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September 23, 2014

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j. patrick coolican:

Portraits of the 47 percent don’t match Romney’s narrative

Image

Leila Navidi

Ronald Gladstone, Zulma Pleitez and Pam Ford photographed on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012.

J. Patrick Coolican

J. Patrick Coolican

Mitt Romney is gracing us with his presence in Las Vegas today.

In case you missed it this week, Mother Jones magazine showed video on its website of Romney telling a group of wealthy donors back in May that people who vote for President Barack Obama — nearly half the country — are “dependent upon government,” “believe they are victims,” “believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”

Also, this 47 percent of the country who are leeches are the same 47 percent who pay no federal income tax.

Romney is basically saying that nearly half the country doesn’t contribute its fair share and is mooching off the other half.

“And so my job is not to worry about those people — I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives,” Romney said.

Well, given that we’re talking about half the country, these parasites must be all around us, so I decided to find some.

“That’s me,” quipped Pam Ford, 67, a retired human resources manager. She retired early to take care of her dying mother, and now she gets by on Social Security and Medicare, an annuity and a small retirement nest egg. (Having suffered a beating in the 2008 market crash, she’s understandably against the Republican fantasy of privatizing Social Security.)

With her mortgage deduction and medical bills, she winds up paying no federal income tax, though, of course, she pays lots of other taxes, especially at the state and local level.

“Romney said we shouldn’t worry about the 47 percent because we’re all deadbeats and we’re gonna vote for Obama. He’s out of touch with reality. He’s talking about the middle class,” she said.

Ronald Gladstone is a kitchen supervisor and Culinary Union member at the D — the downtown hotel that was formerly Fitzgeralds — for $15.80 per hour. He also works at Cashman Field, for a total of 65 hours per week. He pays federal income tax, but his 26-year-old daughter, who has spina bifida and is severely disabled, does not, and she receives Medicaid and Social Security disability.

Gladstone’s oldest son is a 31-year-old Army vet who served three terms in Iraq, is attending college on the GI Bill and isn’t on the federal income tax rolls.

Zulma Pleitez, another Culinary member, is a single mom of six children who is a room attendant at Encore. She cleans 12 rooms during an eight-hour shift and makes $16 per hour, plus tips. (Note to out-of-town readers: If you do not tip room attendants, you are a lowlife.) Pleitez pays 7.6 percent of her income in federal payroll taxes, which her employer matches, plus state and local taxes, but she doesn’t make enough to pay federal income tax. She also receives food stamps.

Pleitez, a legal resident on her way to citizenship, came here nearly 20 years ago from El Salvador because, she said, “I wanted to give my kids a future I couldn’t have in my country.” Her English is strong, but she wanted to be precise, so an interpreter helped.

(Gladstone and Pleitez have taken a leave of absence from their jobs and a cut in pay to work for the union this election season. The Culinary has played a central role in building what middle class we have in Las Vegas. They fear Romney would continue the decades-long assault on labor unions.)

Christina Gordon works a 40-hour week at Wal-Mart and is studying criminal justice at Nevada State College. Her husband works for a subcontractor, but together they don’t make enough to pay federal income tax. They receive food and housing assistance and their children are insured through Medicaid.

She works 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., picks up her children at 4 and gets them busy with homework. After they go to bed, she does her own homework until well after midnight.

In Romney’s telling, she’s a deadbeat.

By now, Romney’s fascinating theory has been so shredded by so many commenters on the left and right that it’s become Monty Python’s Black Knight, its arms and legs severed, nothing left but a babbling head.

Let’s review anyway:

Welfare queens? Hardly. The middle class and the wealthy are also recipients of government programs. As the Associated Press reported this week, 50 million Americans collect Social Security and 46 million receive Medicare health coverage.

There’s no means test for these programs directed at the elderly, so the beneficiaries of both programs include poor, middle class and rich.

This shouldn’t be surprising. The land grant colleges, the GI Bill and other college aid, along with Medicare and Social Security — these were all government programs of one kind or another designed to build and maintain a strong middle class, and they’ve been wildly successful.

Another 3 million Americans receive veterans compensation. Perhaps today in Las Vegas, Romney will finally grasp his charismatic power to persuade these veterans to “take responsibility and care” for their own lives.

As we’ve seen from the people I interviewed, Romney the teetotaler knows more about whiskey than he does about the average American tax burden, unless he was being willfully dishonest, which is always a possibility.

Although it’s true that 46.4 percent paid no federal income tax, nearly two-thirds of that group pay federal payroll taxes, which are 7.6 percent of income, matched by their employer. (Add these together, and they’re greater than Romney’s own 13.9 percent effective 2010 federal tax rate.) Also, the 47 percent figure is artificially high because of the recession, when many Americans suffered a steep loss of income.

In addition, these Americans pay state and local taxes, which tend to be regressive, meaning the poor pay a greater share of their income than the rich.

Indeed, here in Nevada, the poorest 20 percent of the population pays nearly 9 percent of their income in state and local taxes while the richest 1 percent — people like Romney — pay less than 2 percent of their income, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

See the chart we put together; when federal, state and local taxes are added together, the poor and working classes pay substantial taxes.

Among the other Americans who pay no federal income tax, most are retired, disabled or students.

For good measure, Romney doesn’t know anything about politics. The states with the most families who pay no federal income taxes are concentrated in the Bible Belt, which will back Romney. Elderly voters are backing Romney, too, and they are the biggest beneficiaries of Social Security and Medicare.

In other words, he was insulting his own voters.

