With the upcoming presidential elections in November, prospects are not looking so promising for Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. Following the release of a video from one of Romney’s private events earlier this year, a Gallup poll has found that Independents are less likely to vote for Romney by a wide margin. Polls this year have shown that most voters have already made up their minds ahead of the election in November, and any shift towards either candidate could have huge implications, according to Nate Silver of the New York Times.
Romney, who was governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007, gave a speech on May, 17, 2012 at a fundraiser held at a private residence in Boca Raton, Fla. In his speech, Romney allegedly commented that, “47 percent of the country are people who are dependent upon the government, who believe they are victims, who believe the government has the responsibility to take care of them, who believe they are entitled to health care, food, housing, you name it,” Romney said. “My job is not to worry about people who won’t take personal responsibility and care for themselves.”
Romney’s speech was recorded and leaked to Mother Jones, a nonprofit magazine. It can be found on a multitude of internet sites including USA Today. “Obama and his campaign officials call Romney’s remarks, ‘Callous and shocking,'” said USA Today reporters. Since its release the video has caused a storm of controversy, as Mitt Romney has had to defend his remarks referring to the 47 percent of Americans who do not pay income taxes.
A Gallup Poll conducted by USA Today stated, “Over half of the independents say the video won’t make a difference in their vote. Those who say it will have an effect by 2-to-1; 29 percent to 15 percent say it makes them less likely rather than more likely to support the GOP Presidential nominee.”
Due to his remarks, Romney appears to be a person “who only cares for the rich,” said BusinessWeek. “Romney implies that the 47 percent in question did not pay income tax.”
According to Joshue Green of BusinessWeek this is misleading because only about ten percent of people did not pay taxes, mostly retires.
Green argued, “Another reason fewer Americans are paying taxes is because they are unemployed.” Green refers to the Earned Income Tax Credit created in 1975 by Democratic Senator Russell Long of Louisiana as another reason some Americans are not paying in when tax season rolls around. EITC is a wage subsidy for the working poor. “It functions as an offset to income tax in order to offer an incentive to work.
“Conservatives like it because it encouraged the poor to lift themselves out of poverty, rather than collect welfare,” said Green.
President Ronald Reagan later expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit as a part of the 1986 tax reforms.
David Brooks of the New York Times commented that Romney is critical of President Obama “for dividing the nation into two groups: the makers and the moochers.”
Yet, Obama has made a statement in retaliation to Romney’s critical views of America’s financial situation. Obama said, “Americans are not victims…voters want to make sure that their president is not writing off big chunks of the country.” The 47 percent described, according to BusinessWeek, are “Obama supporters who depend on government and believe they are victims.”
On the “Late Show with David Letterman,” Obama commented, “My expectation is that if you want to be president, you have to work for everyone, not just for some.”
In the heat of the 47 percent debate Mitt Romney’s income tax return history was brought into the national spotlight again when those returns were released to the media last week. “Romney’s returns showed that he had paid millions of dollars in taxes every year to the U.S. Government. Between 2010 and 2011, Romney donated seven million dollars to charity. He has also paid 100 percent of what he has owed in taxes,” according to Mitt Romney’s campaign website.
However, Democrats seized this opportunity to portray Mitt Romney as out of touch with ordinary Americans. “Obama raised questions about Romney’s offshore accounts, his ties to Bain Capital and an investment firm he owned between 1984 and 2002, as well as charitable deductions, claiming Romney’s details of his return were vague,” said Gregory Korte of USA Today.
Korte claimed that in his 2011 tax return, “Romney reduced the deductions he claimed for charity to maintain his promise that he had paid not less than 13 percent in taxes for any recent year.”
Romney’s generous donations to charity and good intentions are not enough for Democrats though. In a statement to the Miami Herald, Obama’s deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter claimed, “today’s release of Mitt Romney’s 2011 tax return confirms what we already knew-that people like Romney pay a lower tax rate than many middle-class families because of a set of complex loopholes and tax shelters only available to those at the top.”