Romney’s “47 percent” comments continue to strike foul note with educators


by Brian Washington

Educators know you don’t go into a classroom and look down on students or strive to teach only half of them. Every student matters and teachers and education support professionals work to reach each and every one.

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That’s why Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney’s comments made at a high-priced fundraiser are still striking a sour note with educators across the nation—one week after the controversial tape showing him making those comments was publicly released.

On the tape, Romney tells a room filled with wealthy donors that his job is “not to worry about” the 47 percent of Americans who “don’t pay income taxes.” He went on to say that Americans who receive any government assistance believe themselves to be “victims”—victims who think they are entitled to handouts. Romney went on to tell the wealthy donors he would never be able to convince this group that “they should take personal responsibility for their lives.”

Romney’s comments proved to be a slap in the face to senior citizens receiving Medicare and/or social security, students getting government loans to attend college, and those who have put their lives on the line while serving in the military—people like Mike Evans, a military veteran and high school teacher in Missouri.

Who are the 47%?

“It is absolutely incomprehensible to me that a presidential candidate in 2012 would even think, let alone say out loud, that people like me are ‘victims’ and don’t want to take ‘personal responsibility’ for their lives,” said Evans. “I am personally offended, and it struck a chord.”

Many of the people Romney attacked as irresponsible dependents pay plenty of taxes—some at an even higher rate than 14%, which is what Romney paid in federal taxes based on returns he recently made public. These Americans are far from freeloaders.

Evans, who said he joined the military because he loves his country, received help from the Veteran Administration’s Vocational Rehabilitation program, which ultimately helped him attend college and eventually led to him giving back to society and doing some of the most fulfilling work of his life—as a teacher.

“I take great pride in my work because I help kids that normally would drop out from school or not graduate, and I help give them the chance to graduate high school,” said Evans. “And I couldn’t have done any of it if I didn’t receive health care from the VA or education opportunities through the Vocational Rehabilitation Program. I was able to receive the great care that I needed to rehabilitate myself and become a contributing member of society.”

Reader Comments

  1. Mr. Hurst,
    If you feel that Mr. Romney is the Best Hope for America maybe you should talk to the workers of Sensata Technologies (Freeport, Ill.) how much HOPE they have right now. Their jobs were outsourced to China and now they have new ones, to train their Chinese counterparts. Would you like to guess who was behind it? That’s right, the Bain corporation. The same corporation that Mitt made millions on as it’s CEO. Yes, it is true (if you can believe him) that Mitt no longer runs the Money Machine, but then again, why won’t he release his tax returns for the last 10 years like he demanded of his vice presidential running mate, Paul Ryan. You gotta ask yourself, what is he hiding?

  2. In getting elected, votes from people who are collecting welfare checks are not very practical. HOWEVER, Mitt Romney is our best hope for getting the largest number of people who should be working off the dole, and contributing to society. There is no better way to build people up than to help them become self-sufficient. How degrading it must be to feel that political leaders only care about you because they want your vote, and they are willing to pay you a subsistence-only stipend to get that vote. Romney is the one who will help people get good jobs, so they can hold their heads high because they know they are doing their part supporting our great nation. If you want education to be funded, you need to increase tax revenue. That can best be accomplished by taxing a booming economy AT A LOWER RATE, than by trying to squeeze every penny out of a struggling economy, and killing the goose that laid the golden egg, like so many people who don’t have any understanding of economics are advocating. Mitt is our best hope for a better America. He does care, and he can deliver!

    1. How is Mitt going to get us there. How is he going to create more jobs. His shallow empty promises of trust me, vote for me and I’ll reveal the plan later does not make sense. The republican party has done nothing but try to suppress the little guy. They have tried their hand at voter suppression and even intimidation tactics because they need their candidate to secure their tax breaks, free trade agreements, medicare cut in benefits and worse of all pro-choice for women. Mitt Romneys plan for us reminds me of the movie The Hunger Games. The majority of the American People are going to be hunting and gathering while the rich priviledged few are going to have the fabulous life. Mitt only knows one way, the rich entitled way, he has never gone without so how could he ever relate to someone who has. Barack has worked in the hood and has seen what needs to happen for the betterment of the entire society. I am part of the 47% who Mitt does not care about. As a result President Obama has my undying support.

  3. I know a lot of military persons with families who don’t pay taxes because a) they are low income and b) the tax laws allow them to get back all of the money they paid in plus some. This helps families who are low income to being with, just by being in the U.S. military and risking their lives for very little compensation. But, according to Romney, they are part of the 47%. I can only hope that those soldiers, airmen, and sailors recognize that Romney was talking about them too and show their “gratitude” appropriately at the voting booth (or by absentee ballot, if they can get them and aren’t too busy trying to survive on the battlefield or too far away from their mail on a ship).

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