I’ll close with a personal example: My sister is married to a retired U.S. Army colonel. Near the end of his military service, the family’s tax benefits included child tax credits for five children and deductions for mortgage interest and charitable giving. Also, a small amount of his military income was nontaxable.

When all was said and done, they owed no federal income tax.

Romney once wrote a book called “No Apology.” (Available this November in every bargain bin in every bookstore in America.)

On this issue, I would say Romney should consider another Romney flip-flop and offer an apology to the tens of millions of Americans he’s insulted.

If it’s too distasteful, maybe he can pay someone to do it for him.

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  1. It would be bad enough if Romney only had a distorted view of who 47% of us are, but, in truth, the percentage is probably much higher...maybe closer to 98%. His understanding of us is not only distorted but distant.

  2. <<Dave Brook says "In 1980, about 30 percent of Americans received some form of government benefits. Today, about 49 percent do>>

    Why is that, Future? Did it ever occur to you that the population has aged; many of those 49% are on Social Security and Medicare. Someone 70 years old today and on SS and Medicare was only 32 years old back in 1980. A lot of those on SS and Medicare don't make enough money to pay federal income taxes if they work but have no choice but to work to help make ends meet. Believe or not, some do not qualify for food stamp help; if they do, the amount is so pitiful, they are lucky to buy food for 1-2 weeks let alone a month.

    <<Romney may have the percentage wrong but the fact remains that there are far too many people in this country that abuse the system>>

    @NVFisherman: you are correct in this and I agree with this statement. I am ALL FOR drug testing for everyone wanting government assistance in any way, shape or form (and I'm a democrat!!). I live in a subsidized apartment complex. Section 8 vouchers are not accepted. IF one of the qualifications to secure an apartment here was a drug test, it would weed out the undesirables that live here. In the last year, there were 2 major drug busts, one involving FOUR apartments, in my complex. Chances are they would never have been approved to live here if a drug test was required above and beyond if they were drug tested for their jobs.

    99% of the people who live here (some have lived here for years, many pay full market rent with no subsidy and I am one of those tenants) are good, decent people who all work (one of the basic qualifications to live here - you MUST have a verifiable income). Many are single parents. We have a good number of seniors on Social Security here and their rent is adjusted according to their income from SS. If there weren't places like this complex available to people, where would they go? But it's the a-holes that give everyone else a bad name.

    I say drug test the hell out of everyone. You have to be drug tested to get a job these days, so why not drug test if you want government aid?

  3. Good article by Patrick. Some of you "conservatives" will find fault with all of this, as indicated in some of the posts but Romney even insulted those who are going to vote for him. The man has such a disconnect with, and misunderstanding of, the American people he wants to govern, it is scary.

  4. The core of Mitt Romney's campaign is based on Lies, distorting the facts, and using misleading statements.

    Mitt Romney and the Republican Party are tying their best to confuse and misinform the undecided independent voters. In addition, voter suppression is being waged against minority populations using fraudulent allegations of voter fraud, which is non-existence as said by many lawmakers and supported by recent rulings from the Federal Courts. We are seeing this assault on minority voters up front and personal from the southern State Republican Governors.

    Sadly...sadly, Mitt Romney is not concerned about Nevada. Mitt Romney is not concerned about America as a Nation, based on the lies and changing positions on issues throughout Romney's political life. Mitt Romney lied when he ran for Governor in Massachusetts. Mitt Romney political life has been, and continues to be, one of lies, distortions and misleading statements.

    What is most disturbing many working people see from political figures like Mitt Romney is how they profess their values, their upbringing, the some called core of their family values and the community associations. What kind of family, community, or associates teach an adult Man or Woman to outright lie to millions of people with no shame?? No shame from Mitt Romney's Wife, his five Sons, his campaign, or from his supporters. Would you vote for a liar? The America People do not want someone like Mitt Romney representing the country in any government capacity!

    Mitt Romney, go home. The American People have had enough lying and dishonest politicians in Washington, DC.

    The fear many Americans have about Mitt Romney, he will send us into World War III.

  5. It's the fundamental dishonesty at the core of the GOP.

    When it was revealed Mitt Romney only paid 13% in taxes, the GOP apologists ranted that he was just paying what the government required. They said he was just following the tax code. All hail the wealthy white plutocrat!

    Yet the GOP seem to have such hatred and disdain for the workers who follow the same laws...

    The cruel irony in all of this is the truth the GOP will not face. When Future and the other GOP mouthpieces crow about 47% receiving a "handout," they don't tell you which party voted over and over for those very handouts.

    The GOP is largely to blame for the 47%.

    "When Ronald Reagan signed into law the Tax Reform Act of 1986, he boasted, "Millions of the working poor will be dropped from the tax rolls altogether, and families will get a long-overdue break with lower rates and an almost doubled personal exemption."

    "Both the initial Reagan tax cuts of 1981 and indexing income taxes to inflation in 1985 had a similar effect."

    "In the 1990s, the Republican-controlled Gingrich Congress passed a $500 per child tax credit that also wiped out the income tax liability of many low- to moderate-income households."

    "George W. Bush expanded the child tax credit as president and also signed into law tax cuts that reduced the bottom marginal income tax rate from 15 percent to 10 percent. Both moves increased the percentage of people not paying income tax."

    http://dailycaller.com/2012/09/17/the-re...

    The 47% were created, protected and grown from GOP tax policies. This is the sick hypocrisy behind their attacks. The GOP passed all kinds of tax credits and loopholes, individuals pay the taxes that are owed, and then those same GOP senators go on TV screeching about how people don't pay taxes!

