Mitt Romney Is Right About the ‘Victims’ of Government

Published September 18, 2012

Merrill Matthews, a resident scholar at theInstitute for Policy Innovation and a policy advisor for The Heartland Institute, argues Mitt Romney has no reason to apologize for his comments about the “47 percent” at a Florida fundraiser in May. I agree:

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s critics think they have a gotcha moment with the release of Romney’s statement at a private dinner.

“All right—there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent on 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.”

So Romney is being castigated by the press for telling the truth? Ah, yes, that’s what Washington calls a gaffe: when someone inadvertently tells the truth.

Romney’s point is that a large swath of the population has embraced an entitlement mentality. They think society (i.e., government, which means taxpayers) owes them a living—or at least a “living wage”—health care, an affordable home, a get-out-of-debt-free pass on their student loans, retirement benefits, a free or cheap education, child care if they need it, and even multiple weeks of paid vacation and sick leave.

 As an August assessment of recent U.S. Census Bureau data show, more than 100 million Americans—a third of the population, excluding Medicare and Social Security—are enrolled in some type of means-tested welfare program.

The richest country the world has ever known and a third of its people are on welfare, and 41 percent of all births are paid for by Medicaid, the government health insurance for the poor.

Add to that number unionized teachers and many other union workers, so many of whom also seem to believe they are owed a high-paying job with excellent benefits, regardless of how productive they are or how profitable the company or how broke their government employer is. And we can easily be hovering around the 47 percent mark.

And, yes, many of those people believe they are “victims”—of greedy capitalists or business owners who have robbed, or are trying to rob, them of what they really deserve.

You don’t have to take my word for it; just listen to the speeches given at the Democratic convention. It was a constant procession of accusations of how Republicans and conservatives want to hurt the poor, women and ethnic minorities. It was a celebration of victimhood.

Mitt Romney just told the truth, which in today’s politics is the only thing a candidate isn’t supposed to do.