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http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1112/83970.html?hp=r1

Chris Christie unwraps Mitt Romney's 'gift' claim

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Friday joined the chorus of Republican governors and other officials criticizing Mitt Romney’s assertion that “gifts” from President Barack Obama helped the Democrat win reelection.

“Yeah, sure,” Christie replied when asked by MSNBC host Joe Scarborough if Romney’s comments were “a terrible thing to say.” “You can’t expect to be the leader of all the people and be divisive,” Christie continued.
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http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2012/11/16/mitt_romneys_sneering_farewell_to_the_47_percent_116181.html

Mitt Romney's Sneering Farewell to the '47 Percent'

But as a matter of feelings rather than facts, Romney evidently cannot stop himself from sneering at society's struggling people and the politicians who seek to improve their lives. It is not as if the donors he was addressing don't want "gifts" from government -- such as the big new tax breaks that Romney had promised them, the huge increases in defense spending that would swell their profits, or the various individual corporate favors that they regard as their very own "entitlements." Just don't expect that kind of honest introspection from Romney or his crowd.
 

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Hopefully his downfall will raise the value of integrity in politics....although it is a contradiction in terms.
 

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For a guy who marketed himself as a savvy business exec, he did not do very well as the head of his $1 billion election organization. And the best way to promote personal responsibility is how? To blame everyone else for your failure.

Clueless about the Volt, derisive of Tesla, scornful of GM and Chrysler it turned out it was he and his anti-EV ideas "whose time had not come". Requiescat in pace.
 

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I try not to be too critical because, though I do not agree with many of Romney's beliefs, I know many people who share those beliefs. One thing that they all seem to have in common is that they actually believe it. They've never been poor themselves, but they believe that being poor is a choice. They actually believe that poor people relish getting "gifts" and "handouts," when, in reality, it is most often not the case. When you've been poor. When you've been needy. When you've experienced going to bed hungry. Then you can talk.

Yet, despite never experiencing any of those things, certain people still feel that 47% of the population are just out looking for handouts.
 

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I try not to be too critical because, though I do not agree with many of Romney's beliefs, I know many people who share those beliefs. One thing that they all seem to have in common is that they actually believe it. They've never been poor themselves, but they believe that being poor is a choice. They actually believe that poor people relish getting "gifts" and "handouts," when, in reality, it is most often not the case. When you've been poor. When you've been needy. When you've experienced going to bed hungry. Then you can talk.

Yet, despite never experiencing any of those things, certain people still feel that 47% of the population are just out looking for handouts.
OK. I'll talk. I've been really poor, and have probably gone to bed hungry more often than most people, as a child and when working my way through school.

The American tradition has been that, for most people, being poor is a choice. That's the tradition of penniless immigrants coming to the new world and through hard work making it, if not for themselves, then for their children.

My father was a remarkable man. He had quit school after the 4th grade to help his family. At age 19, not yet speaking English, he decided to go to school. That was during the Depression. I was 5 years old when he graduated from college and went on to graduate school. He then became a missionary to French-speaking Native Americans in the bayou country of Louisiana. We lived in a remote area with no electricity, phones, running water or mail service. The Indian children were not allowed to attend public schools, so he built a school for them, much of it with his own hands. He's still a legend there.

I was a voracious reader. I had access to a lot of books, including Gibbons' Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, de Toqueville's book on America and even several of Arnold Toynbee's books. I got the lasting impression that cultures were built on big ideas, and that they began to decline when they lost sight of those big ideas. Typically, decline began when politicians decided that giving out goodies to the population was a great way to attain and maintain power -- the old "bread and circuses" trick used by Romans.

Romney's "47%" remark was unfortunate in some ways, and provided his opponent a good spin against him. But there's an important element of truth in it, and ignoring that truth would prove a mistake. Rather like JFK's "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" the American tradition has been one of personal responsibility.

True, among the poor are those who cannot help themselves because of illness, age or disability, and society -- whether at the local, state or national level -- has an obligation to help them. But my observation, especially watching problems of education, is that a growing number of people are losing the "spark" of American idealism that has worked well for so many in the past: taking advantage of education and hard work to make the best of one's abilities is the way to a good life.

I voted for Romney.

Hey guys, I'm really, really OLD (in my ninth decade of life), so you need to take care of me! Actually, at least at the moment, I'm still active and working, and all in all pretty comfortable.

And I love my Volt.
 

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thank you, BillD... I could not have said it better myself.
That being said, the election is over. The one hope we have for our country is in our personal spheres of influence. Encourage the American work ethic as much as you can.
 

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I got the lasting impression that cultures were built on big ideas, and that they began to decline when they lost sight of those big ideas. Typically, decline began when politicians decided that giving out goodies to the population was a great way to attain and maintain power -- the old "bread and circuses" trick used by Romans.
The problem with your analysis of course is that it assumes that Romney wasn't giving out "gifts". In fact he was. For the last thirty years Republicans have campaigned as the Santa Party of the Tax Cut. If you don't think Romney was trying to pander by waving the idea that he would give everyone a 20% tax cut -- for free -- you are completely in denial. Republicans give out just as many "gifts" as do Democrats. They're just different "gifts". (Since you like to read try reading about Jude Wanniski and the Two Santa Claus Theory).

