Most of you have seen the above video from Mother Jones already. The one that's on the front page of today's New York Times. It was also above the fold right here on HuffPost. Here's the part where Mitt Romney rejects Ronald Reagan:
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 that 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.
Included in the 47 percent who don't pay federal income taxes (but of course, most of whom do pay federal payroll taxes, not to mention sales taxes, which virtually 100 percent of people pay) are large numbers of American workers who benefit from the Earned Income Tax Credit (for a fuller discussion breaking down the myths surrounding the "47 percent" statistic, check this out from PoliticsUSA).
The EITC provides a tax credit to people who work but earn an income below a certain level. Most of the money paid out under the EITC, by law, goes to workers with dependent children. The EITC can provide enough of a tax credit such that the working person has no net federal tax income obligation and can even receive a tax refund. In other words, a decent number of the "47 percent" Mitt Romney is talking about are working people benefiting from the EITC.
So, are these folks -- as Mitt Romney characterized them -- "victims" who refuse to break free of government dependence and take responsibility for their own lives? Is that what being someone who benefits from the EITC means? Let's ask our good friend and reasonably influential conservative Ronald Reagan, who called the Earned Income Tax Credit "the best anti-poverty, the best pro-family, the best job creation measure to come out of Congress."
What to do, conservatives, when today's 'leader' speaks out in a way that contradicts He Whose Name Is Hallowed And Must Always Be Hallowed!!!???? That's a problem conservatives will have to answer for themselves.
Now, I disagree vehemently with most of Ronald Reagan's politics. But at least I try to disagree with the things he actually believed. The reality is that most conservatives now treat Reagan like an empty vessel; they just assign to him whatever they believe in the moment. In reality, they are 'cafeteria Reaganites' who pick and choose from the real Reagan, a president who did raise taxes, who did compromise with Democrats and liberals, and who did support a nuclear-free world, just to name a few examples that clash with the ideas coming many of today's conservatives.
Unlike Mitt Romney, at least Reagan was smart enough to not write off half the country.