After Romney spoke to the NAACP this past week and he was booed after he promised to kill Obamacare, he said something a day or two later in Hamilton, Mont., "Remind them of this: if they want more stuff from government, let them go vote for the other guy. But, do not forget, nothing is really free."
This statement is simply astonishing, and even if it is claimed that he "misspoke" or is out of context, it truly boggles the mind for either stupidity or complete lack of knowledge and understanding of the existing role of the Federal Government.
While I have not made a scientific study of the statistical implications of that statement, I nevertheless believe I can say with almost 100 percent certainty that the total size of the population he was indirectly addressing is well over 75 percent of the whole population of the United States.
Let's make a little list of ten larger categories of people who do receive benefits today from government:
- Social Security
- Unemployment benefits
- Small Business loans and bank deposit guarantees
- Education loans
- Investment tax credits
- Medical research
- Transportation support
- Food and drug protection
That list is the tip top of the iceberg of what the U.S. population gets today from the Federal budget.
There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, more categories. It is almost safe to say that every American gets something today from the federal budget even though most people are not aware, or fully aware, and they take it for granted.
Whether it was a good idea or not to get the American people so dependent on the Federal Government is not the topic of this piece. And, I am willing to stipulate that perhaps we have gone too far in some arenas particularly. But this piece is not a forum for that discussion.
That said, the idea that we should elect someone who proposes so brazenly and clearly to effectively propose to rip up and throw away today's social contract is almost bizarre for two reasons: (1) if it did happen we would positively see a much worse economic climate overnight and (2) happily, it is unimaginable that the voting population would be taken in to receive that poisonous gas.
The statement of Romney's is reminiscent of Walter Mondale's gamble during the 1984 Democratic Convention when he famously said apropos of taxes, "He [Ronald Reagan] will tell you he won't raise taxes, when he is planning to, I will tell you now that I will raise taxes -- so trust me!" It is true that Mondale was throwing a last minute desperation pass to try to gain traction by being sensible and honest. This Romney statement must be such a long throw to appeal to and energize the far right, but it is so wrongheaded that his desperation at this stage is downright amazing.
The only thing that now stands between Obama and a second term is Obama's ability to make certain that every person in America becomes aware of the statement and understands the full implications on her/himself, as well as the whole country.