    Will the GOP repeal their own policies that created the 47%? NEVER. They can't offend Grover Norquist. Even the Daily Caller admits this hypocrisy.

    Mitt Romney says his tax plan will further cut taxes for the middle class. BY DEFINITION this means he will enlarge the number of people who have no income tax liability.

    As usual, GOP hypocrisy is at the core of the matter.

  6. Good column Patrick, you present a better picture than most have so far. I would suggest, however, that an even more complete picture could be painted.
    Every American and a whole lot of documented and undocumented residents receive many benefits of citizenship and residence. The first is liberty secured by our Constitutional system of governance and our [relatively] fair justice system. The second benefit is the ability to own and use private property. Yes there are often limits but most relate to health, sanitation and maintenance of community. Third we have an electoral system which provides the opportunity to vote any of them out on a regular basis. That we seldom use that opportunity is a reflection on us rather than on them. Or is it? I would argue that the vast majority of elected officials are actually reasonably competent and mostly effective.

  7. Not much has been said, but I feel it needs to be point out one thing that a lot of people see, but is not mentioned much about that despicable video of Romney sucking up to fat cats at some mansion in Boca Raton, Florida.

    Look at the help in the room. They are outfitted in black and white tux type serving uniforms with white gloves. Wait a minute. Gloves? That's Florida. It's hot. Why wear gloves. OH! Wait. I get it. Those rich people are worried about the unwashed masses who comprise the servants passing along diseases. Okay. Now I understand.

    Anyways, what really, really gets me is Romney is basically saying thinly veiled remarks that disparage them as the 47 percent of the people.

    Some guy/gal is working hard, trying to earn a living, providing for their loved ones, trying to do the best they can, and they have to listen to someone giving a speech who is basically referring to them as scum?

    And all they are guilty of is trying to earn a living?

    I'm sorry, people, but I have a conscience. I couldn't live with myself ever again if I didn't reach over, grab a well done filet mignon off a plate, walk over, smush it hard in Romney's face ay lah Three Stooges, then look over at whoever employed me at this fiasco, tell him, look, I'll do what you want, but don't make fun of me while I'm doing it, you can take this job and shove it where the sun don't shine, throw the stupid white gloves at him, then turn and walk out.

    If people show up to see Romney, I advise them to be respectful. BUT HECKLE HIM ENDLESSLY ABOUT THIS. Why? He deserves it. Because he could care less about you.

    One thing for sure, during this speech in Las Vegas, he will tell you what he wants you to hear. Not because he's convinced, but because of the composition of the crowd. If you were all rich and eating house salads with roquefort dressing, he'd simply speak another way.

    Obama/Biden 2012!

    Romney/Ryan 1040s! Cough 'em up. Both of ya. We wanna see what both of you are hiding in your personal finances.

  8. The worst Presidential candidate of a major party in my lifetime...

    And that's saying quite a lot because there have been some beaut's from both sides of the aisle.

    It's an awful shame; we, as a country in distress, deserved far better.
    It's farcical, the whole of his candidacy.
    A SNL candidate for the ages....a living caricature, our Thurston Howell.

    Mittens will have a very soft landing...the Republicans, not so much.
    They need a major retooling.

    Good piece, Patrick.

  9. Conservatives may find a problem? Publish each tax return you refer to. Each individual's tax return is like a snow flake, each one is different. You can say , "they pay many other taxes on a State and Local level", but when filing there is a full refund, attached with Head of Household and Earned income Credits, that returns them more than paid in. Typically, when you sight individual situations, someone comes forward and exposes something else.

    Failing to realize that the D is the Fitzgerald saved from bankruptcy, the Encore has yet to post a profit, and many G I 's are going to school on Vet Benefits and are backers of Romney.

    Like Newspaper Ink, all the money that is being lost each year to keep a newspaper going, Patrick, you may want to start a movement to Unionize at the Sun. To alter statements and use the term "basically"..instead of "In My Opinion", basically you are injecting your opinion and not completing the situation and environment in which these things were said. Kinda like " some voters cling to their guns and bibles".

  10. Most seniors have made their decisions and had their careers. We've saved or not. We've invested in a home or not. We'll either remain dependent on our pensions and savings, or not. For younger people, decisions you make now WILL AFFECT your life in retirement. Many of us didn't count solely upon SS and Medicare. Would advise you to do the same. Those government programs may still be around but not sure you're going to "get by" on just that. Yes, Romney is not as slick with words as Mr. O. I'm not either. I've lived long enough to overlook the foot-in-mouth of many people. I don't expect seniors like me to change their life styles. I do expect young adults with choices to make choices based upon how they want to live--in modest comfort or better OR however the winds blow.

  11. gmag 7:57 "that says a lot" NOT. Just a word or suggestion: melodramatic responses just don't convince any of us of your sincerity or veracity.

  12. Roselanda's advice to younger folks seems to be "do as I say, not as I do[did]". Or, more aptly put, "I've got mine Jack".

  13. I agree with Romney. Getting people hooked on government handouts then scaring them not to vote for republicans or they will lose their freebies is right out of the democrats playbook.

    Why else do you think they actively advertise for people to join SNAP and other programs?

    For every person who receives without earning means somebody else earned without receiving.

    Government assistance is suppose to be a safety net, not a lifestyle.

    When are those on government assistance going to pay their fair share?

