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TMFFlushDraw (73.63)

Entitlement vs. Entitlement

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September 20, 2012 – Comments (11)

What do Mitt Romney and the "entitled" 47% of America have in common? How about entitlement? 

 Here are the two useful definitions of entitlement from Webster's Dictionary online. 

- a government program providing benefits to members of a specified group

- belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges 

I don't disagree with Romney that too many people are on welfare, food stamps, unemployment, etc. I would love to hear solutions to this problem instead of complaining about the "takers" who are somehow stealing from the "makers", which this debate has become. We also have an issue with too many people being reliant on social security and medicare in retirement, which are the largest portion of this 47% Romney complained about. 

But when I sat back and thought about it again, isn't Romney acting awfully entitled? Not by the first definition, but by the second. Romney was born into priviledge and leveraged that into a very successful career. For that I do not begrudge him. But does his success mean that he deserves to pay a smaller percentage in taxes than most Americans? Does he deserve to own multiple homes because of the career he chose while someone who chose to be a teacher struggles to meet ends meet and therefore falls in the 47%? Did he deserve the loan his father gave him to buy his first house? Does he deserve the right to judge those with less as people who don't "take personal responsibility and care for their lives"? I don't begrudge him for getting these things, but did he deserve them? 

(the next paragraph is filled with gross generalizations, but you know what I'm talking about) 

My problem is with an attitude that "successful" (ie. rich) people have somehow done it on their own and owe no one anything for their success. They don't want to pay taxes, don't want to follow regulations built to keep the whole of society safe, and heaven forbid they have to deal with lowly workers who organize themselves into a union as their last resort in negotiating with the powers that be in business. How is an attitude of "I earned it, it's mine" with no regard for social responsibility somehow not viewed as entitlement? 

Rex Nutting may have said it best on MarketWatch.com yesterday saying, "Mitt Romney is running for president of an America where hard work only counts if it leads to success."  

I'm not a religious person, but I do remember a line from my Bible school days that seems appropriate. From Matthew 19:23-24 - "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 

When I read this I think of the responsibility those with the most have to those with the least. It begins with not judging those with less as somehow lazy, inferior, or stupid. Sure, those people exist, but let's not lump 47% of America into this boat. For heaven sake Mitt Romney's own father benefited from the government's programs to support the poor. 

I pay taxes like most Americans and by the nature of my job I have to actually write a check every quarter. It makes you appreciate how much you pay when you have to do this. But I never do it begrudgingly. I drive on the roads that my taxes pay for, I went to the schools my taxes pay for, I live in the America my taxes pay for and for that I am thankful. I wish things were different, sure, but we live in a society where everyone should be considered and the good of all is better than the good of one. 

We have challenges ahead, there is no doubt about that. But somehow dividing us into "makers" and "takers" isn't the way to get over these challenges. Mitt Romney is a successful man but I would bet everything I own that there thousands of workers around the country who did much of the hard work that made that success possible. Many of these workers no doubt fall in his reviled 47%. Instead of blaming them, he should thank them for everything they have done for him. He should thank the state of Michigan for the education that provided a framework for him to build success. He should thank those before us who built our interstates, our power grid, our military, because without those his success would not be possible. I don't think Mitt was entitled to this infrastructure he built his success on, he was futunate to begin life in the position he did and he took full advantage of it.

I wish he would understand that those who don't reach the same success aren't always at fault for their failures. Businesses fail, disabilities happen, and sometimes people reach a stretch of bad luck. A society as successful as America has a responsibility to build those people up, not knock them down. What exactly that role is... well that can be debated, but I'd like to start from a position of mutual understanding and not a position of condemnation. 

Don't get me wrong. Obama doesn't have all of the answers and this isn't an endorsement of him. I'd like to be able to debate the positive merits of Mitt, I'm just finding that challenging as we find out how little he can relate to those of us who have been laid off, been on government assistance, and have managed to find success even after life handed us challenges.

For someone judging those on entitlements Mitt Romney is sounding a awful lot like an entitled person. He just has different entitlements than you and I.  

My two cents,

Travis Hoium 

11 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On September 20, 2012 at 1:27 PM, ChrisGraley (29.79) wrote:

taking from one person and giving to another is theft no matter who is on each end of the deal.

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#2) On September 20, 2012 at 1:34 PM, Teacherman1 (57.89) wrote:

Travis 

As a fiscal conservative and a social liberal, I could fall on either side of your argument, but I did want to make a couple of comments.

On the social liberal side, I know there are those who need help, and I am all in favor of giving it when needed.

On the fiscal conservative side, there are too many who receive that help, who don't really need it, thereby raising the overall cost of providing for the needs of those who really do need it.

