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News & Politics News & Politics

| AuthorDavid Callahan

Another week, another distraction for the Romney campaign. This latest flap, though, is instructive. The revelation that Romney told donors that nearly half all Americans are basically freeloaders offers insights into the core ideas -- or myths, as it turns out -- that animate modern conservative thinking. 

Of the Americans who don't pay federal income taxes, 37% are not in the labor force either because they're students, elderly, or unemployed. (University of Denver)

The conservative framework that pits hardworking Americans against a growing hoard of freeloaders rests on four claims, none of which stand up to scrutiny.

Myth One: Nearly half of all Americans don't pay taxes. We have knocked this down before, but we'll do it again -- because, apparently, even people with Harvard MBAs believe this myth. While it is true that nearly half of all Americans don't pay income taxes, some 86 percent pay taxes in the form of payroll taxes -- which now account for almost of half of all revenues coming into the federal government. As anyone who looks at their pay stubs know, payroll taxes aren't nothing: they can take a big bite, especially for lower income workers. Meanwhile, those Americans who don't pay income taxes have good reasons for not doing so. For starters, 37 percent of Americans are not in the labor force for one reason or another: because they are retired or are students or are unemployed. Nobody expects these folks to be paying taxes. Then there are those workers who simply don't make enough money to pay income taxes. A disturbingly large slice of the labor force makes under $25,000 a year. Once these filers take their basic exemptions, and other deductions -- like for the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is designed to encourage work -- they don't owe anything. This fact is a commentary on the low compensation for hard work in America, not the laziness of workers. 

Myth Two: More Americans are becoming dependent on government benefits. We've rebutted this one, too, so let's just repeat verbatim from my post from last month:

Only a tiny sliver of overall government assistance -- less than 10 percent -- goes to non-working adults in their prime years, and much of that is in the form of emergency assistance to people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. While Romney wrote in an op-ed last year that "Government dependency can only foster passivity and sloth," there are few signs of a growing army of layabouts subsisting on the dole.

On the contrary, as reported by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities early this year: "more than 90 percent of the benefit dollars that entitlement and other mandatory programs spend go to assist people who are elderly, seriously disabled, or members of working households — not to able-bodied, working-age Americans who choose not to work. This figure has changed little in the past few years."

. . . . Seniors receiving Medicare and Social Security are receiving benefits from programs that they paid into during their entire working lives. In any case, no one expects old people or the disabled to work, and so it's hard to say these folks are part of some Freeloader Nation. Meanwhile, students receiving Pell Grants are making investments in their human capital -- meaning that they are less likely to be dependent later, whether on government or family.

And with TANF rolls down and work requirements in place, old fashion welfare dependency is largely a problem of the past. So basically it's unemployed people getting UI and food stamps that the right is really talking about. Yet if you just look at trends in these programs, which show soaring participation rates after the economy turned down, it's clear that the supposed "dependency" here is structurally driven and temporary (assuming growth returns). That's the whole idea of the safety net: People can "depend" on it in hard times.

Myth Three: Americans have more of an "entitlement mindset" these days. This claim is vaguer, but an important current in conservative thinking. If you listen to politicians like Paul Ryan, American values of self-reliance are in decline and government is corrupting our can-do spirit and sense of personal empowerment. We are becoming a nation of whimps, in effect. This is nonsense. Work remains a central value in American society and social benefits still carry considerable stigma -- which helps explain why participation rates in many entitlement programs is anything but 100 percent. Millions of eligible Americans don't take advantage of programs like food stamps, welfare, Medicaid, and so on -- as a GAO report documented in 2005. 

Myth Four: It's poor people who are the biggest freeloaders. What's especially galling about conservative attacks on "takers" is that they focus exclusively on lower income groups and leave out all the subsidies to middle and upper income households. Yes, tax breaks for the working poor -- like the EITC -- have been expanded, but they still pale in comparison to the giveaways to better off groups. The three biggest tax breaks in FY 2014, according to Congressional Research Service, will be as follows: $164 billion for employer-provided health insurance, $162 billion for retirement savings (mainly 401ks), and $99.8 billion for the home mortgage interest deduction. Needless to say, most poor people don't benefit from these giant breaks because they don't have employer-provided health insurance, 401ks, or own homes. Meanwhile, the EITC will cost $58 billion in FY 2014. 

