Republicans Helped Create Romney’s “Taker Class”

There is much talk about the 47%  46%—those on the take in Romney’s formulation—who don’t pay taxes and will, the GOP candidate falsely told his rich bankrollers, all vote for Barack Obama.

Fortunately, we have people like Ezra Klein to open our eyes. He reminds us that:

Part of the reason so many Americans don’t pay federal income taxes is that Republicans have passed a series of very large tax cuts that wiped out the income-tax liability for many Americans. 

And he says:

Some of those tax cuts for the poor were there to make the tax cuts for the rich more politically palatable. 

And finally:

Republicans are arguing that these Americans they have helped free from income taxes have become a dependent and destabilizing “taker” class who want to hike taxes on the rich in order to purchase more social services for themselves…

So notice what happened here: Republicans have become outraged over the predictable effect of tax cuts they passed and are using that outrage as the justification for an agenda that further cuts taxes on the rich and pays for it by cutting social services for the non-rich.

That’s why Romney’s theory here is more than merely impolitic. It’s actually core to his economic agenda.

From FDL:

And we must keep reminding ourselves that the reason so many folks don’t have jobs, and good paying jobs, such that they can pay income taxes, is partly because of the Great Recession that Mr. Bush handed President Obama.

And to exploit that situation and write off so many folks is, well, so Romneyan.

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  1. Romney is in a rather precarious position when he talks about who pays taxes. Could he be among those who don’t pay? How can we know, since he refuses to reveal how much he has paid in the last few years. Is Romney among that 47% who pay no tax?


    • Excellent point, Helen. I heard Romney say on Fox yesterday that people are glad to pay taxes and I thought how hypocritical he is. His aggressive avoidance of taxes and his unwillingness to defend that aggressiveness by releasing his tax returns betrays him.


  2. Yellow Dog

     /  September 18, 2012

    I just know I’m sick and tired of watching and hearing these fat, white, rich cats put everyone else down and divide our country into the privileged and the worthless. Of course the worthless deserve to die (they think they’re entitled to healthcare…..”)…..who do these rich fat cats think they are?

    The Republicans need to take a real hard look at the “little people” rioting in the Middle East. THAT could be America and THE REPUBLICANS could be on the receiving end of the endless hatred THEY preach and the division between the working class and poor and the rich that THEY have cultivated.

    Like the previous post said, Romney WON’T even show HIS tax returns for fear we will all see he pays no taxes. Poor little rich boy…..

    We don’t even need debates as far as I’m concerned….Obama has won.


  3. Excellent points all.

    I also wish Ezra would do an analysis for us of the hidden taxes that the 46% pay, and by that I refer to the substantial corporate taxes that businesses pay and which they pass completely on to consumers in the prices of their products. And since I’m on a roll I will point out that the 46% spend a much higher percentage of their total income on products, and therefore on that hidden tax, that do the 53%.


    • Those hidden, indirect taxes are substantial, no doubt. And they never get calculated in the total tax share, as far as I can find. Since wealthy folks don’t have to spend most of their income each year, there is no doubt the tax system we have is much too regressive, but I have a sense that folks generally just think the whole thing is a mess that should be tossed out, even if they think it now favors the wealthy.

      One thing I will say, as far as people’s attitudes toward taxes, is that Republicans have been successful in eliminating the estate tax here and there, mostly because people don’t appreciate the principle behind the tax, a principle related to progressivity in the tax code. Democrats need to do a better job defending the principles of progressivity, principles that have their roots in late 19th century excesses.


      • I’m glad you mentioned the estate tax issue, Duane. That affects the 46% so little that they hardly notice the efforts of the 53% to construct a legislative structure to strengthen American dynasties. Too bad Romney didn’t have time to address that too in his Boca Raton speechifying – it would have been juicy stuff.


  4. Jim,

    Timothy Snyder’s article in the New York Times Review of Books offers a prescient take on “Marxism in reverse” as expressed by the GOP as an economic ideology.


    • Excellent, John! I completely agree with Snyder’s analysis of the economic war being waged between the parties. It’s regrettable that few will take the time to absorb it, but its wisdom is nicely summed in the final paragraph. Maybe that will tempt some to read the rest:

      The great political thinkers of the twentieth century have discredited ideological systems that claim perfect knowledge of what is to come and present politicians as scientists of the future (remember, Ryan’s budget plan tells us what will happen in 2083). The way to national prosperity in the twenty-first century is surely to think non-ideologically, to recognize that politics is a choice among constraints and goods rather than a story about a single good that would triumph if only evil people would allow it to function without constraints. The market works very well for some things, the government is desperately needed for others, and stories that dismiss either one are nothing more than ideology.


    • I second Jim’s praise. Fantastic.


  5. Mark your calendars — September 17, 2012 — the day Mitt Romney lost the election for president of the United States.


    • Interestingly, Sept 17th is also Constitution Day.


    • Hush! You’re going to put a curse on my side! The election will still be very close, too close for comfort, at least regarding the popular vote.


      • According to today’s forecast by FiveThirtySeven, Obama has a 72.9% chance of winning the Electoral College and a 50.9% chance of winning the popular vote. (See But, I don’t think Romney’s comments dissing 47% of the electorate has fully sunk in yet. But I have no doubt that the Obama campaign will give us daily reminders of it up through November 6th and that the 50.9% will rise dramatically. Next week’s debate should be even more revealing.

        Damn, I almost feel sorry for Romney. I hate that.


        • I follow Nate Silver and I trust him, but until the chance of winning gets to 100%, I ain’t buyin’ it. Too much work has to be done and the Republican push to keep Democrats from voting is still a live issue.



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