Just one last point that seems to have been passed over in the media reaction to his comments. I don't think he was saying that the 47% were just lazy and didn't deserve help (though I am sure many are), but rather he was commenting on the fact that out of the voting population, 47% favored and would vote for Obama rather than him, and that 42% favored and would vote for him, rather than Obama, and that if he was going to win the election, the difference would have to be made up from the 10% to 11% who were in the middle.

I understand that just on the face of it, with the "brief snippet" that was shown, it appears to be a mean remark, but I honestly don't think he meant it that way.

JMO and worth exactly what I am charging for it.

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#3) On September 20, 2012 at 2:57 PM, TMFFlushDraw (73.63) wrote:

@Teacherman1

I agree with your first two points. I fall in the same boat, as many frustrated voters do. 

Your third point is maybe true but his words didn't sound that way (and I listened many times). The quote about not taking personal responsibility is the one that really crushed my respect for him.

I don't think he's a mean guy and actually think he's probably very nice and giving with his time and money. 

Travis Hoium 

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#4) On September 20, 2012 at 8:53 PM, awallejr (83.89) wrote:

There but for the grace of God go I.  I am pretty much a centrist.  I'm the guy Romney needs to convince.  And so far hasn't.  He will have 2 chances with the 2 debates, but I suspect he will just talk generalities.

I took Romney's "47%" remark basically as  callous business analysis.  That is his nature.  He views things from a "business" point of view.  He did it at Bain and made a fortune.  Bain would focus on a particular company. The fact that many lost their jobs as a result of Bain's action didn't matter to Bain.  Those workers just go on their way. 

The problem with trying to run a Government on those same principles is those workers are still members of society.  They can't just go on their way.

What does a black mom with 3 children, 1 autistic do when the father is in jail or just disappeared? 

What does a self-employed person with no disability insurance because of unaffordability do when he suffers a permanent stroke?

What about all those veterans returning home having suffered major injuries do?

What does that person suffering from Alzheimer's do?

What does that elderly person permanently wheelchair bound relying only on SS and medicaire do?

I can go on and on.

Running a business and running a country are two drastically different things.

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#5) On September 21, 2012 at 2:05 AM, motleyanimal (90.88) wrote:

I am ideologically opposed to mandated Social Security and healthcare. I believe that each of us should save and prepare for our own retirement. Yet, I know that at least half the population can not or will not do so. That is why I favor Social Security and Medicare, since without it there would be mass poverty, terrible suffering, and all the social problems and unrest that goes with it.

As for Romney's 47%, the facts are that the poorest states in the country are mostly in the south, they collect a bigger percentage of government assistance per capita than anywhere else in the country, and are devoted Republican conservative voters. In other words, the 47% is Romney's base, whether he knows it or not.

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#6) On September 21, 2012 at 9:31 AM, Mary953 (74.08) wrote:

This site is full of people who are helping each other learn more so that we can take care of our own families, our own retirements.  No one is making us do this, we choose to share what we can.  The key here is choice.

There is no choice where government is involved.  When the government begins to take from one and give to another, the entire balance shifts out of control.  If parents want to aid their children, that is choice.  If you are required to aid my children, that is not.  Three of my four (in-laws included) are back in school because they have found that their dream jobs do not pay enough to live on and raise a family.  (The community will lose an outstanding policeman/SWAT team member soon)  They discovered that their 'dream jobs' were not economically realistic.

The question is this - Your money is a representation of your work and time.  Do you want the government to be pro-active in taking it from you and giving it away?  Do you expect to be part of the 47% or part of the 53%?  

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#7) On September 21, 2012 at 12:50 PM, awallejr (83.89) wrote:

Yes I do want the Government to collect money and disperse it where needed.  I am living in a civilized society not the days of the early frontier.   I want roads, bridges, dams, parks, street lights, waste collection facilities, sewer system, police department, fire departement, emergency services, national guard, military force,schools etc.

It takes money for these things.  Money which is collected in many ways.  It always ticked me off when I hear the kudlowites only harp on who pays the most income taxes.  Except the federal budget only derived 47.4% of its total income from income taxes. 

Where did the rest come from?   35.6% from payroll taxes (the bulk paid by the average Joes), 7.9% from corporations which is passed off back to the customers, again the bulk of the average Joes, 8.8% from custom, duties, excise misc taxes, again the bulk paid for by the average Joe, and .3% from estate and gift taxes which I suspect the bulk is paid for by the rich.

So the rich pay the bulk of 47.7% and conveniently fail to acknowledge that the rest of the country pays for the bulk of 52.3% of federal income, which comes from that "47%" of the people.