Beating up on the economic losers is not new in America. It was popular in the late 19th century, when Social Darwinism was in vogue. But today such attacks have moved to the very heart of the conservative project.

by on Sep. 18, 2012 at 3:58 PM
Replies (21-30):
broncfan
by Silver Member on Sep. 18, 2012 at 5:03 PM
2 moms liked this


Quoting Celtic_Dragon:

I think that there is a big difference between individuals and people. Individuals are unique and are capable of showing compassion. Groups act like sheep that are easily persuaded one way or the other because they feed off the emotions of others and form opinions without really thinking about what their opinions and actions mean to others.

I don't think Republicans all hate the poor. I think our society as a whole hate on the poor. It is easy to hate them. It is the same type of thinking of why people in the early 1900's hated on black people. It was easy and it was socially the norm. 

We cannot blame the poor for what is going on. There is good and bad in every economic class. There are the lazy freeloaders on all sides of the spectrum. They are not all lumped over on the poor side. It is a myth that hard work alone will pull you out of poverty. I think that if the energy spent on contempt towards the poor was directed more towards real solutions that didn't begin and end in cutting support, then we would be a healthier, happier nation as a whole.

 

Quoting broncfan:

I do not believe anyone hates the poor.  I work with some very conservative/republican/uber-wealthy doctors, not one of them hate the poor that we see every night.  They may hate the behavior of some of the poor but they also hate the behavior of some of the rich we see.  I think we all hate what is happening to our country, our education system is almost beyond repair for the poor (look at Chicago, where is the love there?).  I do believe that the system, as it is now, has set people up to believe they are victims instead of believing that they can over come their circumstances. 

Last night I walked in the staff lounge to see the most hard core republican doctor giving a little 10 month old boy a bath in the sink of our kitchen. She was trying to wash the feces out of his head that had caused skin eruption from being there for so long, she was singing "you are my sunshine" and telling him how smart he was and how beautiful he was and how much she loved him.  I know her well enough to know that she was so angry with the parents for the shape this child was in, but she loved this little poor baby enough to stop and show kindness.  She could have written the script and told the parents to take him home and clean him up, but she knew it would probably never be done so she did all she could do, bath him apply the ointment to the sores all over his body, find some juice to put his tylenol in so he would not cry again.  The only tears left for the night were hers when she watched the parents take him out the door.

People do not hate the poor just because we have money and they do not.  Love comes in lots of forms, not just a welfare check.

 

I could not agree with you more.  I will never say we need to cut spending for the poor, but I will be the first to say we need to reform spending for the poor.  We, as a society and a government, set the poor up to fail.  We have crappy public school because people think that throwing more money at them will help, not education of the parents. Hell, I would rather pay parents to come to teacher meetings than give into more Union demands for teacher pay, at this point. We put people on foodstamps, but do so in a system that benefits the big food companies, instead of the people we are trying to feed.  Because of the limited funds they have to buy the worse food for them.  We have type 2 diabetes in children now, something you would never hardly see 20 years ago. We get kids with cholesterol counts over 300 in all the time.  These are food stamp children, children our own government takes responsibility for feeding, the system is a failure. We are so politically correct and strapped for money, we send abused children home with their abusers as to not break up a family, and that is only IF we can get a case worker to open a file and follow up. 

It is probably going to take MORE money in the system to ever fix things. That is why it is so important to reform and to do every thing in our power to stop every single case of welfare fraud.  For every fraud case that can be stopped that money can go to someone that needs it.  But if we do not turn our economy around these horrible cases are going to become the norm, we can not keep going as we are going.

mustbeGRACE
by Silver Member on Sep. 18, 2012 at 5:03 PM


Quoting Celtic_Dragon:

No, I don't get the point. He is a politician. Of course he has major supporters that are huge companies like GE. Just like the oil industry backs the Republican party. That is what politics is all about, woman. Who comes in with the most money and the best promises for the big earners. The only difference is which political figurehead is going to look out for the little guy while appeasing the economic giants.

Quoting mustbeGRACE:


Quoting Celtic_Dragon:

Then what is your point?

Quoting mustbeGRACE:


Quoting Celtic_Dragon:

If you believe GE is the only one getting these tax breaks, you are sadly mistaken. Besides, it is well known that the political pull of the Rep party is to give big companies like GE even more tax relief, even if they don't pay any to begin with.

