# Stupidest Statement by a Presidential Candidate - Ever

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Homework Helper
Gold Member
By far worse than Obama's 'Guns and Bibles' blathering.

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. And I mean the president starts off with 48, 49... he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn't connect. So he'll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich.

Really, Mr. Romney? Do you really believe that Obama starts out with an advantage of 47, 48, 49 percent? Why would you spew this nonsense in front of what should be your best supporters? Do you think these wealthy donors got that way because they can't do math? Why should anyone give you a nickel?

Mr. Romney, go home. This race is already over for you if that's true. You need every remaining voter to win.

mheslep
Gold Member
By far worse than Obama's 'Guns and Bibles' blathering.
I think the fundamental mistake is roughly the same in both cases: an arrogant condescension to a large part of the country as to why they won't support him.

By far worse than Obama's 'Guns and Bibles' blathering.
Really, Mr. Romney? Do you really believe that Obama starts out with an advantage of 47, 48, 49 percent? Why would you spew this nonsense in front of what should be your best supporters? Do you think these wealthy donors got that way because they can't do math? Why should anyone give you a nickel?

Mr. Romney, go home. This race is already over for you if that's true. You need every remaining voter to win.

You mean, that if he really could not expect any vote from 47% of US population, he would have no chance to gather required majority from remaining 53%, thus is clearly doomed and is no point in giving him cash, because he would not repay the favour using public money? ;)

Homework Helper
Gold Member
I'm saying that his sales pitch is crap. It's no wonder that he had difficulty raising money early on with appearances like this one. If you are trying to solicit money from somebody, don't lead with, "OK, perhaps 49% of americans will vote for my opponent because they pay no income tax and there isn't anything I can do about it. Forget them! My devilishly clever plan is to woo the independent voter."

Not that I like either the Republicans or Democrats but to be fair Obama has said some pretty stupid things that I just find alarming.

Remember when he mispronounced corpsmen as "corspemen" on several ocassions. He's the commander in chief, and amongst all my military friends it was pretty sad. Personally it's disheartning to hear the commander in cheif not have the proper time to review pronounciation of certain military language.

I'm saying that his sales pitch is crap. It's no wonder that he had difficulty raising money early on with appearances like this one. If you are trying to solicit money from somebody, don't lead with, "OK, perhaps 49% of americans will vote for my opponent because they pay no income tax and there isn't anything I can do about it. Forget them! My devilishly clever plan is to woo the independent voter."

Maybe he is simply in process of rationalizing why in some segments he has very low support? I mean it's OK to lose among bad [insert pejorative adjectives of your choice] people, while it's required to gather at least votes of good people. So he has to convince himself (and donors) that those who don't vote him are the bad. It's required to combat cognitive dissonance.

EDIT: that post is only partially ironic, I think that there is really a point with combating cognitive dissonance.

Mech_Engineer
Gold Member
Let's be honest, Donald Trump has said a lot worse stuff than that... "stupidest ever" is a stretch with some of the extra special candidates over the years.

Evo
Mentor
Wow, all Obama needs to do to win this election is to hand Romney a microphone!

It's not elegantly stated, let me put it that way," Romney said. "I'm speaking off the cuff in response to a question, and I'm sure I can state it more clearly in a more effective way than I did in a setting like that and so I'm sure I'll point that out as time goes on."
What? Buwahaha.

Still, Romney ignored a question about whether he really believes what he was saying. Asked if his words were reflective of his "core convictions," Romney simply walked away.
Is that how he's going to handle a volatile or extremely sensitive meeting with leaders of other nations, get flustered and walk away? Seems like we have a 5 year old campaigning for President, IMO.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/...s-were-not-elegantly-032830339--election.html

Oltz
Since voter turn out for the 47% that does not pay any income tax is historically not very substantial. He could be very correct that Obama would start with that large a lead and for each one that does not bother to go vote is one that counts towards Romney.

So sure if 47% of the population would vote for Obama no matter what that does not matter at all since only ~30% of the population on average actually show up and vote.

His statement is accurate, true and sad 2 quotes come to mind...a republic dies when the majority realize they can vote themselves wealth and socialism fails when they run out of other peoples money.

lisab
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Is that how he's going to handle a volatile or extremely sensitive meeting with leaders of other nations, get flustered and walk away?

+1.

I know that by this point in the campaign the candidates are tired and stressed. But there will be *lots* of tiring and stressful times to deal with, as president.

According to a presidential candidate from my country (Jarosław Kaczyński) for whom I haven't voted I belong to group of young people who while sitting at computer watch films, browse pornography, drinks beer and vote under impulse, what makes us the easiest to manipulate segment.

Google translate, if you don't believe:
"Nie jestem entuzjastą tego, żeby sobie młody człowiek siedział przed komputerem, oglądał filmiki, pornografię, pociągał z butelki z piwem i zagłosował, gdy mu przyjdzie na to ochota. Zwolennicy głosowania przez Internet chcą tę powagę odebrać. Dlaczego? Wiadomo, kto ma przewagę w Internecie i kto się nim posługuje. Tą grupą najłatwiej manipulować, sugerować na kogo ma zagłosować."