I actually have no tolerance for people who whine about the unwashed "takers" who want gifts. In truth everyone wants gifts. Just depends where you sit. If you are well off then it's socialism. If you're not well off then it's a meritorious program. During the 30s farmers loved FDR because he came up with government programs that let them stay on their farms. Their bankers hated those programs and thought them to be the downfall of America. Now that those farmers have enjoyed the benefits of these government programs for decades and are well off they complain about foodstamps and think they're the downfall of America. Basically they've come full circle, making it hard to take this stuff seriously.

I'm sorry to hear that you voted for Romney. You shouldn't have. Not necessarily because of his policies. I have no idea what they would have been since they seemed to change hour to hour, but just because he was so completely clueless. I truly believe he has no idea that he was acting as a Santa Claus, which he most certainly was, and I believe that he drank the Fox News Koolaid that he was ahead and was going to win when he fact he was always behind and, by the time the election rolled around, had, as a mathematical probability, less than a .1% chance of winning. How in the bubble can you get? You just don't want someone that completely clueless and lacking self awareness as your president. It would have ended badly.
 

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The problem with your analysis of course is that it assumes that Romney wasn't giving out "gifts".
Exactly. The problem I have with the 47% comment is that it assumes that all of the poor people are asking for handouts, while all of the working people are not. Our taxes help to subsidize gasoline. That's a gift/handout. Our taxes help to pay for the public education system (anyone here have kids in school?). That's a gift/handout. And all of those gifts/handouts are not necessarily commensurate with what one puts back into the system. The fundamental difference between the two parties is that one wants to give more to those who are already successful, while the other wants to give more to those who have not yet attained success.
 

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^fair enough. Too much sloppy leadership going around everywhere.
 

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Romney's "47%" remark was unfortunate in some ways, and provided his opponent a good spin against him. But there's an important element of truth in it, and ignoring that truth would prove a mistake. Rather like JFK's "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" the American tradition has been one of personal responsibility.

True, among the poor are those who cannot help themselves because of illness, age or disability, and society -- whether at the local, state or national level -- has an obligation to help them. But my observation, especially watching problems of education, is that a growing number of people are losing the "spark" of American idealism that has worked well for so many in the past: taking advantage of education and hard work to make the best of one's abilities is the way to a good life.

I voted for Romney.
What was really bad about Romney's comment (assuming he meant it and wasn't just pandering to rich douchebags in what he stupidly thought was a private arena) is that he said that if you aren't paying income tax you're a lazy, greedy bastard with a sense of entitlement. Combined with the suggestion that healthcare-via-ER is adequate and his grand idea that students fund their education by borrowing money from their parents just showed an uncaring detachment from the realities of the poverty trap.
 

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Romney receives a special tax rate of no more than 15% for being a corporate hedge fund manager. That seems to be an enormous gift in my opinion. One he refuses to recognize as a gift, although he went to great lengths to detest why he may have to pay the regular income tax rates than a normal working man or woman may pay. His tax rate effectively is less than mine, and trust me, I'm not worth a quarter billion dollars no do I send American taxpayers jobs overseas to line my wallet. I buy from my fellow americans and employ my fellow americans. What happened to the Republican party. They used to have the better candidates.
 

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Based on the look on his face, not even someone with a quarter billion is happy paying for a gas fill-up these days.

What Romney and the Bain did was to structure their salary so it would be treated as capital gains rather than ordinary income. If only the 99% could have their salaries treated the same way.
 

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Are you really over 90?
9th decade would make him 81 or older.

I respect Bill's life wisdom, though I disagree with his conclusions. But both of us are on our way out, and those under 40 will have to solve the big things on the way, and the oil economy is one of many. As The Eagles said to them in song, "It's Your World Now".
 

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@ aventineavenue: Thanks for interpreting my age correctly. But I'm not yet on my way out, and intend to put that off for some time to come. I remain active in software consulting, and keep my hand in academic pursuits by assisting several graduate students to approach their dissertations. Life is exciting and fun, especially by comparison to the alternative. :)

Re the comment made by someone else about the 99% not being able to structure some income at the lower tax rate for income from investments: That indicates the person doesn't understand why the tax rate is lower. It should be for two reasons, one of which is that the income has already been taxed as profit by the entity that generated the return. More importantly, investments are by their nature risky. I'm certainly not one of the 1%, but over the years I'm made investments. Those funds are tied up for a time, in the hope that they will increase in value. Sometimes I've made a profit, sometimes not. But investments are one of the driving forces in our economy. If they are not encouraged and become less profitable (including tax rates on proceeds), the economy slows.

One of my investments provided me with funds to help subsidize the publication (by the Indiana University Press) of a forthcoming biography of Lynton Keith Caldwell, a major influence in the development of environmental policy in the U.S. and worldwide. Many years ago I was privileged to work with Keith and coauthor several publications with him. He was the "father" of the National Environmental Policy Act. Keith was a deep and original thinker, and I recommend his biography to anyone who is interested in how environmental issues came to become important in public policy. His ideas remain fresh today. (I don't know the publication date, but assume the book will be available in 2013.)
 
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