Michael Wolraich's picture

    Who Believe They Are Entitled...

    All right, there are 47 percent...who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.

    Mitt Romney, 2012

    I believe that I am entitled to health care, to food, and to housing.

    I believe that Mitt Romney is entitled to health care, to food, and to housing.

    I believe that every American is entitled to health care, to food, and to housing.

    I leave you with this quote:

    The people who have benefited by national housing policy in the main are not even aware that they have had any from public sources And thus they tend to resent the idea that public money -- their tax money -- is being used to help the disadvantaged and the minority groups meet their needs.

    George Romney, 1969



    PS For the record, I believe that Americans should pay for their own you-name-it.




    I am so happy you chimed in on this!


    Well Put!

    Keep it up.

    Every day we have to remind every potential voter of what was just disclosed.

    And you say it so nicely!

    Nicely put Michael . . .

    And . . . One more out of Mitt's mouth that can't be overlooked:


    • “My job is not to worry about those people,”


    And here is an interesting breakdown From Ezra Klein at WonkBlog...

    "Among the Americans who paid no federal income taxes in 2011, 61 percent paid payroll taxes — which means they have jobs and, when you account for both sides of the payroll tax, they paid 15.3 percent of their income in taxes, which is higher than the 13.9 percent that Romney paid. Another 22 percent were elderly."




    "People don’t pay more than are legally due and frankly if they had paid more than are legally due I don’t think they'd be qualified to become president. I’d think people would want to follow the law and pay only what the tax code requires." Rmoney

    I'm entitled to a pony. Rafalca or not.

    Here is the locale of those 47% 'bums' Romney referenced.  Notice that most are not just red states for the purpose of this topic.....Oh yeah!  Isn't that interesting  -  You Betcha!



    Here is Obama's new ad about this - Clever, On Point and Ouch!


    Food, housing, and health and safety are not entitlements. They are basic human rights.

    Mitt Romney: Pro-life; Anti-humanity.

    That's all I got.

    The general aim of this comment in Romney's mind that evening I believe was to answer a question about campaign strategy.  He ended up, of course, revealing a fundamental belief and sentiment that is going over to well.  Romney was trying to explain his approach to those swing voters, the "independents in the middle."  The kicker is that the reason that many of these folks identify themselves as independents is because this expressed conservative view is too harsh for them.  A lot of these of the independents would be "rockerfeller republicans" if this was the 1970s and the Republican Party hadn't gone off the deep end ideologically.

    So that's what Romney sounds like when he speaks directly about his core convictions. Huh.

    It's amazing how all the usual Romney effects, the hesitations and obvious calculations and general air of phoniness, simply vanish in that clip. Speaking from the heart really does improve your speaking style.

    But I can see why he doesn't do it more often.

    Still, Romney ignored a question [during his press conference]  about whether he really believes what he was saying. Asked if his words were reflective of his "core convictions," Romney simply walked away.

    Because he can't answer.

    I finally get what Romney is about, after almost twenty years. He seems convictionless because he knows that what he really thinks is too unpopular to get him elected.

    ¥ou have to have core beliefs before you can answer a question about what they are.

    I personally don't think I am entitled to health care, in any deep, non-legal sense of "entitled".  But I do think we can have a society in which we all receive the same amount of health care, at least according to our varying needs, and that such a society would be the best kind of society to live in.

    I know this much.

    If some variant virus or bacterial infection hits a portion of our population; that portion better have access to medical care or we are all toast.



    Right on Dick . . .

    Although ... If some variant virus or bacterial infection hits a portion of our population; that portion of our population would instantly be quarantined and We the People would still end up footing the bill.


    The Corner Pharmacy's logo is a little unfortunate when reduced to tombstone size.

    I thought it said "The Boner Pharmacy."

    Nor is this interdependence, our fates are connected, concept something only ordinary Janes and Joes entertain. 