  14. I can't recall a time in recent history where an election has been "uglier" ON BOTH SIDES.They have muddied the waters so much you can't see through to the truth. I resent the massive amounts of monies they spend to get elected or reelected.November for me can't come soon enough. Sadly, I haven't seen the worse of this election yet."THEY" have infiltrated every corner of our personal lives.I can't Google a single thing without one of them throwing something in my face in a 28 second commercial on why the other candidate is wrong. Give me a break !! PLEASE!! Someone please give me a "real fact" as to how many citizens DO NOT vote....cause they are up to here with all the mud slinging. I wouldn't be surprised at the high number. Honestly?....when they started these super pacs...it turned into a bare knuckle fight. Where and when did this process go soooooo wrong ?? What the hell, I'm throwing in my hat into the ring next election.I'll get on my soapbox,one hand raised,bible in the other. Wife, two children and my dog standing behind me.I'll throw in a mother-in-law too. What the heck...I'll hold that baby,smile for the camera,pat the dog on the head, eat a Taco for the Mexican vote,go to church,go to synagogue for the Jewish vote and fragment my time to cover EVERY OTHER group out there,leave no stone unturned.I'll promise you the world even though I can't deliver.I'll remind you every single day of my campaign through every media possible I'm the man for the job,whether it's the truth or not.I'll stuff my pockets with special interest groups because that's the American way.I'll remind you of bad things my opponent did 15 years ago or longer.There is no time limit on anything. This is all about your vote...how I got there, doesn't matter. Obviously, there is no truth to my running in the next election.Everything else is true though. Where have we gone wrong ?

  15. I'm Babyboomer.........and I approve this message

  16. Excellent investigative journalism Mr. Coolican.

    The stench of desperation coming from the Republican commenters is very telling. They realize this is the final nail in Romney's political career and we will benefit from 4 more years of President Obama. Republican candidates running for the House and Senate are running from any association with the Romney suicide.

  17. The rightie's here just don't get it. I'm in the 47%. I'm a Fed retiree, and proud of it. My entitlement is my pension check. And yes I earned every penny of it. When I worked for the Gov. we made less far less than our private sector equals. With what I'm reading, most of the numbskull right that posts here are jealous, for what i do not know. Yes 30% has jumped to 47% for two key reasons. 1)a good number of babyboomer's(like Myself) HAVE RETIRED. 2)Ronnie's trickledown has not worked(that's a proven fact! I'll give you a third reason, wages have gone down in a big way. The middle class was over 70% of the population in 1981, today it's under 49%. I call it right wing wage suppression.
    The Pres hasn't completed his every promise, however the right wing is standing in his way for politcal gain. Righties, Yell and scream all you want, the left(the majority)isn't listening.

  18. @go-rebels

    In 10 years when it is time for you to get social security benefits, pass them up. You obviously don't need SS and God forbid you should take a handout from the government. Oh, and pass on Medicare, too. And may you stay healthy, that nothing traumatic happens to you or your loved ones where you would have to use up every single penny you have saved and end up in a nursing home on Medicaid. Talk is cheap...until you are faced with situations beyond your control.

  19. <<Liberals left out the part where the OBAMA STIMULUS extend unemployment checks to 99 weeks or the part where the OBAMA STIMULUS eliminated the 3 month limit on able bodied people being on Food stamps or the part where OBAMACARE gives subsides to people making up to $88.4k or the part where work for welfare rules now allow for smoke cessation class to qualify for the dole>>

    Sorry, Toots, but the "OBAMA STIMULUS" ended a while ago. It is no longer in effect. It had a shelf life on it. When unemployment kept getting extended, it was not because of any "Obama Stimulus". Congress passed the last extension for benefits.

    "Obamacare" in it's entirely does not take effect until 2014.

    Cigarettes and booze are not covered by ANY "government handout". If people can get help to quit smoking instead of spending $100+ a week on smokes and booze, then why not give some encouragement?

    BTW - you always are spouting off stuff, but you never ever back up where you get your information from. And trying to get any backup from you is like banging one's head against the wall - or talking to an empty chair.

  20. Pat Hayes 9:16. I was abused, neglected and assaulted throughout my childhood. I've done 14 years in the military. I've worked for more than 40. I saved because I knew what life was like when I was destitute and YOU begrudge me living off my own savings?

  21. <<While the middle east is burning, Obama goes on Letterman and parties with Jay-z and Beyonce. Yeah that's leadership for you!!! You can't make this up people even if you tried...>>

    And I can't wait to see the Romneys on the View and Ann Romney on Leno's show. And I'm sure Romney will end up on Letterman soon.

    The President, and in this case Romney being the GOP nominee, are not stupid. They realize are culture is based on visual and hi tech things, whether it is sending "tweats", posting on the internet or appearing on national television shows. It is not 1960 any longer. To appeal to a broader base of voters of both parties, and America in general, the President and his rival understand this. They are not "old farts" (yeah, not even old man Romney who is in his 60's - BOTH Obama and Romney are "Boomers"). They are more likely to show a "real" side to them when put on the spot by the likes of Letterman, Leno or the Ladies on the View.

  22. Noindex: I've long been posting here that it is ROUGH when you become senior. That the best you can "count on" is about $1K from SS. I've tried to tell people, ask Munch (we agree on a bit despite it all) that if you had any idea how things get when you are on a "fixed income" you'd make different choices right now. Where do you infer that "I got mine?" I adamantly insist that those who worked and saved, DESERVE their assets--savings, houses...as long as they paid the legally due taxes and haven't defrauded someone. And, the people who have saved, generally DON'T QUALIFY for the handouts. But many of live at about the same life style--that's what's not fair. Federal Reserve, Congressional and Presidential manipulations to programs and benefits further erode our savings so they can buy more votes with welfare handouts. There must be some incentive to encourage more people to earn and save OR we're all in for a whole lot of trouble. Sooner or later, you run out of other people's money to spend--apologies to M. Thatcher.

