Amid all the analysis and hand-wringing over the Romney Tapes the past week, there was one big news story that got totally missed.
It wasn't that Mitt Romney disparaged 47% of the country, including Republicans. It wasn't that he gave terrorism tips to Iran. It wasn't that he showed he didn't understand what a "dirty bomb" was. It wasn't even that he wiped his hands of peace in the Middle East and suggested walking away. And it wasn't that he unquestioningly ignored the advice of a former Secretary of State.
Yes, those were all bad. But there was one, far-bigger story. And it got overlooked.
Mitt Romney told you that he wants to raise taxes.
And it's not just that he said he thinks taxes should be raised, but that they should be raised only on the middle class and the poor.
Seriously. This is not hyperbole.
Mr. Romney didn't say that this will be part of his secret tax plan - just that it's something he, personally, believes in and wants. Then again, since we don't know the details of his secret tax plan, for all we know it is in that plan. Maybe that's why he hasn't released the details.
But, to be fair, we don't know that. The only thing we do know is that he wants to raise taxes.
For all those people shouting epithets at their monitors, sorry, but I'm just telling you what he himself said.
What Mitt Romney said on the Romney Tapes video was -
"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...These are people who pay no income tax."
Okay, now let's honestly take stock of what he just said.
How many of you think that Mitt Romney was saying that it's A Good Thing that 47% of Americans pay no income taxes? Hands? No one? Fair enough.
Okay, now, how many of you think, instead, that Mr. Romney was saying that it's A Bad Thing that all these people pay no income taxes. That they're freeloading on America. That they're moochers? Raise your han...?
Whoa, howdy, that's a lot of hands. Yeah, that looks unanimous.
Of course Mitt Romney was saying he thinks it's deplorable that 47% of Americans pay no income taxes! Obviously he was saying that.
And just as obviously, if he thinks it's bad that all these people are paying no income taxes, then that means he thinks they should be paying taxes. Right? It has to mean that. There's no other possibility.
If Mitt Romney thinks people should be paying income taxes who aren't, then there is only one way to accomplish that. And that is to raise their income taxes.
There's no other way to parse what he said.
Mitt Romney wants 47% of America to pay more taxes. And it's the 47% who are the lowest income earners in the country.
But then, as he also says, "My job is not to worry about those people."
Now, mind you, we'll have to wait for the details of Mr. Romney's secret tax plan to see if he lets us know how he hopes to raises their taxes. Maybe he'll call for a mandatory minimum income tax. Maybe he'll want to eliminate the child tax credit. Maybe he'll raise tax rates.
Who knows? The only thing we do know is that Mitt Romney thinks half of Americans should pay more taxes. Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike.
And he's also said previously that he wants to lower taxes on the wealthiest 1%.
Now, of course, the reality is that Mitt Romney's income tax whining is insulting hokum. After all, his implication is that All These Moochers Aren't Paying Taxes. But that's grossly untrue. Nearly two-thirds of those who pay no income tax DO pay taxes - they just pay them as federal payroll taxes, withheld from their weekly paycheck. And all these low-income workers also pay state tax and sales tax, and gas tax. And many also pay property tax. So, they're not freeloading on anyone. They're working stiffs who pay taxes.
And here's the other cool, disingenuous thing: the reason they don't also pay additional "income taxes" is because...Republicans have been cutting income taxes for years! In other words - wait, are you ready? This will blow your mind - a) Republicans demand lower taxes, and b) Republicans complain that people aren't paying enough taxes! How's that for hypocritical logic? Sorry, you can't have it both ways. Pick one.
But back to that Mitt Romney 47%.
An additional 20% of that group who don't pay income taxes are elderly. They're retired. That's why they don't pay income tax. They don't have an income.
That leaves just 19% of Mitt Romney's 47% who don't pay income taxes. And doing simple math, this comes to about 9% of Americans. Hey, get this: that's basically the number of unemployed people!!
That's who Mitt Romney is mad at. The unemployed!
But then, that's not just who Mitt Romney is mad at. He's mad at half of Americans who aren't paying "income taxes." He doesn't like it. He thinks they should be paying income taxes. All of them.
(Disclaimer: Well, not "all." Mr. Romney's 47% doesn't appear to include corporations that pay no incomes taxes. Then again, who knows? As he said, "Corporations are people, too, my friend.")
That's why Mitt Romney just said he wants to raise taxes. On nearly half of Americans. Who can least afford it.
And if you agree with him, so do you.
But then, you're not running for President of the United States. Mitt Romney is.
Or to put it more accurately, he's only running for President of 53% of the United States.