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Paul Ryan: 60 Percent Of Americans Are 'Takers,' Not 'Makers'

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Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan said in 2010 that 60 percent of Americans receive more financial benefits from the government than they pay in taxes, making them "takers," rather than "makers," according to a 2010 video of Ryan speaking with Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.).

"Right now about 60 percent of the American people get more benefits in dollar value from the federal government than they pay back in taxes," Ryan said. "So we're going to a majority of takers versus makers in America and that will be tough to come back from that. They'll be dependent on the government for their livelihoods [rather] than themselves."

Ryan has been making similar statements for years. His 60 percent comment to Jones was not a one-time gaffe, but an iteration of a point Ryan has repeatedly made while arguing for his plan to replace Medicare with a voucher system.

"Do you want the American idea of an opportunity society with a safety net where you can take a risk, start a business, make a difference, succeed and be honored for being successful?," Ryan said at a June 15, 2012 fundraiser. "Or do we go down the path the president is proposing -- a social welfare state, a cradle-to-the-grave society where we have more takers than makers."

  • Watch a mash-up of Paul Ryan's "takers and makers" talks in the video above.

Ryan posted the full interview on his official YouTube account, RepPaulRyan, on June 7, 2010, where it has garnered just 965 views, as of the writing of this article. On Friday morning, Mother Jones was the first publication to report on the video.

Ryan's comments in the video reinforce a statement made during a 2011 gala hosted by the American Spectator, where he cited a lower percentage of "takers" -- just 30 percent, while warning that the nation is reaching "a moral tipping point."

"Seventy percent of Americans want the American dream. They believe in the American idea. Only 30 percent want the welfare state," Ryan said in 2011. "Before too long, we could become a society where the net majority of Americans are takers, not makers."

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign was thrown into a tailspin last month by a video showing Romney disparaging 47 percent of Americans "who are dependent upon government."

"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what," Romney said at a fundraiser in May. "All right -- there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them. Who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing."

During the uproar that ensued, Romney initially said that he stood by the remarks, suggesting that they had been "inelegant," but a substantive reflection of his views. On Thursday, 17 days after HuffPost first published the video, Romney reversed his position entirely, calling the 47 percent statement "completely wrong" in an interview with Fox News.

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