RUSHVILLE — Dear Editor:
By now, everyone in Rushville knows what the 47% refers to. This is a significant portion of the population whom presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney, has given up on because he feels these people are chained to Obama and the Democrats by ties of benefits and by avoiding taxes and so on. He insinuated these are bought votes. The leaked video has done Romney a lot of damage and fuels speculation in the liberal media that he is out of touch and a man of the rich. Whether the views are sincerely held or not, the argument plays into the hands of both the Tea Party and more damagingly the Democrats.
Let’s ignore the latter and look at how these remarks have outraged and demoralized many Republicans. Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal has summed the mood up by saying “I think there is a broad and growing feeling now, among Republicans, that this thing is slipping out of Romney’s hands.” The problem is not just the gaffs, but the lack of solutions to the problems at hand. Elections are never won by attacking, but by offering hope and ideas as well as an air of confidence in a person to lead. Sure, it does not always work out, look at how Obama has betrayed the hopes of his supporters. With such a failure, the Grand Old Party’s candidate should be making mincemeat out of him. Truth is, he’s not.
The 47% and Tax
Jeff Madrick of the Roosevelt Institute has pointed out that Romney’s stats were not even right. Tax is an emotive issue to the public, whether it is a feeling the rich pay too little or that not enough lower wage people pay any tax. The truth is, when social security, Medicare, sales taxes and so on are included a large number of people pay some kind of tax or other. The vast majority paid more as a percentage of their income in taxes than Romney did. If Romney wants to represent the GOP he needs to be above such poor assertions. Investigations into lower incomes, according to Madrick, proves that they have risen very slowly, especially compared to the increases in already higher incomes.
Free Trade and Small Businesses
What he needs to talk about is why people are not paying federal income tax. It is not, as some may argue, about tax evasion. Instead it is low wages and high unemployment. If you look at Rushville, 11% of people in the town live under the poverty line and the median household income was $30,233. Nationally, 15.1%, as of 2010, were below the poverty line and 8.2% of people were unemployed.
Arguments have been made by Democrats for the role of big business in the impoverishment of the poor. Dave Johnson of the Campaign for America’s Future, states that Wal-Mart and free trade have killed off the wages of Americans. Romney has put it down to fecklessness, but what if it is these policies? Free trade means companies can move factories from the States to a cheaper country and export back to the states without penalty. This has caused rising unemployment. Many Americans feel the bedrock of any community, like in Rushville, is the local independent businesses run by caring, knowledgeable, local people who you get to know and respect. The Wal-Mart argument states the homogenization has led to the death of many local businesses, while paying staff less.
Surely, the role of the Republican party is to find solutions for pulling people out of poverty and to bring them into paying taxes - well, whatever taxes end up existing. If it was up to Ron Paul there would be no income taxes at all. Negativity will not win an election, so Romney, while highlighting a possible problem, should offer ways the GOP will solve those problems. If this works, the looks positive, gives people hope and gives them a meaningful alternative to Obama’s Democrats. One not based on being against stuff, but being for stuff.
When asked what they want, according to Dave Johnson, the people want better wages, good schools, roads, parks, a good environment to live in, safety standards that protect workers and in many cases, affordable healthcare. Ordinary Americans want to avoid late payments and even worse, missed payments. They want to pay their mortgage bills, so long as they are fair and affordable. Republican policy, even philosophy, should simply state, like in Oliver James’ book, Affluenza, people want to work, they want to be self-sufficient and they want to lead healthy and active lifestyles. These are achievable through creating new businesses, promoting local businesses and so on. These are Republican policies and it is about time Romney remembered that.