps to this process.


Probably the most important of the various players in this process is the entrepreneur(s) who becomes the driving force for the innovation and may not actually be part of the management team in the end.  I know of someone who has these entrepreneurial skills but did not fit into the final business because there was really no place for him in the selling and managing of the product he developed.  He got a decent payout and then went on tinkering with new ideas.


Let's take probably the biggest driver of our prosperity today, Silicon Valley.  It is an offshoot of military research with Stanford University and the surrounding high tech companies that sprang up to originally implement the technology.  The main force was the dean of the engineering school at Stanford and had its origin in anti air warfare during WWII.  This man was Frederick Terman and the Engineering School at Stanford is now named after him.  One of the many things he did was established an industrial park on Stanford property that led to a long a close relationship between business and the university to provide the government with cutting edge technology.  There is a video about the origins of Silicon Valley.  It is long but very interesting.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTC_RxWN_xo

Stanford, Berkeley and I am sure many other universities sponsor programs in entrepreneurship and regularly bring in people to discuss their experiences.


The government is not a high risk taker as they use other people's money.  It is when one jeopardizes their own future and their own money that one can apply the term ''high risk.''
Stanley Kopacz | 9/19/2012 - 12:08pm
How much innovation comes from the support of money and enabling technology of the government, the true high risk taker?  Early impetus for integrated circuits came from the military. Jobs' I-pads wouldn't know where they are if there wasn't a global positioning system put up by the government and maintained by the Air Force out of Colorado Springs.  So we can say that Jobs was a parasite off the job creator government.  It would be more precise to say that the neat categories of neoliberals are mental constructs more than reflections of fuzzy, complex, messy, historical reality.
Mike Brooks | 9/19/2012 - 10:16am
I used to be a liberal democrat but started leaning to the right after I became an independent contractor.  Amongst the many changes in my life that I experienced then, two things stick out that I think changed my political perspective:  1.  Instead of having a monthly salary deposited to my bank account, the taxes having been invisibly removed, I had to regularly start writing checks to pay my federal and state taxes; and 2. I had to make frequent visits to the post office.

As much as writing checks to the government impacted my voting preference, I believe that Romney's proposed tax reduction would have no impact on the voting preference (JR, I think you misunderstood me) of those who do not pay taxes.  Some politician or pundit recently proposed that everyone should have to pay at least a token amount to the federal government in income tax; I'd go one further and say that everyone should have to write a check to pay those taxes. 

When you feel the pain of paying for something, you're likely to pay attention to how your money is being spent.  Once you start doing that, you will never view the long lines and the smug attitude of the slow-motion employees in the post office the same way again.  Anybody remember the phrase, "taxation without representation?"

J Cosgrove | 9/19/2012 - 9:30am
Here is an interesting analysis of the news for the last week.  It lists 17 potential front page stories and guess which the MSM runs with.


http://news.investors.com/politics-andrew-malcolm/091912-626228-obama-mideast-diplomacy-collapses-and-romney-gets-blamed.htm?p=full 


Since the Democrats have absolutely nothing to recommend anything they do or have done, their strategy is one of a thousad cuts.  Somehow make a decent, successful, hard working man look like an ogre while our current president who does nothing but make speeches and fund raise look like a safe choice.  Because Obama can read a teleprompter well, we are in a big mess. A cartoon from the other day


http://www.lucianne.com/images/lucianne/DailyPhoto/2012-09-15-UXRNF.jpg
 
ed gleason | 9/19/2012 - 12:27am
'The experiences of real people in the economy and not the wishful fantasies of the biased and elitist media will determine who wins this election.'

Tom must have gotten the memo..'So let's use this biased elitist media to post our complaints about the biased elitist media'. 

GOP is running against the 47%, the media. and the Latinos, Asians. and African Americans, the young collegians, the entire teckie crowd, the un-employed and employed government workers. and a lot of old people like me.
BUT hey ..the GOP has the Tea Party, birthers and Clint Eastwood [he maybe] .
 
Tom Maher | 9/18/2012 - 11:49pm
This artiicle is an example of advocacy journalism in support of (who else?)  Barack Obama. 

