Friday, November 09, 2012

Will the 47% Ruin Our Democracy?

Mitt Romney's 47% remark, concerning segments of the American population who would never vote for him because they believe they are victims and are dependent on the government, caused an uproar. It probably didn't help that he made that remark to a room full of gazillionaires. But doesn't he have a point? Have we become a nation of  what Ron Angle calls the "gimmes," people who want something for nothing?

On Wednesday, one of my readers offered some interesting observations, attributed to Scottish lawyer and historian Alexander Fraser Tytler. Though the quotation itself might be inaccurate, this unusual condemnation of democracy is troubling. Not because it's wrong, but because it might be right.

"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to selfishness;
From selfishness to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage."

59 comments:

Anonymous said...

My brother Ron is one of those 47% creeps the other Ron is talking anout. A door gunner,during his secound tour near the DMZ he was wounded, for the third time, this time seriously enough to change his life forever. Many operations later he left Walter Reed.
He been on 90% disability for many years now. I hope sometime when he's up here from Philly I can point out the other Ron to him. I'm sure my brother will enjoy chatting.

Anonymous said...

As long as the Republican Party remains slaves to the ideological fanatical tea party types, they will remain out of the mainstream of American government.

Most of these people are part of this illusionairy "47%' they think exists.

All the while, collecting medicare, social security, tax write-offs, disabilty, etc., like just about everyone else in the country.

This movement may have a few good folks concerned about taxes, like all of us,however the crazed fanatics have the wheel and no one with any sense wants to ride with them.

Anonymous said...

it is the height of ignorance, and illustrative of the isolation of many republicans, to presume that 47% of the population want "handouts".

Anonymous said...

Obama Phones, food stamps, housing subsidies, transportation subsidies, day care subsidies, tax refunds for not paying taxes, free contraceptives, you may not like hearing it but it's the truth. Why work?

And we're not talking about wounded veterans, smart guy, nice attempt at deflection

It's simple and it's been said before. We've reached an inflection point where the takers outnumber the makers, and there's no turning back until we get to Greece.

Mark Baker said...

Actually I think Mitt's number was low.

Anonymous said...

Bernie

The frogs in the boiling pot still think they are having a nice warm bath. I pray for my country.

GS

Anonymous said...

Mitt's number was low and the results indicate it. Look at European demographics relative to those who actually work each day, and the number of idled those workers are carrying through life and into retirement. The math doesn't work when so many people have given up working. In a generation, each US worker who still has a job will carry 2.5 retirees on his back. In some European countries, the ratio is 1:4.

My dad was a veteran who never took a dime from anyone and would have been embarrassed to complain and covet and expect others to carry him. He used to say that was not what he fought for. He couldn't stand those who carried a grudge about their service and thought they were owed something because of it. Being on the dole is being on the dole. Period.

Jon Geeting said...

The fact that you aren't aware yet that the 47% stat is completely bogus says everything people need to know about this blog.

Anonymous said...

We've reached an inflection point where the takers outnumber the makers!

Anonymous said...

“As people do better, they start voting like Republicans - unless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thing”

Karl Rove quotes (American George W. Bush's Senior Advisor and chief political strategist. b.1950)

Anonymous said...

Anon 103am, thanks to your brother for his service - without people like him, we don't have a country. I am very sorry he was wounded and hope he continues his recovery.

That said, you're missing the point. No one begrudges your brother anything, and in fact we should do more than we are to help him and care for him.

But there are many that are sponges. They are not hurt, they are leeches that suck resources dry. They are the ones Romney was referring to.

Anonymous said...

Santa Claus election campaigns, and big cardboard checks get votes. Nobody cares where the money comes from, even when it's coming from their grand kids. This used to be considered socially irresponsible. Now it is considered our right. It's similar to when unions negotiate away new hire compensation in order to preserve the current hires' compensation. We take ours and hope the next generation doesn't figure out the Ponzi scheme before we croak.

As we head into the next cyclical recession (remember: we've been in a wonderful, sustained recovery for 11 consecutive quarters since March 2009), we deserve what looks to be our miserable fate. If you think things are rotten now, just wait until the recession surely begins. This has been a long recovery already. It won't last forever.

Anonymous said...