Quoting mustbeGRACE:


Quoting nanaofsix531:

It is the big business corporations who get subsidies and pay no taxes who are the freeloaders.

Like Obama's buddies at GE?


Where did I say that GE is the only one?



Obama.....buddies with GE..................you don't get the point?

'kay.......


eye rolling

Celtic_Dragon
by Member on Sep. 18, 2012 at 5:16 PM
1 mom liked this

So, you can't explain your point other than "What, you don't GET it?" and you can't tell us why this article is misleading? Hmm, NOW I get it. You didn't have a point. Just a MISGUIDED opinion you can't backup.

Quoting mustbeGRACE:


Quoting Celtic_Dragon:

No, I don't get the point. He is a politician. Of course he has major supporters that are huge companies like GE. Just like the oil industry backs the Republican party. That is what politics is all about, woman. Who comes in with the most money and the best promises for the big earners. The only difference is which political figurehead is going to look out for the little guy while appeasing the economic giants.

Quoting mustbeGRACE:


Quoting Celtic_Dragon:

Then what is your point?

Quoting mustbeGRACE:


Quoting Celtic_Dragon:

If you believe GE is the only one getting these tax breaks, you are sadly mistaken. Besides, it is well known that the political pull of the Rep party is to give big companies like GE even more tax relief, even if they don't pay any to begin with.

Quoting mustbeGRACE:


Quoting nanaofsix531:

It is the big business corporations who get subsidies and pay no taxes who are the freeloaders.

Like Obama's buddies at GE?


Where did I say that GE is the only one?



Obama.....buddies with GE..................you don't get the point?

'kay.......


eye rolling


Celtic_Dragon
by Member on Sep. 18, 2012 at 5:22 PM
4 moms liked this

I have complained for years about how food stamps limit the kinds of food that can be purchased, but it usually gets thrown in our faces stating that the wealthy can't afford those types of foods either. Yet, the organic market is booming because of their success with the wealthy middle and upper class. It's everyone in the middle and below that has to substitute fresh apples with sugar packed canned pears.

I think everyone in this nation wants reform. It's just how we get there that is the problem. I think Obama would have been more successful if he would have had a congress that was more willing to work with him and not butt heads with everything that needed to be addressed.

I don't trust Romney to have the heart, mind or time for the true middle and certainly not the lower class. If reform needs to be done there still needs to be concern and passion for those people. But Romney is too cold and deceitful towards the lower wage earners, and that's what worries me if he won the election.

Quoting broncfan:


Quoting Celtic_Dragon:

I think that there is a big difference between individuals and people. Individuals are unique and are capable of showing compassion. Groups act like sheep that are easily persuaded one way or the other because they feed off the emotions of others and form opinions without really thinking about what their opinions and actions mean to others.

I don't think Republicans all hate the poor. I think our society as a whole hate on the poor. It is easy to hate them. It is the same type of thinking of why people in the early 1900's hated on black people. It was easy and it was socially the norm. 

We cannot blame the poor for what is going on. There is good and bad in every economic class. There are the lazy freeloaders on all sides of the spectrum. They are not all lumped over on the poor side. It is a myth that hard work alone will pull you out of poverty. I think that if the energy spent on contempt towards the poor was directed more towards real solutions that didn't begin and end in cutting support, then we would be a healthier, happier nation as a whole.


Quoting broncfan:

I do not believe anyone hates the poor.  I work with some very conservative/republican/uber-wealthy doctors, not one of them hate the poor that we see every night.  They may hate the behavior of some of the poor but they also hate the behavior of some of the rich we see.  I think we all hate what is happening to our country, our education system is almost beyond repair for the poor (look at Chicago, where is the love there?).  I do believe that the system, as it is now, has set people up to believe they are victims instead of believing that they can over come their circumstances. 

Last night I walked in the staff lounge to see the most hard core republican doctor giving a little 10 month old boy a bath in the sink of our kitchen. She was trying to wash the feces out of his head that had caused skin eruption from being there for so long, she was singing "you are my sunshine" and telling him how smart he was and how beautiful he was and how much she loved him.  I know her well enough to know that she was so angry with the parents for the shape this child was in, but she loved this little poor baby enough to stop and show kindness.  She could have written the script and told the parents to take him home and clean him up, but she knew it would probably never be done so she did all she could do, bath him apply the ointment to the sores all over his body, find some juice to put his tylenol in so he would not cry again.  The only tears left for the night were hers when she watched the parents take him out the door.