How many times have we seen this media bias before?  The media elites are ga ga for a candidate invent story lines and narratives.   Unless people are very suggestable and gullible people are aware of the the acute biases the media and discount the story line accordingly.  Most people are not even aware of this story or if they are find it refrehing that someone is criticizing the politcal and economic stucture that maintains  a jobless economy.  The economic policy of the Obama has failed to grow the private esector and create jobs.  People are unable to find jobs and more and more jobs are being lost creating a net loss of jobs over time with almost 89 million people no longer participate  in the job market.  Some economist estimate the real unemployment percentage  to be approaching 15% or higher not the 8.1% reported.  Romney should expand his argument critical of the economic status quo which is failing to increase jobs in the private sector.  The experiences of real people in the economy and not the wishful fantasies of the biased and elitist media will determine who wins this election.
David Smith | 9/18/2012 - 10:28pm
As someone who famously discerned Barack Obama's greatness by the crease in his pants, David Brooks is the last person to be lecturing Mitt Romney about political cluelessness.
Hey, a lot of fair-minded people were taken in by Obama in 2008. Only in retrospect was he too good to be true. 

A large part of the blame, I think, has to go to John McCain, who made an awful choice of running mate.

Americans seem unable to resist a pretty face. Bush was prettier than Gore and probably nowhere near as awful as the media think he was and we sort of - sort of - lucked out with Clinton, but Obama has been a major disappointment. The question in my mind is whether the Republicans are a fit party at this point in their evolution to take charge again. It's a hard choice this time around. Neither candidate is good enough. It's a pity. We should do better.
J Cosgrove | 9/18/2012 - 9:02pm
''Mr. Cosgrove, as a Republican, I just don't buy the argument that slashing rates again will jump-start the kind of economic growth we saw from the '80s thru 2008.  ''


A lot of things will help jump start the economy and a predictable simple tax policy is definitely one of them.  It is not the only thing necessary but it is essential.  There is a book recently published with several essays on how to get back to 4% annual growth.  (The 4% Solution: Unleashing the Economic Growth America Needs)  A stable predictable lower tax rate is one of the solutions but there are many others.  Interesting it is actually the rich which should be the target of tax relief and I know that rubs most here the wrong way.  It seems so counter intuitive.  It is not that I love the rich or am one of them but I know it is the rich that will invest in risky areas that create innovation that drives growth and jobs.   And the more money we can provide them, the better off the middle and lower classes will be.  Sounds contradictory but it is true.


We are also reaching a tipping point in terms of federal debt which makes it hard to return to pass levels let alone 4% growth.  We have passed a federal debt to GDP rate of about 100% which is way above what many see as a critical point to allow additional growth.  Too many people receiving money from Washington is a symptom of this and Romney is right that the 47% represent a major problem.  However, people will use Romney's comments to demogauge him over it as we have seen in many of the comments here.  Reducing what the 47% take from the government is not a reduction of the safety net by any real amount.  If we only returned to the levels of the Clinton years we would be much better off.


There are several other steps that must be implemented besides tax and spending policy if we want to return to long term growth.  Obama will frustrate most if not all of them.  There is no future in anything he is proposing.  Presidents of themselves cannot create growth, but they can sure impede it.  Obama has no view of the future that includes innovation, only one of restriction and mandates and redistribution.  I don't know where he thinks growth comes from but it will be necessary to pay all his bills.  It does not just magically appear.  Right now we are in a downward spiral where the left is constantly demanding more as we contract.  Ryan's very generous budget is not enough. They want more.  Every contraction creates more people in jeopardy but the only response from the left is to demand more from the golden goose which then creates additional contractions.  There is no answer to this except to demonize Romney.  They have a failed economic approach but they will be happy if Obama wins and Romney loses.  But they have no future of their own to offer, only a temporary feel good that they won an election.  But what will they have after they have won?  They haven't got a clue and it won't be nice.


Ironically one wild card that could help the economy is the energy growth from oil and gas fields in Texas, North Dakota and the Mid Atlantic areas.  Something the Democrats hate almost as much as tax cuts could save them temporarily.  A lot of our current growth is due to this.  It must really frost the Greens to know that these new sources of energy end up helping Obama but I am sure they will remain quiet till he is elected.  They are even thinking of drilling in the San Joaquin Valley but no one in Northern or Southern California cares about the Valley.
ed gleason | 9/18/2012 - 8:27pm
Let's talk about family values? The best part about this Romney video is that Jimmy Carter's grandson was the one who dug up the tape. .After Romney. continually using Grandpa Carter as a campaign punching bag I say family pay back is fun . Pious rebuttal statements not welcome..
ed gleason | 9/18/2012 - 7:28pm
Romney is so inept with all his blathering on and on about the worthless poor... 47% etc.. .At least  Reagan did his succinctly with a short 'welfare queens' and let it go at that.
Class warfare buffoons.
 Fox News constantly says [4 times] Romney was talking 'off the cuff'
He was standing up talking to $50,000-a-plate donors.. If he can do an "off the cuff' to $50,000 suckers he may be even cooler than Obama!
joseph o'leary | 9/18/2012 - 4:27pm
As a fan of Thurston Howell III, I take umbrage at Mr. Brooks' allusion. ;-)
Vince Killoran | 9/18/2012 - 7:21pm
Vincent @ #17: The fact is, nearly half the nation pays little or  no taxes and recieves federal benefits. 