The biggest sponges are corporate America and the ultra wealthy like romney..Because Romney gets his income from interest on his money he pays an average of 13% or less on his taxes..If anyone else was out there actually working for that type of money, they'd be paying over 35% in taxes..So these scum bag sponges are paying about 20% less than they should be..Oil companies making billions are still getting subsidized by our government ( thanks to the republican party) to the tune of about 4 billion a year. Other corporations are using loopholes to pay absolutely nothing when in the 50's when we were the strongest nation on earth , they were paying 90% with a Republican President..Then we march onto the military industrial complez that Eisenhour warned us about We spend more in defense than the next ten nations in the world combined and most of them are our allies. What? To fight Al Qaeda? Really? Where is there Air Force Navy, Army , and Marines??? So if you want to talk about waste and welfare and takers, please include these sponges!!!!

Ronnie said...

We are NOT a democracy. We are a Constitutional Republic. Our founders worked hard to ensure that the United States government would not be a democracy. We execute our form of government in a democratic fashion, but we are a republican form of government ruled by law, not simply by majority.
If a majority votes to hang a man, the law steps in and says wait, he gets a fair trial. If we were a democracy we would quickly fall into anarchy.
We are a Republic. Terms and definitions matter.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"The fact that you aren't aware yet that the 47% stat is completely bogus says everything people need to know about this blog."

Never even bothered to check to see how much of this nation is entitled, but that is not the point The point is that Romney said it and it became the subject of lots of pious condemnations by ... entitled people.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Ronnie, I think most of us are aware that we are not a strict democracy. The question is whether we have reached the point where so many entitlements puts our democratic republic in danger.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, 9:02 hits the nail on the head and you continue to blame entitlements. For the record, Social Security and Medicare are included in "entitlements." People pay into those programs. They truly are entitled to those benefits. And those are the biggest entitlements out there. But the costs 9:02 mentions the culprits to our fiscal problems. Let's be honest here. If the Tea Party turned their attention to those things, I'd respect them a bit more.

Anonymous said...

First of all, Romney paid more in taxes last year than you'll earn in your lifet time. Second, Romney proposed closing those loopholes you describe, but you and your ilk voted for the Lightworker, who in fact is carried by big money interests, so suck it up and shut up

Anonymous said...

Bernie,
Romney's 47% is the number of people who do not pay federal income tax. That is a fact. Romney, and republicans, make their error when they assume that all 47% are takers and lazy. You have been indoctrinated by the conservative entertainment complex with their own agenda of making money.

The 47% are made up of three main categories:

The working poor - those who pay no income tax but do pay payroll tax (must be working) making about $50,000 annually.

The elderly- have worked their whole lives

The low-income- those making less than $27,000 annually.

One day ( hopefully soon) you will all wake up and realize this. Then, maybe your candidates will start talking to those of us in the middle who are willing to hear a different approach to government without demonizing our grandparents, brothers, and cousins.

Tim

Bernie O'Hare said...

According to factcheck.org, we'e talking about 46.4% this year. About half of that number does work, but at very low incomes.

What all this means is the point of this post.

http://www.factcheck.org/2012/09/dependency-and-romneys-47-percenters/

Anonymous said...

Well why don't you tell us. Bernie, what segment of the 47% are "gimmies"?

It's the same bunch that think everyone collecting welfare are drug addicts despite no statistical evidence to support that notion.

Tim

Bernie O'Hare said...

No question that a large segment of those who receive some form of government assistance are truly in need. I see that every day. I do not suggest, not even for a second, that this end. But it is equally true that there are those who do take advantage of the system, at the expense of us all. These are the gimmes. Ignoring that reality just permits bloated government that then lacks the resources or time to help those truly in need.

Anonymous said...

Winey Vets are just that. You served your country. We thank you for that.
Now get a job and be productive or move to a socialist country.

Anonymous said...

10:03 - go away troll

Bernie- if you want a productive response from D's, then leave the "47%" out of it. It insults me to have half the population demonized. We need to accept the fact that the "gimmies" are probably only 5% or less of the population, and I don't like them anymore than you do.

This is an area we can work together but I suspect that the takers aren't easy to identify statistically.

Tim

Anonymous said...