And now that they were given a major tax break over the last 12 years (including under Obama) and having accumulated massive wealth while the middle class actually shrank from 61% to 51%, 1/5 in NYC are living in poverty and 40% of the rest of the country now is they want more.  See these charts:

 http://www.businessinsider.com/what-wall-street-protesters-are-so-angry-about-2011-10

And so the Kudlowites want to go after entitlements while still demanding to keep those tax advantages.  And who are these entitlements for: your average Joe.  Thank you Sir may I have another!

I paid into ss and medicaire and now when I am getting closer and closer to collecting they want to change the terms on me. While I do acknowledge that medicaire needs help, but that is more the result of spiraling costs.  But you can't keep asking the average Joe to always take the hit only.

Those Bush tax cuts never did what you hear the Kudlowites argue, create jobs and increase revenues.  It didn't.  And had we kept the Clinton tax brackets we wouldn't be facing the large budget deficits we did annually for over a decade which accumulated into higher debt.

I listed in #4 several examples of people who are in that 47% NOT out of choice. 

What I want is term limits on Congress.  I want campaign contribution limitations.  I want an end of those pacs.  Drastic limitations on lobbying.  I want a return to a higher progression of income taxes on people making $1 million and more. I want harsher estate tax schedules.  I want a limitation on new government hirings (lose a person to attrition then can replace, or do a 2 for 1 arangement). 

I can go on and on but I need to get off the soap box now.

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#8) On September 21, 2012 at 1:19 PM, Turfscape (44.13) wrote:

>>The community will lose an outstanding policeman/SWAT team member soon>>

Mary, policemen are an example of government taking money from citizens and giving it to someone else...in this case, the policeman. Police are a part of government just as much as Social Security or public schools are. Police are a part of the 47% that is reliant on government spending.

No one offers me a choice as to whether I want my taxes to go to police, or perhaps Lockheed-Martin for development of an advanced strike fighter. Yet "conservatives" keep asking for more money for that while crying about "wasteful spending" and "taxed enough already". 

The disagreement between the parties is NOT about taxes and spending. The disagreement is NOT about 47% versus 53%. Both parties love to tax and love to spend. Both parties are addicted to it. The disagreement is on whether to buy food for "the poor" or weapons to "liberate" nations. Should it go to individuals directly, or to corporations to pass down through payrolls. Should the money go to mediators for middle-east peace negotiations, or to more tanks and planes for Israeli defense. Should it be spent on a wall along the Mexico border, or on job training for US citizens.

We can not address the issues in our country until we finally get past this false dichotomy that tells us the GOP is against taxes and the Democrats are for taxes.

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#9) On September 21, 2012 at 3:12 PM, TMFFlushDraw (73.63) wrote:

Everyone, 

Thanks for all of the comments. I love seeing the opinions and appreciate everyone for keeping it clean and respectful. Hopefully the same kind of discussion is taking place somewhere in Washington where the few sane people left in Congress could actually solve these problems and get us headed in a better direction.

Travis Hoium 

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#10) On September 21, 2012 at 3:34 PM, ChrisGraley (29.79) wrote:

LOL awallejr, 

 Last time we finally agreed on something, but this time we must diverge yet again.

I'm pretty sure even  the Republicans would be happy to get rid of the payroll tax and corporate tax entirely if the Democrats would let them. I do agree that a majority of those taxes are paid by the average Joe. I would love to take it a step farther and get rid of the income tax entirely as well. I would also love to replace everything with a sales tax. I would personally like it if we exempted food, shelter, clothing, and utilities from that tax. That way, the burden is not on the average Joe. If you working to pay to feed your kids, you pay nothing, but the tax on that big screen TV will be high.

I most definately do not want the government to collect money and disperse it where needed! They suck at it! It is totally repulsive that 10 cents out of every dollar collected for welfare actually goes to the welfare recipient. 

I do agree that both Democrats and Republicans are buying votes by spending beyond the means of tax collections.

I am a minarchist at heart, so I think our tax dollars should go to 2 basic things. We should use those dollars to maintain law and order and keeping us from hurting eachother. We should also use those dollars to keep other nations from hurting us.

Your statement that you paid into Social Security and Medicare and now "They are changing the terms." is exactly why you don't wan't a government that spends money to get elected to be in charge of anything else. They don't have your best interests in mind and they never will. 

Reduce the spending to what we need to be a civil society  and let us take care of ourselves.

Giving someone else permission to handle your welfare is just asking to be exploited. 

 

 

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#11) On September 21, 2012 at 7:57 PM, awallejr (83.89) wrote:

That's ok Chris, I never mind people disagreeing with me.  That's what makes the world turn round.  What bugs me is when these career politicians, with their hidden agendas, dig their heels in and refuse to compromise for the betterment of the Country.  Yes Mr. Boehner, compromise.  Yes Jeb Bush, compromise.  And shoo Grover Norquist.

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