Mitt Romney, for once, saying what he actually thinks. Which is so awful he doesn’t say it in public.
Throughout history, elites have taken or tried to take resources from societies. In all societies there is inequality, but in different ones the elites take more. When the elites take too much, the society often collapses, as researchers like Joseph Tainter have compellingly shown. Rome is one example. Basically, when an elite grows out of control it’s like the society has cancer, it burns resources too much and dies. But elites will always take. The trick is to not take too much, and to certainly not tell the plebes about it. This later bit is what Mitt Romney has just messed up, in style.
The Cynicism Of Republicans
The US Republican party is horrifying in that it uses social issues and religion to get working class people to vote against their self interests. For example, Mitt Romney was just caught saying this to $50,000 a plate donors:
There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.
Romney went on: “[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” (Mother Jones)
So basically, he’s saying that he as a President wouldn’t really represent half the country, because they’re freeloaders. This is false because these people pay state, sales and many other types of tax. But that’s what he’s saying, and he hasn’t walked the quote back. This is what Republicans really mean, and this non-tax paying thing is something that Rush Limbaugh has long highlighted on his site. The Republican deal, however, is that you don’t talk about this. Why? Just look at this map:
Republican Voters Pay Less Taxes
Red shows the states with the highest number of non-tax-payers. Via The Atlantic
The 47% Mitt is talking about are actually in Republican states. In the same way, while Republicans rail against federal government spending, look at where that spending goes:
And Take More Federal Spending
Red shows the states that spend more federal dollars than they contribute. Via Ezra Klein
Republican states also take more federal dollars than they contribute. They require infrastructure projects, defense spending, government pork, more than the more productive coastal ‘blue’ states. Does any of this mean that these states are somehow bad or dumb or lazy as Romney implies? Nope. But it does mean that the Republican electoral strategy is built on a lie.
The Republican Paradox
The Republican Paradox is that they have to get these people to vote against reality and their own self-interest. The Republican party has actually devolved into a sort of cancerous elite that wants to take as much out of the economy as possible and to give people bad religion, social bigotry and what George Bush (Senior) called voodoo economics. AKA, their constant mantra of tax cuts for the ‘job creators’ based on the premise that wealth will trickle down. It obviously doesn’t, and a recent 65 year study showed as much.
Regardless, by marshaling fear of gays, blacks, immigrants, abuse of religion and bits of Confederate ‘screw the feds’ pride, the Republican party has been able to cobble together a remarkably stable coalition of working class whites (mostly male) who reliably vote against their self-interest.
That has worked well enough, saying one thing to the big donors that run the show and another to the people that vote. However, Mitt Romney has kinda messed up by saying what the Republican Party actually thinks. That they don’t much care about poor people, that they’re run for the elites, and they’re just playing the system to get into power so they can take money and resources out.
So, Romney’s kinda let that cat out of the bag. Luckily for him, cognitive dissonance runs deep among the hardcore. Unluckily for him, however, the hardcore never liked him that much, and the American public en masse isn’t so dumb. One hopes. One really hopes. It’s a really cruel trick that’s played out since Reagan. It’s the sort of cancerous elitism that causes great civilization to decline.