Well, that's true-if you leave out state and local taxes as well as Medicare and Social Secuirty; some pay property taxes and they all pay sales taxes.
Crystal Watson | 9/18/2012 - 3:18pm
If Romney thinks that those in that 47% (which includes me) do not vote, he is seriously mistaken. 
james belna | 9/18/2012 - 5:40pm
As someone who famously discerned Barack Obama's greatness by the crease in his pants, David Brooks is the last person to be lecturing Mitt Romney about political cluelessness. I suppose that from the perspective of the New York Times editorial page, Romney's comments are extremely unnerving, stupid, and cruel. To the average voter, however, they very neatly encapsulate the two competing visions in this campaign. If you believe in Santa Claus, and unlimited free stuff from the government, vote for Obama; if you believe that there is no such thing as a free lunch, and you are tired of some people helping themselves to half of other people's sandwiches and not even saying thanks, vote for Romney.
J Cosgrove | 9/18/2012 - 2:54pm
''What Romney gets right is this: his plan of cutting federal taxes will have no impact on those who are not paying federal taxes;''


That is not true.  It is what will lead to more employment for many and increased economic activity which will certainly help the 47% in lots of ways.  People tend to look at the tax code and tax rates as a static process when in fact it is a very dynamic process having secondary, tertiary and many other consequences which are hard to predict.  A good tax policy encourages investment and growth.  A poor tax policy only looks on how it can get money now and could care less about the future and is used by politicians for social and political ways.  Let's punish the rich.


For example, when Steve Jobs left Apple in the mid 80's he essentially walked away with $200 million for his share in Apple.  Seven years earlier his take would have been about a third of that under the tax laws that were essentially left over from the New Deal era of the 1930's.  A very nice payout either way but how did Jobs use that money.  He started a new computer company and invested in a new operating system but what really drained his bank account was this computer animation project he got involved with.  Every month they would ask him for a million or two more to finance their dreams.  He complied but almost ran out of money and was about to cut them off unless he use all his money.


Then this company produced Toy Story and Jobs made a new fortune and most of his money at the end was from PIXAR.  Yes, Steve Jobs built PIXAR before he built Apple a second time.  But without the added $130 million this might never have happened nor would he had been looked at so favorably by the floundering Apple company as a possible savior.  He would have been just another Silicon Valley guy who blew his wad. And apparently there are a lot of them.


There are many other stories like this but maybe none quite so dramatic.  Steve Jobs is a legend but he needed those low tax rates on his stock to finance what is a significant part of our prosperity today and guess who benefits.  Certainly Jobs got richer but all of us are a lot better off by being able to use the technology and millions more directly by their employment.  And many of the 47% were made better off.


So the 47% are greatly affected by the tax codes in many ways it is hard to see ahead of time and that goes as well for the rest of us.  And what about that operating system that Jobs spent tens of millions on.  It was meant for a super academic computer but that didn't work out.  It eventually became OSX for the MAC and variants are in the IPhones and IPads.  Boy am I glad we had low tax rates for people like Steve Jobs.  And the 47% should be grateful too.
T BLACKBURN | 9/18/2012 - 5:38pm
"Entitlement" is a word the dismal Democrats gave to things like Social Security and Medicare to which people gained a right through their own efforts - paying into the program. The disastrous Ds were trying to avoid "handout" or "government program" and trying to establish that if someone is getting this or that government benefit it is because he deserves it by virtue of conforming to certain criteria.

The word they chose had previously had a negative connotation that would apply to the Romneys, as when Mrs. R said, "It's our turn." Her husband talks as if he should  be president by virtue of having made a lot of money and being a heckuva good guy who could score a great table at any restaurant.  He acts as if he is entitled to the best of everything, from his wife's Caddys and their garages to, oh by the way, the White House because of  who he is.

The Republicans turned the Democrats' version around and make it sound like soldiers in combat, people who get black lung mining the Republicans's second favorite source of energy and low-income retirees have this sense of entitlement or deserving what others can't have that used to be sneeringly attached to Richie Rich and his ilk. Democats sat around with their mouths agape and failed to protect their euphemism. The victims will be the people who earned what they are getting or are getting it because of circumstances beyond their control.