"there are those who do take advantage of the system......"
Yeah, rich fat cats like the county Rep. Chairman who thinks all of us who bust our asses for a low wage cause that's all we got.
Romney makes millions and millions?
He ain't " taking advantage?"
Who you think your kidding brother.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Tim at 10:17,

Look, The FACT is that 46.4% pay no taxes this year. I'm willing to concede that half or maybe more of those are working and certainly are not "gimmes." But it is equally true that of the remaining half, there are a large number of people laying the system That is the whole point of entitlement reform. Ignoring this is what leads to increases in the debt ceiling. I'd agree these takers are rough to ID statistically.

Guy Williams said...

This election was the best chance the republicans had in years to win and they blew it.I was surpised as many thinking Romney would win in a squeaker.Had Republicans focused on the economy results would have been different but no they gotta bring up moral issues with divisive views and talk about abortion,personhood inititives,birth control,vaginal probes.As they use to say in war time Loose Lips Sink Ships.Not only did they sink the womens vote but the idealistic youth.Romney got less votes than Mcain.If Obama is smart he will follow the Clinton success and sit down with congress and give and take to come up with solutions.We cant wait for Hillarys/Bills win in 2016 to reform entitlements and balance the budget.

Anonymous said...

Lots of people here just hate the poor.
That we get. Don't make lots if $$$$$ . Then stay away from us good Republican people. Your criminals, bums, dirty.

Anonymous said...

say what?

Anonymous said...

Ain't no troll girlie puke.

Bernie O'Hare said...

10:51, As a poor person myself, that is nonsense. What people, rich and poor alike, detest are those, whether rich or poor, who just take from society.

Anonymous said...

Let's see. 20% of my $50,000.00 salary is $10,000.00. that leaves me $40,000.00 left to pay SS Insurance, State tax, school tax, municipal tax, County tax, Ocupation priviledge tax, (and many more) leaving me about $25,000.00 to live on. Romney makes 100 million and pays 13% on his income leaving him 87 million not including all the nuisance taxes, leaving him at least 80 million. Who is hurt more. He should pay the same amount of income taxes (based on percentages) that I pay. A flat across the board tax on income is the only way to go. That is the number one reason that Republicans are losing ground in this Country. They protect the rich and screw the poor.

Anonymous said...

Romney and the Republicans got right what they deserve in this election. I have never voted for a Republican President and never will. They don't give the average guy a reason to vote for them.

Anonymous said...

How about the now old men from the 106th Division.
Are they freeloaders and hall walkers too?
Cut them off too?

Speak up Bernie.

Anonymous said...

Bring up Vets and it's an attempt @ deflection.
You can't win with the right wing but cases,

Anonymous said...

Since we all have attention deficit disorder it all comes down to spin and sound bites to win or lose elections

Anonymous said...

11:13 - envy is a sin. Stop coveting your neighbor's goods and work a bit harder. The lazy and underachieving are always aware of what those who are doing better make. They should direct those energies into bettering themselves and not being so pathetic. This is our new culture. Glad we fought wars for this. We are Detroit.

Anonymous said...

I think we can conclude this is a dumb question. Next topic, please, Bernie.

Anonymous said...

The recent response to Hurricane Katrina ... I mean Sandy, has been appalling. Is it politically incorrect to tell the president, "nice job Brownie?" If Bush hated Blacks in New Orleans. Obama seems to hate Whites and Jews in what Jesse Jackson called Hymietown.

There's no money for important stuff when the 47% have sponged it all already. New York and New Jersey have earned their slow response and chilly nights. And their recent votes indicate they're fine with it. They inadvertently voted to freeze in dark. That's democracy.

Anonymous said...

How hard do I have to work to make 25,30 million a year 10 years after I quit working like Mittens?
I mean the cat never even MADE or produced anything but paper and money.

Let the class war begin.

Anonymous said...

Greed and gluttony are sins too asshole.

Anonymous said...

"Greed and gluttony are sins too asshole."

Michelle is solving the gluttony thing by making kids go hungry in private schools while her progeny eat pizza at the most exclusive school in DC. Michelle clearly knows gluttony. She should be the Czarina. She better keep that chain smoking dope alive or we'll end up with certified mental retard, Biden. It could be worse.

