Wednesday, September 19, 2012

0 Romney's Neglected 47% and the Hypocrisy of the Votes

My high school English teacher (and, effectively, my life coach), Mr. Wright, started writing his own blog that is largely political last year.  He had a post back in January, in the wake of Alabama's anti-immigration policies, that offered the question of, "What if [the North] had let the South go?"  That question can be weighed and debated over on Wright and Left but toward the end of the piece, Mr. Wright began running through some numbers that are pertinent to Mitt Romney's comments about the 47% of America that, allegedly, does not contribute and that will not vote against President Obama no matter what.

The Romney, Ryan, and Republican (I guess we can say, "RRR") narrative has been that President Obama placates to those who are living off of the government -- welfare queens, if you will, and much worse.  The picture overtly describes an entire class of people who lack any motivation to work and earn their own treasure or success; of a demographic that expects government to feed their kids, to pay for their food, and to make sure they wear a scarf when it snows outside; of a strata of society whose purpose is to exist as parasites out to feed from the wealthy and to relentlessly strangle the middle-class of what little prosperity it has achieved.  These tales, delivered to a Republican base -- comprised of many middle- and working-class whites, implicates people of color, implicates women, and implicates immigrants as the loose threads that are bleeding America's prosperity and denying this Republican base employment and opportunity.

The problematic component of this is that the numbers just don't add up.  Mr. Wright pointed out in his post that, "there isn't a single state from the Confederacy that makes the list for ten states with the lowest unemployment rates, but they have five of the highest."  If Republicans, or Americans more generally, believe that states have deserved the right to craft their own policy for the sake of their own constituents within their borders then states need to be held accountable.  To have such an affinity for local and state government, it seems as if Republicans are simply unwilling to hold their officials in these positions accountable.

When you examine per capita income, based on 2000 Census data, you will see that the top ten states for per capita income are: Delaware, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Colorado, Florida, New Hampshire, New York, Maryland, and Minnesota.  The bottom ten are: Idaho, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, New Mexico, Montana, Louisiana, Arkansas, West Virginia, and Mississipi.
Of those states in the top ten, eight have Democrats for governors and the other two have Republicans.  For the bottom ten, four of the states' governors are Democrats while six are Republican.  Looking at how these states voted in 2000, 2004, and 2008, the Democrat versus Republican voting pattern holds and demonstrates that the vast majority of states in the bottom ten voted Bush and/or McCain whereas the majority of top ten states voted for Gore, Kerry, and/or Obama.

Chart showing top and bottom ten states by per-capita income (2000 Census) and the party of their governor in 2011 alongside electoral votes for 2000, 2004, and 2008.

Then, using even more relevant data to hold-up against the Republican Party Platform, we can examine ratio of federal dollars spent on each state versus the number of tax dollars contributed to the federal government by each state.  What might one expect if they read the Republican position and read pay attention to their ads?  Why, that blue states are brimming with entitlements for the entitled, a bunch of socialists following Greece to the gates of financial ruin through their wild tax-and-spend policies.  Certainly, such a study would demonstrate devout adherence to the tenants of fiscal conservatism by those who crusade on its behalf against those aforementioned welfare queens.

Well, believe it or not, that isn't actually the case.  As Mr. Wright pointed out using data provided by CNN and verified by PolitiFact
Seventeen states give more money in taxes than they receive from the federal government, yet only two of these more generous states come from the former Confederacy--Texas and Florida--and their contributions just barely earn them a spot on that list.  The other states all accept more money from the government than they contribute.  Mississippi does so at more than double the rate they give.  These are the states that claim to oppose the idea of a national debt and that rail against welfare recipients as if they are the scourge of the nation.  Still, they somehow fail to see their role in propagating such a system because the conversation always focuses on the national debt as an equally-shared-and-caused problem.

This puts Republicans, and Mitt Romney, in a tight spot, no?  If there are forty-seven per cent who, "are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims," then who is that forty-seven per cent really loyal to and going to vote for no matter what?  The statistics just don't back-up Romney's assertions and, even worse, the narrative being advanced is leading folks (read: working-class whites) to [continue] voting against their own interests.

I don't think this is the death of the Romney campaign and anti-fact-checker politics by the Republican Party -- as much as I wish it was.  But it is, or should be, reason enough for Romney to sweat a little bit, if only for the fact that he was caught on camera for being such a jackass.  I'm glad to see that he looked a little frazzled at his press conference last night, standing before voters and trying to evade the press' questions as he has done since he entered the primary.  As the New Yorker wrote,
"Mitt Romney looked a mess Monday night. Standing in front of a group of reporters and cameras gathered on a few minutes’ notice, he was flustered. He spoke quickly, without his usual composure. He looked sad, frustrated—even seemed, once or twice, to be holding back flashes of anger. And worst of all, perhaps, his hair: so famously perfectly coiffed at all times, on Monday night it was, like its owner, out of sorts."
Hopefully the Obama team takes this as an opportunity to score some real points, the way Bill did at the DNC -- with facts.  If you think poor people, black people, Latinos, women, the elderly, and so forth, are all sitting around expecting entitlements and feeding off of the system rather than supporting it, then perhaps it is time to modify your thinking.  Not only are these entitled socialist parasites not the ones freeloading off the system, they're the ones holding it up.  It's blue states bankrolling red state insolvency and the red states biting the (invisible) hand that feeds.


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