Democrats have unearthed video of Torrey Westrom, a Minnesota state Senate Republican who wanted to legalize hunting from planes, parroting Mitt Romney’s scorn for the 48%, according to Aaron Rupar for Minneapolis City Pages. The DCCC must be pleased, since Westrom is running against running against incumbent Democrat Collin Peterson.
Here’s the Mini Mitt from Minnesota, published on Mar 2, 2012, two months before Romney’s tape surfaced:
Man: [During] the Eisenhower Administration, we built our infrastructure — our roads, our bridges, our schools, our fire halls — we built that during that era and the tax rate on the wealthiest people was 60 percent, and it was an honor for them, and society looked up to them — they were pillars in their community and respected, and we appreciated them. And now all I see is scapegoating on the poor, blaming people on food assistance when they can’t even get a part-time job… I’m saying that [rich people] pay less in income tax than poor people do.
Westrom: Even though 48 percent of Americans don’t pay taxes?
Man: The Bible says, ‘To whom much has been given, much shall be required.’ Now [the wealthy] built that infrastructure and they did that out of the goodness of their hearts in the ’50s and now it’s like pulling teeth to get an extra dime out of the wealthiest people in this society, and I’m tired of it.
Westrom: Let me tell you, versus your philosophy, my philosophy is, don’t overtax the citizens, let them keep their hard-earned wealth [and] take care of themselves as much as they can and we do for the communities that individually they can’t do for themselves. You would rather tax everybody’s income, take it away from them, redistribute it, government knows best…
Oh, yeah. Those lazy 48%ers. To be fair to the Republican, Mitt Romney only hated 47% of Americans, so Westrom has a leg up on Mitt. At the time, 86% of Americans paid taxes. They just didn’t all pay income taxes.
The actual number of Americans who don’t pay any taxes isn’t half, but 14%. This group of non-taxpayers of any kind is largely composed of the elderly and disabled. The people who don’t pay taxes do so because they can’t work.
Former President Clinton did some explaining at the time as well:
Now, the second reason is interesting. It’s a bipartisan reason in the past. It’s because the combined impacts of the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Child Tax Credit. I doubled the Earned Income Tax Credit, which I think President Ford signed into law, and which President Reagan supported. And it’s refundable, if you work and you got kids and your income’s low, the government will actually refund the credit if you drop out of owing income tax. It was designed to support working families.
Then we put in a Child Tax Credit, which when President Bush passed all of those tax cuts that’s what he did for middle class people. He doubled the Child Tax Credit to a thousand dollars. Then when President Obama came in, and he had a Democratic Congress, and the economy was reeling, they increased the Earned Income Tax Credit so you could get a little more if you had more than three kids. So an enormous number of these people who were dropped out were dropped out for reasons of work and family, not dependents. These people are working their hearts out. They would love to make enough money to pay federal income tax. We were all before trying to help them with their work and their child rearing.
And of course, many super rich people and corporations don’t pay taxes because they move their operations off shore and hide their money, like a true patriot would. They’re just here to use the infrastructure the rest of us pay for, without contributing, because they’re entitled. They don’t count when it comes to contempt for who doesn’t pay taxes, though. If you get my drift.
Republicans never explain the fatal flaw of their justification for the rich to be misers when it comes to contributing their fair share. Westrom said, “(M)y philosophy is, don’t overtax the citizens, let them keep their hard-earned wealth [and] take care of themselves as much as they can and we do for the communities that individually they can’t do for themselves.”
If that worked, then why aren’t the rich helping the poor? Why are there still hungry children? Why aren’t the all of the rich giving some of their money to their communities?
The end part of his statement is the convenient pivot that Republicans so deftly make, to the shaming of anyone who dares to suggest that the rich/corporations do their part. “You would rather tax everybody’s income, take it away from them, redistribute it, government knows best.”
Well, yes, apparently government knows better than rich people and corporations, or else we would not still have a poverty problem in any community because this great theory of Republican largess would have kicked in by now under the low to no tax rates for some corporations and the very wealthy.
It’s a shame that Republicans keep making this so easy for Democrats, but this is the inevitable result of years of epistemic closure within the shaky walls of Fox News propaganda.