Mitt Romney vs. the 47%

Who pays taxes: Klein, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Who receives government benefits: Plumer, Mettler and Sides, Kenworthy

Commentary: Be sure to read Reihan Salam, David Brooks, and Claude Fischer. I especially like this, from Ryan Avent:

The belief that there is an irreconcilable conflict between government benefits and the freedom to pursue dreams can only arise among those who have never had to worry about the reality of equality of opportunity in America. For most Americans, public schools are a critical piece of the machinery of economic mobility. Things like unemployment insurance and social security, meagre though they are, sometimes mean the difference between destitution and the possibility of a second chance or a non-wretched standard of living. For many Americans, the ability to even contemplate dreams for a better life is down to the small cushion and basic investments provided by governments, provided for precisely that reason, because an economy in which only those born with a comfortable financial position can invest in human capital and take entrepreneurial risks is doomed to class-based calcification.

America’s welfare state is far from perfect. But it is necessary; indeed, it’s hard to imagine a just and sustainable system of free enterprise without a robust social safety net. Republicans need to recognise this and acknowledge that the past three decades have meant rising income inequality and falling economic mobility alongside top marginal tax rates that are among the lowest of the postwar period. A party that can’t come up with a better answer to this dynamic than to conclude that half of America simply isn’t trying hard enough probably isn’t a party destined or deserving of electoral success.

One thought on “Mitt Romney vs. the 47%

  1. This is a string of assertions without any attempt to even begin to support them…The assumption, I guess, is simply that other Marxists will read this and nod. Sorry, I stumbled across it while looking for something else..But, for instance, your statement that “public schools are a critical piece of the machinery of economic mobility” is thrown out there as a conclusion…. And yet, you will in the next breath decry the control of resources by the one percent….by your logic, shouldn’t public school give people the tools to seize power from the one percent? Shouldn’t several generations of public school have created tens of millions of hyper-competent citizens who would simply overwhelm the entrenched capitalists and begin spreading resources around in some ingenious equality-ensuring way?

    You realize, of course, that before there was any federally controlled curriculum or compulsory schooling, there was indeed incredible economic mobility in America and the one percent were regularly supplanted by people from the lower classes such as Ford, Edison, Sears & Roebuck, Carnegie, etc., etc. The middle class ballooned under the most unregulated market in history, and the self-educated consistently outperformed the institution educated.

    The argument, in fact, could easily be made and supported by statistics and evidence, that public education, welfare schemes and regulations constitute an insurance policy for the one percent, as far as their ability to limit challenges arising from lower class ambition and discontent. Dependency, market entry barriers and lack of critical thinking skills aren’t generally thought of as things conducive to economic mobility.

    It’s quite amazing that anyone can look at the effects of the welfare state in the US and call for more of it. But of course, those same people have always dismissed market functions out of hand, without every studying their actual, measurable benefits. And, of course, those calling for more welfare are almost always uppermiddleclass liberals who have not experienced ongoing cycles of self-destructive behaviors among groups who have had their perceptions and drives warped by government incentive schemes.

    Don’t worry, though. Romney is a spineless liberal, same as Obama. He’s just talking capitalism to help prop up the narrative that we choose our national policies through voting. Who prints the money makes the policies. All policies must be made a reality, or not, by choices in usage of resource–which are controlled by the flow of money. Everything else is just reality TV.

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