The "explanation" for his words Mr. Romney has developed during this day is laughable. But the Democrats will sit by haplessly while he sells it. I think they secretly believe it.
Michael Casey | 9/18/2012 - 2:38pm
Asking Mitt Romney about the middle class/working poor (47%) is like asking the bishops about women' rights: he simply has no experience in this realm and therefore his comments sound astoundingly out of touch.  Doesn't mean he's wrong (or right), but his utter lack of understanding makes him, like many bishops, sound more callous and clueless than he probably is.  I doubt he even understands what all the fuss and frustration is about. Lucky him.
ed gleason | 9/18/2012 - 5:34pm
Did Romney place Priests and nuns [no income tax]  among the moochers in Romney's 47%?.. Nuns have long experience being dissed by the 'suits' ..so no nuns' votes for Romney is a sure thing..
Priests on the other hand have been always been romanced by the 'suits' ,so Romney most likely  will let them know somehow he 'really did mean them'.  
Mike Brooks | 9/18/2012 - 1:48pm
It seems that Romney really mixes things up here (intentionally?), and I think it's because of the 47% figure that he uses. 

Polls are showing Obama with around 47-50% support.  47% of citizens don't pay Federal income tax.  And, according to the Census Bureau, 49% of all Americans live in a home that gets direct monetary benefits from the federal government. 

Of Obama's roughly 50% support, we know that many of these people do pay federal income tax and are not on government assistance.

Of the roughly 50% of people who do not pay federal income tax, many of them do not support Obama (based, e.g., on social issues) and are not on government assistance.

And of the roughly 50% receiving government checks, many do pay federal income tax and do not support Obama.

What Romney gets right is this: his plan of cutting federal taxes will have no impact on those who are not paying federal taxes; that about 50% of the voters will vote for Obama no matter what, so he needs to focus on the 10-15% of independents/undecideds; and that conflating the 50% of Obama supporters with the 50% of people who do not pay federal taxes and the 50% of people are receiving government checks might influence the voting preferences of those who don't like the idea of government taking from hardworking folks and giving to the lazy.

 

ed gleason | 9/18/2012 - 5:22pm
Romney will most likely lose the election but he is certain to carry the two biggest federal tax gobbling states in the Union. Idaho and Alaska, these two states  will vote for him big time ..even the 47% of voters he disses. go figure
Amy Ho-Ohn | 9/18/2012 - 1:04pm
I think everybody should have ("is entitled to" is kind of a loaded phrase) basic health care, food, housing, clean water, heat, electricity and schools for their children, even if they're felons, even if they're drug addicts, even if they're in a coma. I don't think that makes them parasites. Prosperity is a game of chance; everybody who plays has a part in making the game happen. If there were no losers, there could be no winners.

Do people exist who deliberately refuse to work when they can and choose instead to live on government benefits? Yes, probably, but not many, and they're sure not living in style.

Mitt Romney is a very smart man, a very successful man and (I think) actually a very good man. He's not a particularly charming man. Like a lot of very smart, successful people, he doesn't really respect dumb, unsuccessful people much.

But who do you want in the White House? A dumb guy who pretends to respect you or a smart guy who doesn't bother? Remember, you don't have to have a beer with him (He doesn't drink beer.) you just have to let him figure out how to promote economic growth and keep the kooks from blowing the planet up.

(Full disclosure: I pay income taxes. I'm not close to being in the 1%, but I'm pretty safely in the 20%)
Vincent Gaitley | 9/18/2012 - 5:20pm
Geez, another candidate dares to speak the impolitic truth and is blasted for it.  The fact is, nearly half the nation pays little or  no taxes and recieves federal benefits.  The other fact is arithimetical, namely, this can't continue.  And for the record, I believe it's immoral to lure folks into dependency, keep them there, and then demand their political loyalty.  Really, it's a kind of slavery.
Joshua DeCuir | 9/18/2012 - 1:01pm
As a Republican, I'm afraid to say it, but the answer is "most probably".  Romney is a deeply-flawed candidate who has consistently run a deeply-flawed campaign.

And before we start the "liberal media" bonfire, just remember, that Romney's comment isn't even reflective of well-considered conservative policy:  http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/09/the-conservative-wonk-who-tried-to-avert-the-47-disaster/262503/   

A
nd Barack Obama's political luck is simply astounding.
Patricia Bergeron | 9/18/2012 - 4:58pm
I must confess I bristle when people label every person who gets government assistance as "entitled" and "lazy." People with disabilities, cognitive and/or physical, are not by definition "lazy." Nor are people who have handicapped children, the working poor, or the elderly.