People do not hate the poor just because we have money and they do not.  Love comes in lots of forms, not just a welfare check.


I could not agree with you more.  I will never say we need to cut spending for the poor, but I will be the first to say we need to reform spending for the poor.  We, as a society and a government, set the poor up to fail.  We have crappy public school because people think that throwing more money at them will help, not education of the parents. Hell, I would rather pay parents to come to teacher meetings than give into more Union demands for teacher pay, at this point. We put people on foodstamps, but do so in a system that benefits the big food companies, instead of the people we are trying to feed.  Because of the limited funds they have to buy the worse food for them.  We have type 2 diabetes in children now, something you would never hardly see 20 years ago. We get kids with cholesterol counts over 300 in all the time.  These are food stamp children, children our own government takes responsibility for feeding, the system is a failure. We are so politically correct and strapped for money, we send abused children home with their abusers as to not break up a family, and that is only IF we can get a case worker to open a file and follow up. 

It is probably going to take MORE money in the system to ever fix things. That is why it is so important to reform and to do every thing in our power to stop every single case of welfare fraud.  For every fraud case that can be stopped that money can go to someone that needs it.  But if we do not turn our economy around these horrible cases are going to become the norm, we can not keep going as we are going.


Sisteract
by Socialist Hippie on Sep. 18, 2012 at 5:23 PM


Quoting Celtic_Dragon:

So, you can't explain your point other than "What, you don't GET it?" and you can't tell us why this article is misleading? Hmm, NOW I get it. You didn't have a point. Just a MISGUIDED opinion you can't backup.

Quoting mustbeGRACE:


Quoting Celtic_Dragon:

No, I don't get the point. He is a politician. Of course he has major supporters that are huge companies like GE. Just like the oil industry backs the Republican party. That is what politics is all about, woman. Who comes in with the most money and the best promises for the big earners. The only difference is which political figurehead is going to look out for the little guy while appeasing the economic giants.

Quoting mustbeGRACE:


Quoting Celtic_Dragon:

Then what is your point?

Quoting mustbeGRACE:


Quoting Celtic_Dragon:

If you believe GE is the only one getting these tax breaks, you are sadly mistaken. Besides, it is well known that the political pull of the Rep party is to give big companies like GE even more tax relief, even if they don't pay any to begin with.

Quoting mustbeGRACE:


Quoting nanaofsix531:

It is the big business corporations who get subsidies and pay no taxes who are the freeloaders.

Like Obama's buddies at GE?


Where did I say that GE is the only one?



Obama.....buddies with GE..................you don't get the point?

'kay.......


eye rolling



Separation of church and state is for the protection of BOTH church and state.
Leading with hate and intolerance only leads to MORE hate and intolerance.
Kate_Momof3
by Platinum Member on Sep. 18, 2012 at 5:24 PM

I completely agree. I have friends who work for DCF (CT's CPS) and the stories are heart-breaking. There are just too many kids who are born into deplorable situations with no one to take care of them or save them from it.

Quoting broncfan:


Quoting Kate_Momof3:

Please tell me CPS was contacted.

Quoting broncfan:

I do not believe anyone hates the poor.  I work with some very conservative/republican/uber-wealthy doctors, not one of them hate the poor that we see every night.  They may hate the behavior of some of the poor but they also hate the behavior of some of the rich we see.  I think we all hate what is happening to our country, our education system is almost beyond repair for the poor (look at Chicago, where is the love there?).  I do believe that the system, as it is now, has set people up to believe they are victims instead of believing that they can over come their circumstances. 

Last night I walked in the staff lounge to see the most hard core republican doctor giving a little 10 month old boy a bath in the sink of our kitchen. She was trying to wash the feces out of his head that had caused skin eruption from being there for so long, she was singing "you are my sunshine" and telling him how smart he was and how beautiful he was and how much she loved him.  I know her well enough to know that she was so angry with the parents for the shape this child was in, but she loved this little poor baby enough to stop and show kindness.  She could have written the script and told the parents to take him home and clean him up, but she knew it would probably never be done so she did all she could do, bath him apply the ointment to the sores all over his body, find some juice to put his tylenol in so he would not cry again.  The only tears left for the night were hers when she watched the parents take him out the door.