Greed is Tim Geithner's department. Much worse.

Anonymous said...

*go hungry in "public" schools. The Obama kids aren't trusted to union hacks.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:13

If you are paying 20% income tax on earnings of $50,000 then you need to get a new accountant to do your taxes. Worst case - single with no dependents and nothing other than the standard deduction - the tax bill on $50,000 comes out to 14%

Anonymous said...

If you make $75,000 in wages you pay 25% income tax. However, if you have enough money to play the system and not have a "wage" but investment income you pay 13%.

The Repub sheeple say this is right because they worked hard and deserve the breaks.

You do realize that there are people out there that have worked their entire lives, as hard if not harder than Mittens and still will never make more than $40,000 a year.

Hard work is crucial but not necessary, George Bush, Ted Kennedy, etc.. However, luck and fate, make all the difference in the world.

Stop being angry assholes and focus on some useful solutions.

Anonymous said...

@2:56

Get a new accountant? Nobody in that earning range has an accountant you clueless jerk.
An accountant?

Anonymous said...

3:33 they can't afford an accountant and cany multiply either. Another vicitm of a liberal educaltion

2:56 investment income was already taxed once when it was eaqrned by the corporation that earned it. Why do you get to tax it twice?

Anonymous said...

Anon3:39
With spelling like you have maybe you should pipe down.

Anonymous said...

My brother was laid off in 2009. He collected unemployment and then went to a government funded training program. He got a new job last year. He was part of the 47%. And he STILL voted for Romney.

People just aren't well informed.

Anonymous said...

Ronnie, I think most of us are aware that we are not a strict democracy. The question is whether we have reached the point where so many entitlements puts our democratic republic in danger.

Put it this way, I made over $500K last year. I write a very large check for federal income tax. But I still put $300K in the bank, no problem. A tax increase does not effect my lifestyle one bit. And there are lots of people making a hell of lot more than me.

Taxes are at an all time low in this country. Because the lowest paid people (the 47%) do not pay federal income tax is a meaningless statistic.

Anonymous said...

Not meaningless at all!

It's great to rally discord, suspicion and gridlock.

It's perfect for the super rich to get middle and working class saps to shovel hate coal for them.

What could be finer. The super rich create the Tea Party to do their dirty work.

Anonymous said...

Hey, lighten up on Mittens. Dude already paid once.

Tell me again what did he mannufacture or produce?

Oh yeah. Wealth.

I forgot.

"Wealth, Made in the USA"

Thanks Wilber. That wealth sure has made America a better place for the USA THESE LAST 5.5 YEARS.

Bend over, WALL ST and the SUPER RICH are gonna screw you under the Dems almost as bad as under the Republorich.

Anonymous said...

Wilber DID NOT PRODUCE WEALTH.
He produced PROFIT AND CAPITAL, for Bane Inc, Mormon Inc, and Wilber Romney.

To hell with the cost to workers and stockholders.

It's all about the rich friends and neighbors.

Anonymous said...

@7:11 AM
I'll bet your dad, God bless him, did in fact benefit from GOVERMENT programs in his life. And why not if he worked hard, paid his taxes and served his nation.
But never received a penny in entitlement benefits?
Very unlikely. You just bought into the tea party big lie fella.

Anonymous said...

Dear 6:41
We're not talking about wounded Vets, veterans benefits people using VA hospitals?
Romney excluded those from his 47%?
Really dude? Those folks were not part of the equation?
Another dope, duped by the republican / tea party scam.

Wake up 6:41.

Anonymous said...

Help me out.
Mitt Romney?
Was he a taker or a maker?
If he was a maker, what did he make again?

577dfe6e-2aeb-11e2-9b56-000bcdcb2996 said...

Romney created thousands of 8 dollar part time jobs while bain fixed Staples

LehiHO said...

Romney created thousands of 8 dollar part time jobs while bain fixed Staples

Bernie O'Hare said...

Thanks for the comment. For the weekend, i am disallowing anonymous comments for two reasons: 1) weekend trolls; and 2) spam comments. You don't see those bc they go right to spam. But i get an email notice for every one. It is averaging 250-300 per day.i hope that temperorily changing my settings will persuade the bots to go somewhere else.