MCCULLOUGH: Romney lost because he was right about that 47 percent

Nate McCullough

Nate McCullough

I've been trying to stick to my self-imposed moratorium on political columns, but I guess a presidential election is a good enough reason to lift it temporarily.

As I've listened to all the pundits and experts deconstruct the intricacies of the Barack Obama victory and the Mitt Romney loss I've heard the same refrain: Obama ran a better campaign, Romney didn't excite Republicans and the GOP is out of touch with modern America.

But one thing I believe is being skipped over in the Monday-morning quarterbacking is this: One big reason Romney lost is because of the secretly taped "47 percent" comment; not because he said it and made people angry, but because he was right.

When Romney was caught lamenting at a GOP event about how he didn't have a chance with a large segment of the population, the usual suspects raked him over the coals for it. But the fact is, Romney was right: nearly half of Americans have no federal income tax liability. This is not political spin. It's information from the Joint Committee on Taxation.

That figure, at first, can be misleading -- for the most recent data, many took advantage of a change in tax laws while others were paid so little that they had no tax burden. What's more, the 47 percent is just federal income tax and doesn't include the myriad other taxes that many pay. But the fact that nearly half of Americans kicked in nothing -- zero -- in federal revenue is a telling figure.

A large portion of the electorate has no skin in the game. Not only are they not contributing, but many are also taking, becoming liabilities for the government. Some do it in what most consider to be legitimate ways -- retirement and medical benefits, for example -- while others take advantage of every entitlement and payout the government has to offer, from free food to government cellphones.

Welfare, food stamps, government housing -- most of these programs were intended to be safety nets, meant to catch people when they fall with the idea that they would once again support themselves, not concrete and steel foundations meant to bear their weight for eons. Unfortunately, the latter is more often the norm.

Does the other side of the equation cause its own subtraction from the bottom line? Of course. Corporate welfare, loopholes, exemptions and payoffs disguised as "incentives" also keep the country in the red. But we're talking about why Romney lost.

More and more people are dipping into a cookie jar that has less and less but continues to replenish itself by borrowing. With such a large group content to be dependent on government and others wanting to join the group, it's no wonder that we're at a tipping point with the electorate. For a candidate who preaches individual independence and success or failure based on your own merit, it's an uphill battle -- half the country is already against you. What's more, those numbers will continue to grow as people become more desperate -- or give up -- in a stagnant economy.

The Republican presidential campaign had a lot of problems. Romney may have run a bad campaign. He flip-flopped a lot and he wasn't very likeable. America is more diverse and some Republican principles are perceived as dated. But one of the biggest reasons Romney lost is because he was right: the deck of the electorate was stacked against him. I think it will stay that way until Americans once again find individual economic prosperity.

But with fewer looking for it, it may take a while.

Email Nate McCullough at nate.mccullough@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Fridays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/natemccullough.


NewsReader 1 year, 11 months ago

Nate, that is perhaps one of the best pieces you have written. And it is dead on too!


bestoinkdooley 1 year, 11 months ago

Romney lost because people are tired of morons like yourself, MCCullough.


Sandykin 1 year, 11 months ago

I also think you're right on until you get to the last paragraph. The problem with such a large portion of the population dependent on government entitlements is that is sets up a situation that perpetually gets worse each generation. Government dependence of the parents is passed down as a way of life to the children where government handouts become expected and they simply don't know any other way to be.

The way out is not only through economic boon, but education on work ethic. Statements like "you didn't build that" especially from the president, do not help the situation. That type of statement discourages the working class and promotes the entitlement class.

What we need is a president who acts as an advocate for independence, that shows value in reaching for something above living off entitlements, that creates a desire to go out an actually earn that house, cell phone, food, etc for themselves. Pride in self provision, the original American dream, need to be promoted.

Are we going to see that in the next 4 years? I certainly hope the Republicans figure this out and start communicating that message. I really think their future lies in representing and promoting small business owners and getting back to the basics of what America was built on.


CD 1 year, 11 months ago

Folks, you need to be careful about the "47%". While it is of course true that there are some collecting public benefits that could get off the "dole", that percentage also includes, for example, fire, police, ex-military that were disabled on the job or on deployment. It also includes people that are truly disabled and unable to hold a job. It includes the elderly with little savings.

You need to look a bit further into that number before making rash judgments. For those Gormandizing Gestapo in Gwinnett, it most likely includes your fine friend Shirley Lasseter as well--at least until she becomes a ward of the Federal Government by virtue of imprisonment.

The problem of those collecting welfare that perhaps should not be has existed long before Obama and the problem was very much in full play during the Bush years. This is nothing new.


johng 1 year, 11 months ago

With all the lamenting and rending of garments on Fox News, that's the best you can come up with? People on welfare and food stamp recipients!?
Top Ten Reasons Romney Lost:

  1. He flip-flops faster than a Georgia large mouth.

  2. He isn't an honest politician.

  3. He chose Paul Ryan as a running mate.

  4. He pays a lower tax rate than you do (he's a taker).

  5. He's the poster boy for the "let's just make it in China" business plan.

  6. He lacks vision.

  7. He lacks a plan.

  8. He won't show us his tax returns.

  9. He believes that Jesus visited America.

  10. He's the loser.

His only real chance of winning would have been by appealing to the intelligence and good will of the American People. But he was incapable of doing that precisely because he views the near majority of fellow Americans as parasites and threats to his status quo.
Ultimately, Obama becomes our obvious choice. An intelligent man who's primary interest is to do the best he can for the American people.
Better luck next time.


Jan 1 year, 11 months ago

For those of you that would like to be among those that pay no taxes: Convert all your retirement investments to Roth IRA's or place in off shore accounts. Income generated from these are not subject to income tax or capital gains tax. Also we should note the distinction between "income" tax and "Capital gains" tax. Many of the elderly pay no income tax by living off social security and and investment incomes. Mccullough also implies that the 47% are on the public dole but this also includes teens with their after school jobs and people working full time in near minimum wage jobs while supporting families. Sometimes people are put in a bind and need temporary help and most of those taking government support do so for only a few years. Mitt Romney's father took welfare payments to help out his family while he was trying to get things turned around, after bringing his family from Mexico where he was born. I started to give a couple of links but knowing how some of you ignore links and ridicule them because they are "liberal media", I suggest googling Mitt Romney's father on welfare to get 100's of links to prove this information. The Clinton administration altered welfare laws to drastically restrict any long term dependency on it.


news2me 1 year, 11 months ago

It nice to finally confirm that you and Say_that_again are one in the same. Thank you!


Sign in to comment