There is no sin greater in a presidential race than telling the truth. Romney is being excoriated for accurately describing the situation in America today. Here are the stats:
* 49% of all Americans pay no federal income tax.
* 47% receive a check from the government of which more than half are means tested welfare checks (Medicaid, welfare, food stamps, etc.).
* 36% of all Americans of working age are either not working or looking for work.
We must remember, however, that a great many of those who receive checks from the government have earned them. Some by their taxes over the years to Social Security and Medicare and others by paying a deeper price by service to their country.
The benefits Romney was talking about are means tested benefits, distributed based on income. All together 100 million Americans receive such benefits (out of a total population of 308 million), these benefits include welfare, food stamps, Section 8 housing, Medicaid and other such programs.
Generalities are always unjust. And painting with broad strokes will do many individuals an injustice. But the fact remains that our electorate is basically bifurcated into those who pay taxes and those who receive benefits.
The danger comes not with the benefit but with the sense of entitlement. Why do so many people feel Romney will be better at improving the economy and yet still plan to vote for Obama? The answer is that they care more about preserving their entitlements than about improving the economy. They have come to rely on political action more than economic growth as the key to their solvency.
Did Romney err in telling it like it is? It would have been better if he had made a forthright, factual statement on the issue. It looks bad for these unpleasant facts to come out in a “gotcha” moment at a videotaped private event. But the fact remains that an Obama reelection would turn the tide psychologically in America from the land of upward mobility through hard work and initiative and toward a country akin to Greece: dependent on government aid in the form of a subsidy and government handouts.
By stating this fundamental truth, albeit off the record, Romney has done a service for which he should be praised not excoriated. It all boils down to what John Kennedy said: There are those who ask what their country can do for you, and those who ask what you can do for your country.