I visit a 91 year old neighbor who is now in a nursing home, her stay paid for by Medicaid. She is not and never has been "lazy," nor was her deceased husband. Both of them worked hard all their lives. Unfortuantely, they were not lucky enough to work for Bain Capital or Steve Jobs, or to have children to take care of them.  

What Mitt Romney and others like him fail to realize is that there are real people out there, good people, who are struggling - maybe because of  bad luck or some other unfortunate circumstance. They are not lazy. They are not freeloaders. They do not feel "entitled." If anything, one could argue that it is the country club set who feels entitled.

Give me Obama any day. At least he has a heart (NOT to mention social pragmatics!).

By the way all you posters with Irish last names... You may recall that certain British politicians felt it unwise to provide aid to Ireland during the potato famine for fear of creating a "dependent" class.
Marie Rehbein | 9/18/2012 - 12:27pm
The first two comments indicate that David Brooks' words were ignored or not read.

For example, some people work but earn so little that no taxes are due. 

These people are not moochers.

To say that the 47% of people who presumably pay no income tax (but who pay other taxes, like social security, medicare, sales, and property) are moochers is just nastiness.  

It's probably the kind of thing Jesus had in mind when he said that it would be harder for a rich man to get into heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.

Wealth distances people from reality. 
David Smith | 9/18/2012 - 4:55pm

As always, David Brooks is a good read. Thanks for the link.


I suspect what we have in Romney is a pretty good man inclined to say what he thinks. When the national media are listening, that's bad for your health. It's kinda surprising that he made it to the governorship of Massachusetts. Special circumstances, no doubt.


Obama's tone deaf, too, but he has a much prettier persona and, of course, he's young and African American. Special circumstances again.


The country will stumble along drunkenly no matter which mediocrity is elected. Too bad we can't do better. We have a poor system for choosing excellence in leadership.


Vince Killoran | 9/18/2012 - 12:22pm
Re. Tim's "the RNC emphasizes self-reliance, paying one's way and independence":



Enron, Wall Street Bailout, major tax cuts for the rich, dumping chemicals on communities, government handouts for exportng jobs, prison-industrial complex, clogging our courts w/their litigation, clogging our roads w/their vehicles, depending on our public schools to educate their employees, using the research of our world-class public universities to open product line. . .

Some self-reliance; some independence.
Joshua DeCuir | 9/18/2012 - 4:53pm
"People tend to look at the tax code and tax rates as a static process when in fact it is a very dynamic process having secondary, tertiary and many other consequences which are hard to predict.  A good tax policy encourages investment and growth.  A poor tax policy only looks on how it can get money now and could care less about the future and is used by politicians for social and political ways."

Mr. Cosgrove, as a Republican, I just don't buy the argument that slashing rates again will jump-start the kind of economic growth we saw from the '80s thru 2008.  But we've slashed rates pretty low now (in fact, Romney is partly right with respect to the little number of people who actually pay federal income taxes).  This worked miracles in the '80s when Reagan lowered the top rates, but we have squeezed all the blood out of that turnip.  A middle class person looking for higher wages is simply not convinced anymore that cutting Mitt Romney's tax rates by another 20% will result in substantial economic growth.  We need a new argument.

What we need are systematic reforms of various levels.  What we need is a reform of the entire tax code.  And only Republicans are in the position to really make this argument.  They could argue it is (a) pro-business (by cutting the corporate tax rate as Pres. Obama has proposed) AND (b) pro-middle class by reducing loopholes that many take advantage of AND raise revenue for ending the deficit.  Why Romney has not championed this kind of common sense tax reform is but one of the mysteries I have as to why this campaign has been so poorly run. 
John Barbieri | 9/18/2012 - 12:09pm
Well said, Mr. O'Leary!
David Smith | 9/20/2012 - 5:30pm

Missionary wars, Ed. He wanted to impose the blessings of democracy on the benighted people of Afghanistan and Iraq. A familiar theme in modern American history, no?


The most pertinent point about that here, perhaps, is that, as the guy at the helm of an imperial presidency, he could, by fiat. Governments are able to behave like that, even when checks and balances make it a little more difficult. Too much money and power at the top.
Tim O'Leary | 9/18/2012 - 12:03pm
There is nothing substantial in this new ''scare story'' cooked up by Mother Jones (obviously kept under wraps from the May speech). Although the Mainstream Media will do their best for their candidate, in their objective ''fact-checking'' dishonesty.

It is true that the RNC emphasizes self-reliance, paying one's way and independence, and the DNC emphasizes the things government can give you. But when the government owes $16 trillion, and can't encourage any significant new jobs, this cannot go on forever. 

Jobs, Debt, Abortion, Religious Liberty: Change is our only Hope