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A broad and callous brush

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney painted an awful lot of us with a broad brush with his statement about the 47 percent.

The 47 percent statement was made last May but became a media sensation last week thanks to a story published in Mother Jones.

In May, Romney, speaking at a private fundraiser, said:

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who 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. And they will vote for this president no matter what. These are people who pay no income tax.”

Morals aside, his statement is wrong on a variety of factual levels, which the parsers of words were quick to point out this week. It is the red (Republican) states that receive far more in government assistance to individuals than the blue (Democratic) states. Far more blue-staters pay income tax than red-staters. And on and on the parsers worked the stats.

But let’s consider just which among us has been painted with Romney’s broad paintbrush.

Any job-holding, tax-paying parent ever applied for a government loan so their child could attend college? You’re in the 47 percent.

Any college-bound student trying to get an education and then hopefully getting a good job and becoming a contributing member of society ever applied for a student loan? You’re in the 47 percent.

Anyone ever needed subsidized day care so that you could go to work to pay your taxes or go to school to get a better job? You’re in the 47 percent.

Anyone ever relied on food stamps or fuel assistance or housing between jobs (versus full time) or after an illness or emergency? You’re in the 47 percent.

Anybody here get any emergency federal help after Irene? You’re in the 47 percent.

Was it really fair or accurate to paint so many of us with such a dismissive and unthinking cruel brush? Every single person who receives federal aid receives it for their own variety of personal reasons that Mitt Romney cannot even begin to imagine from his vast pillar of wealth. How dare he presume to know why anyone needs or seeks help?

 

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