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 firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Fridays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/natemccullough.