  23. Oops. Nix my salutation to Noindex and replace with wharfrat.

  24. <<I was abused, neglected and assaulted throughout my childhood. I've done 14 years in the military. I've worked for more than 40. I saved because I knew what life was like when I was destitute and YOU begrudge me living off my own savings?>>

    I almost never agree with you and probably never will, but this little bit of info gives me a different insight. However, some of us were not as able to save like you did. Circumstances beyond our control prevented many of us from being in the same position as you are. So remember that. No one begrudges anyone anything, but think before you speak without knowing the whole story.

  25. <<That the best you can "count on" is about $1K from SS. I've tried to tell people, ask Munch (we agree on a bit despite it all)>>

    Thanks, Roberta!! I bet if we were to talk instead of just "post", I bet we'd be going on and on for hours!!! Would bore the crap out of everyone here!

  26. I am wondering whether we will see Senator Heller and Congressman Heck at the rally this afternoon. My take is they will run as far away as they possibly can.
    However as they say You can run but you cannot hide

  27. What is Coolican's point? The people he found weren't going to vote for Romney in the first place, which is exactly what Romney was saying. This story would be far more interesting if Coolican had found members of the so-called 47% who were going to vote for Romney but have since changed their minds based upon this statement.

    (By the way, using a "single mother of six" as an example didn't help any.)

  28. "(By the way, using a "single mother of six" as an example didn't help any.)"

    What does that mean, Jim? You're passing judgment on a person you've never met, with a story you've never heard.

    Stay classy.

  29. General Electric, one of the largest and most profitable US corporations, has multiple US military and civilian government contracts. For the past 7 years they have not paid any US income tax. The 47% is in good company.

  30. Kevin,

    I'm saying that the examples Coolican found play into the the preconceived images that many conservatives have of the people who don't have a federal income tax liability. The "single mother of six" is precisely what many of them would call a "welfare queen."

    If Coolican's intent was to take issue with Romney's characterization then he should have found people outside the stereotype (however incorrect it might be.)

  31. boftx: "By the way, using a "single mother of six" as an example didn't help any"

    Another revealing assumption. Maybe she is a widow and her husband died serving our country.

    This demonstrates exactly why Romney's statements are so offensive. He wasn't just quoting polling numbers or statistics he attached derogatory comments such as "dependent upon government," "believe they are victims," "believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it." foolish assumptions, just like yours boftx.

  32. Geez Rose, cry me a river with croc tears. The "i was in the military" schtick gets old since the majority were never near combat situations and were REMF seat warmers. So you have a cushy military job for 14 and collect the goodies. And, oh no, the horror, you were abused. Lots of people are abused and don't wave the pity flag. When you judge people on a routine basis epect to get judged. On a regular basis you criticize public employees, teachers, immigrants, poor people and anyone else who doesn't buy in to your up by the bootstraps kvetch.

  33. Israel's health care system is entirely socialist, so according to Romney, 100% of Israelis don't practice self-sufficiency and expect the Government to take care of them.

    Israelis pay about 8% of their GDP for health care and America pays 15.2% of GDP. Socialist medical systems are able to control costs whereas Wall Street has boosted them to unsustainable proportions.

    Israel's population is only 7.8 million, compared with 312 million for the US. Yet their socialist health care costs are about 1/2 of the US. It should be the other way around according to scales of economy.

    Romney likes the Israeli health system but believes America should be paying for Israel's next war with Iran. How many Israeli soldiers were in Iraq? (None) Why should America pay the war costs for a country having 100% victims who expect the State to pay their bills?

    Ryan's and Romney's statements about the 47% are nonsense, proven wrong by world standards, yet they keep repeating the same lie. Romney and Ryan are scam artists. It's not for America, it's for them and their hedge fund bandit friends.

  34. Bill_Gordon,

    Please read my comments again, including my response to Kevin.

    I am not making any assumptions, but am pointing out that this piece is in fact playing up to the assumptions you are complaining about. This piece appears to be intended to incite more partisanship instead of providing information to refute Romney.

    If the woman in question is in fact a widow or in some situation other than what many would infer from Coolican's description then Coolican should be very ashamed of himself for creating that false impression merely for the sake of a more 'lively' opinion piece. Very few people would say that a widowed mother of six doesn't need help. But saying that doesn't spark the outrage from the conservative camp that the phrase "single mother of six" does.

    At least this is just an opinion column and not something meant to be journalism.

  35. "The "single mother of six" is precisely what many of them would call a "welfare queen.""

    Yet again, you pass judgment on someone you've never met, whose story you've never heard. "many of them?" Why hide your hate behind the supposed words of others?

    This is disgusting.

    Did you miss the part of the story where she talks about her JOB making $16 an hour? What "welfare queen" works 40 hours a week?

    Heartless and sickening.

