“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…
“And I mean the president starts off with 48, 49 … he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. So he’ll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean that’s what they sell every four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to convince the five to ten percent in the center that are independents that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or the other depending upon in some cases emotion, whether they like the guy or not.”
Well that’s one way of looking at things.
I understand that I too have said things that I wouldn’t want captured by secret camera, and they have likewise been fiery statements lacking in both charity and nuance. But this argument, that taxes go to support people who don’t deserve anything and that people who need help are lazy, is out there, even if it is stated less crassly than the above quote. Like I said, it’s one way of looking at things.
I don’t look at things that way. I pay federal income tax. I pay payroll taxes, with no realistic expectation that Social Security will be around when I retire. I pay sales tax (except when I’m gigging in New Hampshire, but that’s not my fault). I pay ALL THE TAXES. And I do it gladly.
Aside from once using Free Care at City Hospital before we switched to RomneyCare, I’ve never used any of the aid programs. I’ve called 911 before, and enjoyed paved roads and public schools and libraries. But I’ve never needed welfare or food stamps, because I have a job and just enough of a safety net.
I was born a third- generation European American in Connecticut to parents who valued education. I take tests well which got me into a college that opened doors for me. I worked hard, but not as hard as I could have. In fact, I didn’t learn to work hard until my advantages had already gotten me to a pretty nice place. I can’t take credit for anything that got me there.
So I pay all the taxes with joy, all the while taking personal responsibility and being thoughtful and doing all of the things that someone who supports the current president purportedly doesn’t do. I support taxes and entitlements and safety nets not because I want to be taken care of but because I want to know others are taken care of. I want to take care of others.
Please don’t tell me just to give to charity. I do, and I volunteer and try every day to grow the Reign of God. But we live in a big country, and a big country needs big government.
I believe we are all safer and better off in a society in which people are treated well, respected, and cared for. I believe the true American Exceptionalism is that we can find a way to balance marvelous, unprecedented personal freedoms with the truth that we’re all in this together.