People do not hate the poor just because we have money and they do not.  Love comes in lots of forms, not just a welfare check.


CPS is contacted on average of 14 times in a 12 hour shift.  They will get around to a home visit in about 6 weeks.  You want a good place to put tax dollars?  CPS/HHS would be a great place, giving them enough money for good group homes, so I never have to release another child like this to his parents again, would be a God send. 


mustbeGRACE
by Silver Member on Sep. 18, 2012 at 5:24 PM


Quoting Celtic_Dragon:

So, you can't explain your point other than "What, you don't GET it?" and you can't tell us why this article is misleading? Hmm, NOW I get it. You didn't have a point. Just a MISGUIDED opinion you can't backup.

Quoting mustbeGRACE:


Quoting Celtic_Dragon:

No, I don't get the point. He is a politician. Of course he has major supporters that are huge companies like GE. Just like the oil industry backs the Republican party. That is what politics is all about, woman. Who comes in with the most money and the best promises for the big earners. The only difference is which political figurehead is going to look out for the little guy while appeasing the economic giants.

Quoting mustbeGRACE:


Quoting Celtic_Dragon:

Then what is your point?

Quoting mustbeGRACE:


Quoting Celtic_Dragon:

If you believe GE is the only one getting these tax breaks, you are sadly mistaken. Besides, it is well known that the political pull of the Rep party is to give big companies like GE even more tax relief, even if they don't pay any to begin with.

Quoting mustbeGRACE:


Quoting nanaofsix531:

It is the big business corporations who get subsidies and pay no taxes who are the freeloaders.

Like Obama's buddies at GE?


Where did I say that GE is the only one?



Obama.....buddies with GE..................you don't get the point?

'kay.......


eye rolling


eye rolling

Celtic_Dragon
by Member on Sep. 18, 2012 at 5:28 PM

You should try fishing. The lake is relaxing, catching is thrilling, and you'll find that trolling for walleye is better than trolling for politics.

Quoting mustbeGRACE:


Quoting Celtic_Dragon:

So, you can't explain your point other than "What, you don't GET it?" and you can't tell us why this article is misleading? Hmm, NOW I get it. You didn't have a point. Just a MISGUIDED opinion you can't backup.

Quoting mustbeGRACE:


Quoting Celtic_Dragon:

No, I don't get the point. He is a politician. Of course he has major supporters that are huge companies like GE. Just like the oil industry backs the Republican party. That is what politics is all about, woman. Who comes in with the most money and the best promises for the big earners. The only difference is which political figurehead is going to look out for the little guy while appeasing the economic giants.

Quoting mustbeGRACE:


Quoting Celtic_Dragon:

Then what is your point?

Quoting mustbeGRACE:


Quoting Celtic_Dragon:

If you believe GE is the only one getting these tax breaks, you are sadly mistaken. Besides, it is well known that the political pull of the Rep party is to give big companies like GE even more tax relief, even if they don't pay any to begin with.

Quoting mustbeGRACE:


Quoting nanaofsix531:

It is the big business corporations who get subsidies and pay no taxes who are the freeloaders.

Like Obama's buddies at GE?


Where did I say that GE is the only one?



Obama.....buddies with GE..................you don't get the point?

'kay.......


eye rolling


eye rolling


AdellesMom
by on Sep. 18, 2012 at 5:32 PM
3 moms liked this
Great article.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Luv.My.Kidz
by on Sep. 18, 2012 at 5:38 PM

Notice how she's not answering.... hmmm

Quoting Celtic_Dragon:

Yes, that is what I would like to know also. Sigh.

Quoting Luv.My.Kidz:

how the hell is it misleading?

Quoting mustbeGRACE:

A stupid, misleading  article.

If the taxpayer pays someone's way,  the someone shouldn't be allowed to plow over the taxpayer.

The taxpayer needs to tell them  "NO!"




Follow my weight loss Journey.... I have 120lbs to lose in 14 months....Can I do it by changing my diet and exercising more? We shall see!!!! http://www.myfitnesspal.com/luvmykidz04


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