  36. Munch: noted. p.s. for the other guy: I'm 50-something--there is no SS in my life. I've been unemployed for 6 years and getting by on savings. You want to know how to shop for bargains? Ask me. And, DM, I recall my endorsing you and others when you need Food Stamps--you've worked and paid into these systems. Food Stamps is about the only "safety net" for adult Americans (in NV, other States provide Medicaid) without dependent kids. I oppose parents who have kids to qualify for programs--Ask me how I know. You think the kids have a good life? We are producing criminals because they have no home life, no care, no model of how to do well. I am one of the exceptions and aware of it--curses to an extremely hi IQ that allowed me to escape many evils but still limited normalcy via observation. The pain NEVER ends. And you think taking away my life style to overpay K-12 teachers so they can pretend to deal with all these issues? They cannot. Social welfare cannot. If the parents don't want the kids to treasure and raise, don't help them do this to people. End social welfare programs. My parents were not on much social welfare--just a small notch above--but they had the mind-set and associated with....

  37. Kevin,

    I am not making that assumption. I am making an observation about what many people (and you probably know just as many as I do) would think upon seeing that description. We see posts every day that do so.

    I can think of a number of reasons why one might be a single mother of six, but with the single exception of being a widow I'll wager that someone here would criticize the mother and say it was her fault for being in that situation. (Consider the case where it turns out her husband was a criminal and is in prison for life. There are many here who would say she was stupid for being with such a loser to begin with. We have read those comments time and time again on stories like that.) And in the case of her being a widow someone would say her husband was probably a gang-banger that got what he deserved.

    I am complaining about Coolican going for sensationalism instead of being informative.

  38. "I am not making that assumption. I am making an observation about what many people (and you probably know just as many as I do) would think upon seeing that description. We see posts every day that do so."

    Jim, I've read enough of your posts to know that's EXACTLY the assumption you made, hence the snotty aside about her children and being a welfare queen.

    "I am complaining about Coolican going for sensationalism instead of being informative."

    I found this piece very informative. The only "sensationalism" is found in your assumptions about single mothers.

  39. Look at the headline for this piece. Then look at the examples Cooligan uses. Those people are in fact the very stereotype Romney was talking about as being hopeless for him to win over. Coolican even says as much when he says two of his examples have taken a leave from their jobs to work for the union (Culinary) and that the woman on SS was not a Republican supporter.

    If Coolican wanted to really present what that headline says he should have found registered Republicans and independents who are in the $40k - $50k range who don't fit the mold and have switched their support from Romney to Obama as a result of Romney's statements.

    And no, I did not make that assumption. What I assumed was that there are a lot of people who would see that line and have the opinion I said they would. I bet you can name at least three people who routinely post here who have used those very words ("welfare queen") to describe people who receive assistance without any basis for doing so. In fact, I think I saw that phrase used today in a comment.

    The majority of people who do not have a federal income tax liability are the "working poor" and they probably do appreciate every penny they can save. Hell, I've been in that condition from time to time, even very recently. But the general perception held by many (mainly conservatives, but more than a few bleeding hearts, also) is that people who receive assistance fall into some well-defined stereotypes.

    Coolican seems to have deliberately chosen those very examples in an effort to show that people who fit the stereotype are willing to make an effort. But I say his examples do more to inflame the passions of those who agree with Romney than to illustrate the fallacy of the stereotypes.

  40. "I bet you can name at least three people who routinely post here who have used those very words ("welfare queen") to describe people who receive assistance without any basis for doing so. In fact, I think I saw that phrase used today in a comment."

    13 hours, 70+ comments and the person bringing up this woman's marital status or children is YOU, Jim.

    There are plenty of arch conservatives that troll this website, yet the person bringing up this woman's marital status or children is YOU.

    Not buying your excuses.

  41. So I guess it is perfectly okay for a writer to inflame passions rather than use rational argument to prove a position wrong so long as the writer is endorsing a view that you approve of, eh, Kevin?

    Coolican has written some very good pieces in the past that decry the conservative position. This, sadly, is merely fodder for the faithful and actually lends unintended support to Romney's view of the 47%.

    What's ironic is that you would probably castigate me even more if I were to criticize a conservative for making a poor argument. :)

    Answer me this: If I didn't accept or agree with intent behind the title of this piece in some way, why would I be disappointed with the argument Coolican has presented?

  42. Bill Clinton just made some GREAT observations on CNN in an interview with Fareed Zakaria. I strongly suggest that people try and find the video of it.

  43. Literally, the ONLY inflamed person here is you, Jim.

    Not seeing a single other commenter who snidely mentioned Ms. Pleitez marital status or number of her children.

    You are the sole person responsible for bringing it up, over and over again.

    You claim it's because you think he's trying to "inflame passions," yet it's quite the opposite. He mentioned her family and employment, as well as the family and employment of Mr. Gladstone and Mrs. Ford?

    He used all three as an example of how Romney's stereotype fails in reality. It's an effective piece of writing. Why take issue only with Ms. Pleitez and not Mr. Gladstone or Mrs. Ford?

    Couch your rhetoric in faux concern for angering conservatives. Everyone can see right through your excuses.

  44. Seems like you were the one who focused on that line from my comment that was making a broader point. And it is you who continues to come back to that one line in the face of everything else.

    So who is inflamed?

  45. boftx: the people I interviewed do in fact blow up the romney claims. They don't think of themselves as "victims" or "entitled." They are taking responsibility for their lives. The issue isn't who they're voting for. He launched a nasty and untrue set of epithets at a broad swath of the country. And his allegations are untrue, as my interviews helped illustrate.

  46. Mr. Coolican,

    I don't disagree that Romney was painting with a broad brush, to be generous to a fault.

