Friday, October 5, 2012

The 47% Problem (I'm talking to YOU middle-class conservatives).

Ok, so elephant in the room first.  Yes, it's been too damn long since I've posted here.  It's been a pretty hectic year for me, lots going on, new beginnings and changes and all that good stuff.  But, I am hopeful that there will continue to be big things on the horizon and I will become and even louder and more annoying voice in the future. (winky face)

Now, I'm not going to go into a whole thing about the first debate.  We all saw it, Obama came out weak and Romney came out with a head full of steam and a bunch of lies that the president bafflingly let whiff by like Casey at the bat.  Debates are either really important or not important at all, depending on who's side won or lost, but really they only represent one small facet of the campaign process and one that statistically doesn't have much significant impact on the outcome of the election - with the notable exception being the infamous Nixon/Kennedy debate.  Fact is, the first debate is usually all but completely forgotten by the third debate and that is usually a distant memory in the final 2-week push to election day.  It's not the words of prepped candidates on the debate stage that carries weight with swing voters, it's the words those candidates say off the cuff or when they think no one is listening that matter.

When Romney made his now-famous comments about the 47% of Americans he feels are a drain and a burden on society, fostered into a life of entitled dependency and cultivated to be Obama voters through nanny state coddling, he drew a very clear line in the sand between the people he sees as valuable to his vision of America and those he could frankly do without.  The problem with that is, a lot of people who work hard and don't feel like they are dependent, welfare mooches looking for handouts at all are a part of that 47%, even if they don't know it.

If you are a family of 4 and you make the middle-class average of $50,000, chances are you aren't paying income taxes at the end of the year and are instead receiving a refund.  Does that mean you are a leech?  Does that mean you are lazy and want to sit on your ass all day being taken care of by the government?  Of course not.  But, according to Romney, you are.  It's ironic because some of the loudest conservative friends I have fall right into that income bracket.

Just like the retired military vets, elderly and working poor in this country who break their backs every day but don't make enough money to have an actual tax bill at the end of the year.  See, in Romney's world, working your ass off but not ending up rich as a result of it makes you a bum, a mooch and a freeloader.  Who cares you earned that modest paycheck sweating under a hot sun or in a factory or warehouse, if you don't make enough to pay a tax bill at the end of the year, you are a drain on society and Romney doesn't care about you.

The problem is that a lot of Americans who fall squarely into Romney's 47% don't think they are actually a part of it at all.  People who get a refund check every year but bemoan the welfare state draining their income.  People who collect a social security check but think the Democrats want to take away their benefits.  People who have never been anywhere near "rich" in their lives and most likely never will be but are convinced that if they keep voting for the conservative trickle-down economic model that has done nothing but shrink their quality of life for 30 years, that somehow this will all change eventually.  These people think Romney represents them, even as he's declaring them all to be freeloaders and entitled pawns of the Obama welfare agenda.

Romney can say whatever he wants in debates.  He can deny that he supports policy that he's been running on since the primaries and he can accuse Obama of lying as he, himself tells lie after lie without a challenge.  It doesn't matter what he says when he knows we're listening, it matters what he says when he thinks only people who can afford a $50,000 plate of food are listening.  When Romney speaks to "his people", he thinks half the country are worthless scumbags, sucking off of his hard work and success.  He proudly admits that it's "not my job" to worry about those people - half the country.  A man who wants the highest office in the land doesn't care about half the people who live in it.

Now, if you're a millionaire or at least wealthy enough to pay taxes at the end of the year and still have a decent quality of life, then you can agree with Romney's rhetoric all you want.  Frankly, it makes sense to do so.  I've always believed people should vote in their own best interests and support candidates who support them.  My issue is with the vast numbers of conservative voters who AREN'T millionaires who DON'T pay taxes at the end of the year and who DON'T enjoy a good quality of life and look forward to that tax rebate check as a means of trying to get caught up on a year of slowly-accumulating debt.  I will never understand why those people continue to vote for a party that doesn't care about them.  It's not just an opinion anymore, the guy that they picked to run the country on their behalf has flat out ADMITTED it.  At what point do you wake up and smell the $50,000 a cup coffee?

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