    I'm reading Ron Suskind's Confidence Men. Suskind is giving an inside account of the events of September 12-14, 2008, as panic had hit Wall Street.  Lehman Brothers was teetering.  Suskind writes (p. 100):

    So many of the dynamics of the crisis, in fact, were exacerbated by the ego-addled dance of the CEOs--over the years and in this very room--marking an era when the imperial chief executive often existed in a cloud city immune from accountability, even to quarterly earnings...

    Even Dick Fuld, [Lehmann CEO] atop his Midtown office tower, couldn't imagine a world without Lehman...Tonight he was holed up atop his castle, where he'd presided for two decades, wrestling with wounded pride, and outrage--"Thain's [CEO of Merrill] worse off than we are!" he was yelling at subordinates, and "Hank [then Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and former Goldman Sachs CEO] will never let us go down."

    So when things go south even the tippy top of the 1%, those rugged, self-reliant, tough love captains of American industry, act as though they believe in at least the benefits of interdependence--that we are in the end a society rather than just a group of random individuals, that surely the US government and its Wall Street-approved Treasury Secretary would never let an indispensable institution such as Lehman Brothers fail, with the damage that would do our economy and so many of our fellow citizens.  

    Of course, Lehman was allowed to fail.  None of the others, though.  Thanks--or no thanks, depending on your point of view--to you and me and the rest of US taxpayers.  Like these King of the Mountain Wall Street CEOs, Mitt seems a big believer in extracting whatever you can, while you can, in whatever way you decide you must.  Obligations to others?  Not so much, when the only obligations you perceive are the ones you think others owe you.   

    Figures you'd stick with this liberal misinterpretation, Genghis.

    Candidate Romney has since issued a correction, as you know full well:

    "Contrary to my liberal critics, in fact I do believe in people. 

    I believe in a person's right to health care, to food and to housing.

    -   I believe GM is entitled to health care funded by the American people.

    -   I believe Monsanto is entitled to the food produced across the entire Great Plains.

    -   And I believe Goldman Sachs is entitled to our houses. All of 'em!

    We're all people, people! Incorporated and yes, even the unincorporated, we're all people in this together. 

    Up, UP, With People!

    And in closing, "Doritos (TM)! Doritos Locos Tacos (TM)! There's always room for another tasty cheese snack in America!"

    You had me laughing earlier this afternoon. haahahaahaha

    I was recalling when not only Mitt but one of his sons spoke in Spanish and it was caught on youtube! hahahaha

    I do not know how you say:


    In Spanish. hahahahahahaha

    I could use some software I guess. hahahahaaha


    Maybe he could have received 60 grand instead of 50 grand in Florida per dish if he had noted that he would have done better if his parents were Chinese?


    And as my daddy George always used to say, "Doritos Locos Tacos (TM), bitches!"

    Also interesting about Romney's remarks is the economic reductionist outlook they seem to reflect: 47 percent who pay no federal income taxes implies, automatically, as if no other issues or concerns are or can be pertinent to their decision, 47 percent for Obama.  

    Just seems like a pretty dumb thing to say.  So, just to take issue-based appeals and strategies, he thinks neither a social issues pitch nor a foreign policy pitch ("We need war with Iran"?) could possibly dislodge some among that 47% from supporting Obama? 

    The remark reflects sloppy thinking in other ways as well.  Does he believe or assume that among those who will actually vote 47% pay no federal income taxes? 

    If I were someone in his audience who was being pitched for money and I heard the candidate himself say these things, I think I would be left with a feeling that this candidate is just not too sharp, and perhaps less likely to win on that account.  

    Truly, I have never felt entitled to anything just for being.  Probably my raising.  

    What was taught or to be learned in my culture was that good fortune is the result of the grace of God; bad fortune, a test of character; one is to do what is expected, carry their own weight and endure.  

    Not surprising really as I was yesterday reminded by the name of a nearby road I have not traveled in a decade or more:  Hardscrabble.  