    I understand that you intended to demonstrate that people who receive government assistance want to be responsible citizens. But I think you could have used much better examples to make your point. At least two of them are guaranteed to push hot buttons with those who think Romney's implications didn't go far enough.

    I must respectfully disagree that your interviews helped illustrate the full measure of Romney's misunderstanding of the "working poor" who are the true sector that was intended to benefit from the federal income tax provisions being cited. I felt that your piece only served to further the polarization that is crippling our country.

    I submit that in this case you could have done better. (And for what it's worth, you might recall that I got a good laugh from when you described what it felt like to drive a very expensive car and most others castigated you for having those thoughts.)

  47. "Those people are in fact the very stereotype Romney was talking about as being hopeless for him to win over."

    Really? You think that all three of these people see themselves as VICTIMS, as Romney claims? You think these three Nevadans believe that they are "entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it -- that that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them."

    You keep circling back to the headline. What, was the article too hard to read? Did you miss the SECOND PARAGRAPH which setup the premise for Coolican's piece? Go back and read it.

    Romney's narrative about the 47% was about far more than JUST their vote. Romney's comments claimed these people have their dependence on aid because they see themselves as entitled victims who DESERVE IT. And he said he would never convince these wretched people to "take personal responsibility for their lives."

    Seems to me these three proud Nevadans have taken as much personal responsibility as one could ask.

    You want to cherry-pick a single sentence out of that quote, when Coolican's article was about more than just their votes. Romney was condemning people exactly like Ms Pleitez, Mrs. Ford and Mr. Gladstone.

    To the contrary, and to Mr. Coolican's credit, these three stories directly contradict Romney's disgusting attacks on Americans who have strong work ethics, who are productive members of our society and who need our help.

    You would rather focus on how many children Ms. Pleitez has. You would have us believe that Romney was only speaking about the vote? Go back and listen to what Romney said... the disdain in his voice for anyone who dares to ask for help.

    "Seems like you were the one who focused on that line from my comment that was making a broader point. And it is you who continues to come back to that one line in the face of everything else."

    Because it deserves all the scorn that can be heaped upon it. Ms. Pleitez deserves respect for raising six children while holding down a full-time job. She already has Romney's scorn and ridicule to deal with. You should lay off and show her the respect she deserves.

  48. There are two distinct parts to what Romney said.

    a) He is unable to win over the 47% of Americans who have no tax liability because ...

    b) The 47% of Americans who have no federal income tax liability feel they are victims and are entitled to the aid they receive.

    Any number of people (well known public figures and private bloggers/commenters alike) have said that anyone who is a (insert given minority, ethnic group, gender, etc. here) would be stupid to vote for a Republican. Romney's gaffe was that he assumed that anyone who was a member of the group being stereotyped actually *was* like that and would mindlessly vote as they were told to by people who knew what was best for them.

    The examples given by Mr. Coolican, and the argument being presented by you, Kevin, merely play into that stereotype as well.

    Who cares that a person who fits the stereotype that so many people want to impose on a given group actually DOES fit it and will vote as predicted?!? That is a sad commentary on both the people who create the stereotypes and the people who willing accept their role in them!

    The real story is showing where Romney was wrong to think that people who outwardly fit the stereotype are in fact part of his base! That is where not only Romney, but you and Mr. Coolican missed the boat.

    Don't talk about how members who are seemingly members of the stereotype really do take responsibility, talk about how they DON'T fit the stereotype in that they normally wouldn't vote to enable it, but have been turned off by Romney both patronizing and minimizing them at the same time.

    And in some extent, both you, Kevin, and Mr. Coolican are no different than Romney in that you accept the stereotypes. You are basically saying that these people are *exceptions to the rule*. Well, who gives a (*&(*&)^(%^ about the (&^^&**(^ rule!

  49. Gee - Someone who pays $1.9 million in Federal taxes and gives 30% of his income to charity is a "stickin rich cheater". Oh...Well rational people investigate the facts, irrational people base their decisions on "feelings and emotions". I believe Benjamin Franklin said, "Here's your republic, if you can keep it." We've not only lost it, we don't even want to look for it. Good-bye USA, Hello Greece.

  50. Your chart on how much tax people pay by income group would be a more accurate depiction of reality if it also included how much the members of each group received in benefits.

  51. Go away, Mitt. Please. You'll forever be known as the "47 Percent" man to hard working Americans like myself, and no amount of desperate spin is going to change that. Thanks for your brutal honesty, Mitt! Enjoy your extravagant country club lifestyle, you lucky one percenter! :-)

  52. <<boftx: "By the way, using a "single mother of six" as an example didn't help any"

    Another revealing assumption. Maybe she is a widow and her husband died serving our country>>

    boftx:

    Ever hear of "divorce"??

  53. luckyman:

    Ever hear of "keeping your pants zipped"? Guess a lot, a LOT, of men never heard that before. It takes TWO to make a baby. BOTH should take on the responsibility of NOT getting pregnant.

  54. Another segment of this "47%": Boomers who are taking care of elderly parents, in THEIR homes instead of putting the Mom or Dad in a nursing home (a death sentence for the elderly). Mom and Dad could have a nice nest egg saved up, but the financial responsibility of keeping them home in a comfortable and loving environment is astronomical - from Mom or Dad needing special care to the Boomer child having to quit their job to become the primary caregiver when that money runs out. That money goes real fast even with Mom or Dad collecting Social Security and/or having a pension from a job worked for over 40 years. Once it goes, Mom or Dad must go on Medicaid and are beholden of the government to help take care of them.

