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The Irony of Mitt Romney’s 47 Percent

Leonard Steinhorn – Author and Professor of Communication  American University Posted: 09/20/2012 5:45 pm

Here’s the irony of Mitt Romney’s 47 percent: he hails himself as an economic savior because he knows how to create jobs, yet many of the jobs he had a hand in creating through his work at Bain Capital fall right into that 47 percent.

To Mitt Romney, the very workers he claims as part of his success story are precisely those he disparages for not paying income taxes and for taking more than they give back to society.

In effect, if Romney follows his own logic, he is far more a part of the problem than he is the solution.

Indeed a large number of the jobs Romney helped create barely provide enough of an income to lift families above the poverty line. Consider Staples and Sports Authority, two of his crown jewel accomplishments that he has made a centerpiece of his candidacy.

Sales associates there make in the range of $10 per hour, about $20,000 per year, placing them below the poverty line for a family of four and only 175 percent above the poverty line for someone living alone.

According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, 97 percent of married households making $10-20,000 per year pay no federal income taxes, and three-fourths of singles in that income range have no income tax liability.

It’s likely that many of these Americans, no matter how hardworking they may be, receive some government assistance to put food on the table, pay the rent, and obtain medical care. To them, it’s a support system to help them build a better life.

But to Mitt Romney, they are “entitled” and “dependent upon government.” Yet these are workers in the same jobs he claims credit for creating.

This election needs to be about more than simply creating jobs. It should be about the types of job we create. And to create good jobs, we need training and education programs as well as health care and child care support that only government can provide.

So maybe Mitt Romney is right in one sense. We can’t sustain an economy in which too many Americans depend on government. Yet that is exactly the type of economy Mitt Romney has helped to create.

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