Mitt Romney in this video tells a group of about 30 major donors that 47% of Americans are Obama supporters because they believe they are entitled to health care, food, and housing. The video, one of a series, has been slowly making its way around the Internet for a few weeks, and up until today we decided to not publish it because we could not prove its authenticity. Now, as The Huffington Post reports, David Corn, the Washington Editor at Mother Jones, has been given the full version, not this one that was purposely “degraded” to protect the videographer’s identity.
“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what,” Romney says in this video. “All right — there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them. Who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing.”
Ryan Grim and Matt Sledge at The Huffington Post add:
The person who uploaded a series of potentially inflammatory videos from the fundraiser has claimed authorship of them in an email exchange with The Huffington Post. The source said he or she wishes to remain anonymous for professional reasons and to avoid a lawsuit. The videos, which have created a buzz on the Internet, were blurred and at times blacked out to obscure the location of the filming, the source said.
“I have obviously degraded the quality to attempt to camo the location,” said the clandestine filmmaker. The original, which has not been posted in full, is very high quality, the source said.
Romney’s comments on the video go a step beyond his August claim, made in public, that the Obama administration’s state-by-state welfare waivers were an effort to “shore up his base.” In the behind-closed-doors speech to donors, Romney seems to be suggesting that nearly half of Americans expect to have all their needs supplied by the government.
As for the other 53 percent? Romney may have been referencing a meme started by conservative blogger Erick Erickson, who has noted that only 53 percent of Americans pay federal income taxes. Erickson argued that the rest of the country, and in particular the Occupy Wall Street movement, should “suck it up you whiners.”
The notion that Democrats hope to ride dependency to political power is one that has no shortage of adherents among conservatives. “We are reaching the tipping point where the majority of Americans are recipients of government programs,” columnist George Will said recently on Laura Ingraham’s radio show. “Heavens, one in seven of Americans is on food stamps today. The gamble — it’s really not a gamble, the tactic — of the Democratic Party is to run up the dependency ratio in this country until you get 50-60 percent of Americans dependent on the government in at least one or often in multiple ways, at which point they figure the party of government will always win.”
But there are a few problems with the idea of the overburdened “53 percent.” Many Americans don’t pay federal income taxes, in part, because of deductions like the child tax credit that have been championed by conservatives and progressives alike.Almost all of the “47 percent” do pay other federal taxes in the form of Social Security and Medicare payroll deductions and gas levies, as well as a variety of state and local sales and property taxes that aren’t dependent on income.
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