  55. Life has it's ups and downs and we should plan for that. Luckyman brings up the point of not having kids if you can't afford them. I've seen the State Child Support Enforcement hunt down the fathers--dna is here guys. I've also seen the son of a friend get in a real bind when a young woman claimed her baby was his--turned out it wasn't but still cost his family a bunch. I asked his Mom what's up with the kid POSSIBLY IMPREGNATING a casual acquaintance? Said she had talked to him. TALK AGAIN. The dna scientists can now tell what color your skin, hair, eyes are and ditto that of your parents--it's getting easier to identify daddies without even having their names and addresses. Life does have ups and downs and we hear so little about many of the downs and types of downs. Sure, we've now heard about extended unemployment and geriatric needs. There are a lot of other ups and downs along the road. Minimum wagers have to HAVE AN EMERGENCY FUND too. It is never easy to save. I saved because I didn't know any other way. Once you've been destitute for a long while, you can never again "waste" money. You never again pay full retail. You don't buy toys or spend much on entertainment. Limits life but at least you can continue to live. (Some of us save things--hoarders--a different story.) Those who don't save seem to think others (like me) have made more money or have had it easy. Look closer. We've been thru more and realize government programs won't cover what we need. And over time we learn to carefully pick our friends. I've had so many relatives and friends who were around with their hands out but were gone when they should have been paying me back, reciprocating, or at least expressing concern for my well being. I'm very careful about associating with anyone who has a history of bad debts, late payments, bankruptcy, woe-is-me all the time stories, stingy with his/her stuff but all into it when I'm buying...

  56. The payroll tax is 1.45% for medicare and 4.2% for SS, for a rate of 5.75%. It was 1.45% plus 6.2% but Obama cut the SS to 4.2%. The employer pays the full 1.45% and 6.2%. Note this payroll tax is in effect a retirement program/ health disability insurance and most people get this money back and then some. Contrary to popular believe the Federal Government does not use it for paying the expenses to run the country. So in effect these people pay no real taxes.
    I also do not think anyone would doubt the responsibility of the government to take care of disabled persons and the poor elderly, everyone else with income should pay something.

  57. I almost donated some cash and stuff to a woman about town--except when I figured out her stringing at the third delivery I was making to her old mobile. Seems her two kids are of age so she no longer gets lots of the benies she's used to. She seems to "lose it all" every now and then and does a stint in the shelters and hot food meals, wagons, kitchens. In the mean time, she's on the web all over the place with her sob stories. There's nothing wrong with her except her attitude. 45 year old woman who has never held a job. Both her adult son and now the adult daughter have said bye--they were living with her and paying the rent--the part they were expected to pay in subsidized housing. Tough on the kids, I KNOW, but they have to split with mom or be forever dragged down. Mom DID NOT sacrifice for them, ever. Mom used the two kids to qualify for social welfare programs for 20 years. And "sadly" mom is too young to qualify for Medicaid nursing home assistance. Mom is too whatever to work--unless you want to pay her to "train" and right after the training funds end, her "employer" will have no use for her--cause she won't show up on time, won't be pleasant to customers, won't be a good employee. So, Mom casually mentions hard times every time she posts.

  58. kepi: I have been EMPLOYED in social welfare and seen so many abusers. Sure, some recipients / clients are victims of circumstance. But so many aren't working with enough--so much so that it pains me, literally, when they have numerous kids. While I'm not into Eugenics in toto, it is unconscionable that we encourage the unable and unwilling to procreate while we discourage the gifted and talented--discourage them into small families. Kepi, I am all for helping people who make good use of "another chance" but not for dumping funding into useless programs. Why does the same 45-year-old Mom get into program after program--because she does that stint on the streets and is "rescued" back into a job training program, time after time. We let single men live on the street.... I am also all for fixing K-12 so there is some exposure in middle and high school for kids to see examples and options of how to find a roomie, a modest apartment, "budget" groceries so s/he can eat until the next payday. I have seen dozens of women who opted for kids rather than work because THEY DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO WORK but could get pregnant without help.

  59. Det Munch: So in these times of unusual need, maybe we could "stimulate" subsidized housing or just encourage builders to build: single story modest condo apartments with garages and yards--so seniors could buy in when they down size and AGE WITH DIGNITY in their own homes. Limits on condo / association fees (no community pools or club houses) but maybe a fee for those who need some extra care--say, daily check ins. Maybe "day laborers" available in the condo office so semi-immobile residents would obtain help for around the house, transport to groceries / doctors, at modest cost--might even be a good source of modest income for the likes of Det_Munch. Vegas REAL ESTATE would sell again.

  60. This article reads like the misinformation program that is the Obama campaign.

    Recipients of Welfare payments I assume mean those receiving jobless benefits, food stamps and Medicaid assistance. Let's not get carried away with Social Security and Medicare,both of which are actually paid for by recipients.
    The real point being that since 100 million Americans are on Welfare that they are beholden to a candidate who is promoting welfare as a life style. That's President Obama. One must admit, that such a candidate pretty much has a lock on those voters in an election.In this respect the Great Redistribution becomes the Great Vote Getting Machine for Obama. This is the same problem that Mitt Romney was attempting to express ,although incorrectly, in his secretly taped video. He was merely saying that people on Federal assistance were not people who were likely to vote for him. He is correct. Nonetheless, the Obama campaign twisted Romney's statement into accusing Romney of saying that he would not represent those people if elected president. He never did say that. Another piece of misinformationfrom the Obama campaign and the author of this piece. That's politics as they say!