    It is an ethos of scarcity and isolation in small interrelated communities, clannish, tribal.  Even though there is less scarcity and mass media have greatly reduced the isolation and clannishness, neither is far enough in the past for the ethos to be completely forgotten or much changed.

    Convincing people who never felt entitled to anything and found getting the basics, food, a house, health insurance, a real hardscrabble that everyone is entitled to them just because they are citizens is going to be a hard sell.  Add on the rugged individualist mythos and some corrupt Randian philosophy and it is practically impossible.

    Those of you with siblings should be able to relate to the feeling.  You know how understanding we tend to be when we think they are not doing their fair share or that they are receiving preferential treatment.  

    Does any of this apply to Mitt?  Only to the extent the same ethos is engrained in his Mormon culture.  My guess is that it is pretty deep given the LDS emphasis on emergency preparedness particularly food storage.



    Yes, I prefer a form of social contract outlook:  We all contribute the best we can to the production of the goods our society generates.  Everyone does a fair share of the work; everyone gets a fair share of the output.  And what makes a share "fair" has nothing to do with your God-given specialness, but everything to do with whether you are doing your own personal best to contribute the work which your own skills and talents make possible for you.  Where the private sector fails to generate enough work opportunities so that every single citizen can contribute, and so that our society to achieve its massively unrealized potential, the public must step in and create those opportunities, and to organize the needed work that the private sector can't - or won't organize.

    The only form of economic entitlement in such a system is the earned entitlement from fulfilling one's part of the social contract.

    What galls me is that the plutocrats who maintain the present capitalist system of radical inequality, forced unemployment, social dependency, economic stagnation and governmental impotence and lassitude have the cojones to bitch about the idleness of the serfs they themselves have disemployed.

    Yes, what I described was a social contract.  Although sometimes muddled you knew what was required of you, what work needed to be done to provide for your basic economic needs and you were taught and trained in the necessary skills.  In other words, society has contractual obligations in return to teach and train, to enable and empower all its citizens because we are all better off when we are all better off.  Somewhere along the way that mutual aspect of our social contract seems to have gotten lost.  

    What do you think of the idea of paying people (actually just crediting a Treasury account) to learn and develop specific skills that are both personally and socially valuable?  


    OT:  Congratulations on the link to your 'shamanistic economics' from Counterparties.


    "Entitled" would not be the word I would choose if I were trying to sell people on the concept. It has the negative connotations of inflated expectations. Perhaps "deserve."

    People deserve to have enough food to eat, to have roofs over their heads, and not to die from treatable illnesses. You cannot "carry your own weight and endure" if you have no food or a life-threatening illness. You can endure for a while without a roof but not in a cold winter.

    It is only when we allow ourselves to forget that people will die without these basic guarantees--or when we are so callous that we persuade ourselves that people who cannot satisfy their basic needs by themselves "deserve" to die--that we can question the importance of the programs that Mitt Romney regards as gifts to freeloaders.


    Let's not forget about enlightened self-interest, something so many of conservative Republicans of yesteryear used to have.  Because that person, who deserves or is entitled to food, if that person doesn't get food, is very likely going to break into your home to get some food before they die of starvation.  Romney has returned "let them eat cake" approach to governance.  I guess this explains why he chose Ryan.

    "Deserve" would probably not work either.  

    I remember a PBS pledge week program of an personal empowerment promoter of the Tony Robbins ilk who had his audience say repeatedly during his talk, "I deserve the best that life has to offer."  He would go on to say that deserving does not always equate to getting but that you were more likely to get if you believed you deserved.  

    I remember the program because neither my mother nor my sister could bring themselves to say it.  I still do not completely understand why not.  They were always more socially normal than me.

    I really do not disagree with what you want to accomplish only with how you try to frame (sell) it.  That really does matter because it affects how people perceive themselves.


