Matt Taibbi says that Mitt Romney's recently leaked remarks about low-income Americans were "insane."
"I think he really genuinely believes that the only reason that his particular message isn't resonating is that people want something for free and he's not offering it to them," Taibbi, a contributing editor for Rolling Stone, told The Huffington Post on Tuesday. "It's crazy."
In a video leaked on Monday, Romney is seen at a May fundraiser saying that 47 percent of Americans "will vote for the president no matter what," "are dependent upon government," and "pay no income tax." These claims are largely inaccurate.
Taibbi, who famously labeled Goldman Sachs a "vampire squid" and recently lambasted Romney in a Rolling Stone article, said the top one percent on Wall Street looks down on the poor because it's the only way they can psychologically excuse their "mass fraud and theft."
"It's all based upon this idea that 'poor people deserve to be poor because they don't work hard enough and I deserve the money that I make because I do work hard,'" Taibbi said. "It's just a pervasive belief ... the psychological underpinning of almost everything they do. If they didn't have this way to excuse their dismissal of the poor, then they wouldn't be able to do a lot of the things that they do."
He noted that "everybody pays taxes in one form or another, whether sales tax or payroll tax," and that income taxes comprise a small percentage of Romney's own recent taxes.
Taibbi added that Romney, who comes from a privileged background, disregarded another "tax" that many poor people have to pay: "a kind of qualitative tax which nobody talks about -- this sucky hard work tax."
"If you're low-income enough to not be paying income tax, you're doing a shitty job that nobody else wants to do in this country," Taibbi said. "You're cleaning toilets. You're driving buses at the night shift. You're bussing tables. You're doing all these things that Mitt Romney is never going to do."