A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Fifty Three Forty Seven Or Fight

Numbers are in the news again! Of course, numbers are always with us, but in this election cycle, the numbers have been more oppressive than usual. All year we’ve been hearing about the 1%, the 99%…and now we’re hearing other numbers, like 53% and 47%. This goes way beyond the statistics of the polls released almost daily by major survey vendors. It now defines who each of us are and how we fit in with everyone else.

This has all come to our national attention due to a surreptitiously recorded video of a meeting that gaffe-prone Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney held with major donors in May. The video, released by liberal media stalwart Mother Jones magazine, showed Romney discussing how certain segments of the American population were beyond his control. The meeting was held at the home of a private equity manager, Marc Leder.  Media accounts claim, since the video became public, that Leder is known for hosting wild parties at his mansion in the Hamptons. The stories have detailed that "guests cavorted in the pool and performed sex acts while scantily-clad Russian women danced on platforms.” Obviously, Mother Jones videotaped the wrong party…but I digress.

At the “private” fundraiser, Romney broke the American population down into two parts, which coincidentally fall in line with a popular conservative talking point, namely that over half of all Americans don’t pay federal income taxes. Romney repeated the talking point that the 47% of Americans who don’t pay income taxes are also supporting Obama because they are dependent on government handouts. Keep in mind that 47% is - in the conservative universe - over half the American population. It is, of course, mathematically impossible, but this number works for them. After all, who am I to argue numbers with them?

Romney explained that these “47 percenters” expect government entitlements in food, housing, and education because they claim to be victims. He further stated that his job was not to be concerned about them. He maintained that he cannot convince them to take responsibility for their lives.

As Jack Benny might have said, rather haughtily, “Well!”

So, if we dovetail this revelation with Romney’s earlier contention that the income line for middle class Americans starts at $200,000, then truly we can see that many of us don’t even rise to the level of being considered chopped liver (as in “What am I? Chopped liver?”) At this point, I am compelled to warn my fellow 47% Americans, who formerly lived a blissful existence believing that they were in the middle class, not to start a stampede for your local welfare office to apply for benefits. Although we may not earn $200,000 per year, many of us are also not poor enough to take advantage of government entitlements.

The French have a phrase that describes this situation. Now, how does that go, oh yes, I remember now, “It sucks!”

Besides, the sight of millions of formerly middle class citizens rushing for welfare benefits would just prove that Romney is right. Lord knows we don’t want to do that!

So, where am I in this big soup of 1, 99, 47, 53 percentage points? Well, let’s see: I am employed, so I guess I am one of the 53% who is taking responsibility for my life, working hard to earn a good living. Oh, but wait, I was unemployed a few years ago accepting benefits from the state, because I was a victim of an economic downturn that happened despite the fact that I was a hard-working American. So I have been in the 47% area as well.

I don’t believe that the government has to directly give me food for free since I am employed, but I am entitled to food for nourishment and sustenance. This bit of propaganda was instilled in me by my mother. Thanks, ma, for making me ill-suited to vote for Mitt Romney! Truly I am grateful.

I am dependent on government regulations to make sure the food I consume is wholesome and pure. Similarly I am also dependent on government to maintain the infrastructure so that the food I eat, and thousands of other products which we all use, are transported safely and efficiently to market. I am also a product of the taxpayer funded public school system, and college with a work-study grant. Yes, my college assistance was not just handed to me: I had to earn that money by working various jobs on campus.   

Given these facts, I guess I’m not really in the 53% or the 47% range; maybe I’m in a gray buffer zone, say 46.5-52.5%.

Oh, and my wife has reminded me that our mortgage is subsidized by the federal government. Damn! I’m a moocher! I’m a hard-working moocher, but a moocher nonetheless! And - dramatic music up - I’m an Obama supporter!

Oh, how can I live with this knowledge? How can I look my fellow Americans in the eye, knowing that I’m dependent indirectly on my government, paid for with my tax money, for various services? I am not worthy to hold my head high in public.

(Tee hee!)

It begs the question: when will pundits and politicians stop divvying up the American people and actually solve the problems our nation is facing? Shut up about who is where and who you can help. Stop shrugging your shoulders and walking away from the people who are in true need for assistance just to survive. 

Romney has since explained his ”off-the-cuff-remarks” as “inelegantly stated”, but by and large he is standing by his comments. His allies in the media have tried to explain that Romney was actually saying that he cannot count on the 47% for support. That defense - furnished (naturally) by Fox and Friends - has fallen on deaf ears. Whatever!

The whole episode has highlighted the perception that Romney is more a man of the 1% and not the rest of the country, most of whom are hard-working, productive Americans. It is a perception that liberals are gleefully exploiting at every chance they get. I know my glee cannot be contained.

(Thank you for reading. And now, my fellow 47 percenters, let us eat cake!)


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