    Maybe people are social and altruistic animals and are naturally resistant to all this personal empowerment and self-"desert" talk characterizing the radical individualism of the modern era.  It might be a better approach, from the standpoint of progressive politics at least, to have your mother look at your sister and say, "I want her to have the best that life has to offer, and will fight to get it for her", and have your sister turn to your mother and say the same thing.  I'll bet they wouldn't have as much trouble saying those things.

    As social creatures, there is always going to be a certain turmoil between our wiring that facilitates socialability and collectivism and our wiring that promotes self-preservation.  Similar turmoil exists for other social creatures, but the introduction of language and culture has not only increased that turmoil, it also facilitates a wider spectrum of expression - with some leaning toward greater individualism and others greater collectivism.  Am I a whole unto myself or am I just part of a greater whole.  No one is purely in one camp or the other.

    During an election, people are fond of saying people vote their pocketbook.  If they and their family are doing personally well, than they will be inclined to maintain the status quo, and so on. There is a lot of truth to this sentiment, but what is forgotten in this conventional wisdom is that for many, right behind their interest in their own personal well-being is a concern for the well-being for their "neighbors."

    Working for charities all these years, I have seen too many of the people in the top half of the income brackets (i.e. > ~50K median household income) pull out those checkbooks and writes checks for food banks, homeless shelters, and free health clinics and energy assistance programs.  Sure there are some that do it solely for the tax benefit, and some who do it to reinforce their notion of being superior to those in need.  But the vast majority of them, I believe, do it in large part because they simply believe it is not right that their neighbors suffer at a fundamental level of basic needs.

    Romney comments reflect a view that is void of such a belief.  There are some that say Romney himself does not really hold this belief, he was merely trying to speak to those who lack this basic concern for those in need.   Regardless, he comes across as if he sees the world like they do.

    I am reminded of the audio captured of the two guys from Enron talking about how they screwed over Grandma Millie. "....Yeah, now she wants her fuckin’ money back for all the power you’ve charged right up – jammed right up her ass for fuckin’ 250 dollars a megawatt hour."

    And the this is - that most people in the upper brackets, the one Romney is trying to swing his way are horrified by such a view of humanity.  Sure they are first going to look at things from what is best for them and the ones they are personally connected to, but they would like to believe that while their lives improve, the lives of those who they don't know get better to.  That social creature is still there. 

    You are right, Romney could have been speaking to kindred souls at Enron.

    Those recorded Enron  conversations were chilling. Screw the masses was the motto.

    Profit above all.

    Obviously, you do not know my mother and sister.  If you did you would think from their appearances and behaviors that they certainly thought they deserved the best.  So why not able to say it?  Anyway, a branch of that personal empowerment fad evolved into prosperity gospels with which my sister has no problem.




    I think looking at Romney's remarks through the prosperity gospel lens offers some potential insight into how he sees the world. 

    Yes--because if you're chosen by God, you might not HAVE to pay income tax.

    Check with God by praying about it; there's a good chance you'll like his answer.

    (It's worth noting that according to the concept of God-given prosperity, being an Evangelical Christian, or in Mitt's case a Mormon, automatically confers non-moocher status. Unless one is an Evangelical Christian Democrat, in which case moocher status is retained.)

    (It is also worth noting that Jesus was one of the moochers, and said something about moochers inheriting the earth, or was that the cheese makers.)

    *removed by author*


    Just one thing that crossed my mind as I watched the video an umpteenth time on a news program was I wondered how the wait staff felt listening to Romney talk about the 46% - many I assume who fell into that group of folks who don't pay federal income tax.  Maybe Romney should have stopped his speech and asked one them why they feel entitled to things like food, or why they won't take responsibility for themselves or care for themselves.

    The reality is that probably for him and the rest of the guest, "the help" was just as much of the room as the table, curtains and plates, their value only based on their extent that provide the utility for which they were purchased or rented.

    Eugene Robinson the other day put it best (as he so often does) that the speech was Romney's "we have to stop coddling the servants" speech.


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