Because of it please don't treat any of my analyses too seriously, presumably I'm manipulated. ;)

russ_watters
Mentor
I think the fundamental mistake is roughly the same in both cases: an arrogant condescension to a large part of the country as to why they won't support him.
I think you're mistaken: Obama was insulting would-be swing voters from a rally he just left.

Evo
Mentor
What Romney, and others of his ilk fail to mention is WHY some people don't pay income tax, they're too poor. But, heck, let's tax them anyway eh? So what if they are too sick to work and have live on $900 a month from SS as their only icome. Also, What Romney fails to mention is that even though they are too poor to pay federal income tax, they still pay employment taxes that go to Social Security, medicare, etc... WHO AND WHY INDIVIDUALS OWE NO FEDERAL INCOME TAX - In most cases, it is elderly and poor households that do not pay federal income tax, according to the Tax Policy Center. INCOME, SALES, STATE, MEDICARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY TAXES However, almost two-thirds of those who paid no income tax did pay employment tax to support the Social Security pension program and the Medicare healthcare program, the center said. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/18/us-factbox-americans-income-idUSBRE88H0ZN20120918 russ_watters Mentor Bunch of things: 1. First, the content (fancy that!): He's expressing a cynical and simplistic sentiment, but he's really not that far off. People are selfish and tend to favor policies that help themselves. What he's missing is that our population is not static, so many in the 47% hope to someday become part of the 53% and therefore care about policy in that group. It is only once you hit a pretty high income ("the rich") that you can solidly draw an us-vs-them line in the sand. Many Democrats see this race as being about the 1% vs the 99% -- but many Republicans really do see it being about the 47% vs the 53%. 2. Stupid? Well, it depends on how you mean. In terms of impact on his chances of winning, it may be a biggie, but I suspect it is not as big as people here think. This forum is heavily liberal, so people don't subscribe to Romney's view and don't support him anyway, so any confirmation of Romney's view is met negatively here. Just don't make the mistake of thinking you're being objective in that reaction: There are still a lot of conservatives out there and we hate the fact that such a large fraction pay no federal income tax. However, the media is doing a great job of amplifying things like this for Obama, so that can play a big role in the impact. If judged terms of content (fancy that!), I don't see this comment as stupid at all, it's just an honest reflection of his position. It isn't insulting to those who don't hold his view, much less the people he's trying to pitch to, unlike Obama's insult of the people he just left in rural PA 4 years ago. Unlike Obama's intentional statement in a public forum, this statement was not intended for public consumption and only came out because someone violated his trust. 3. Context -- Evo/lisa, this comment was not intended for general consumption, so your reaction about how this might relate to his conduct of diplomacy is simply inapplicable. 4. Regarding whether this was smart to say at a fundraiser: I meant to start a new thread about this, but I've noticed a conspicuous absence of campaigning by either candidate in my state of PA. Time has an article this week discussing the issue: The vast majority of spending is happening in a very small number of states. Both candidates have recognized states they can't win or are virtually guaranteed to win and are ignoring them, focusing on the swing states. What made this interesting to me is that PA is not among them this time, but either way, focusing your money on the swing voters is the smart thing to do, not the stupid thing, and both candidates are doing it! BobG Science Advisor Homework Helper Many Romney supporters would be shocked to find out that they're in the 47% that pay no income taxes, seeing as how they actually do. The lower 47%, as a whole pay no income taxes. The lowest incomes not only have all of the income tax refunded to them, but also get earned income credit. In other words, the lowest incomes are paying a negative income tax. Eventually you hit the point where a person's tax liability is zero. Finally you hit incomes where people are paying a net income tax, but the taxes they pay don't cancel out the negative income tax of lower incomes. Finally, by time you reach the 47% point, taxes paid by taxpayers finally offset the negative income tax of lower incomes. The net tax gathered by the federal government comes from the top 53%. That is not the same as 47% of people paying no federal income tax! Why is that misleading? A person in that bottom 47% that's paying taxes thinks that they're supporting the 47% that are freeloaders, not realizing that Romney's just called them a freeloader - simply because Romney repeated a catch phrase without putting any thought into it. As to what percentage actually does pay no federal income tax? That would be a little harder to calculate, especially by income, since two people can have the same income and one pay a positive net income tax while the other gets a negative income tax (one is single, while one has 5 kids). So I haven't seen a real good number on what percentage actually pay zero or less in federal income taxes - I've only seen the composite number which is actually the break even point where taxpayers have finally offset the negative income taxes. Between this table and this table, I'd say somewhere between 20 to 30% of people pay no net federal income tax. Guessing that it falls at about 25% probably wouldn't be horribly far off, but it would just be a guess. Last edited: What Romney is missing is that, to quote David Brooks the idea that 47% of the population is leeching takers is a "country club fantasy." Most people who pay no federal taxes are students and the elderly. A lot of the elderly PROBABLY VOTE FOR ROMNEY. The whole world-view Romney's quote represents, while a common sentiment, is simply not representative of the world we actually live in. Unless we want to redefine those government-dependent-victim-no-responsibility types to be the elderly who worked all their lives and now receive social security, Romney's remarks don't match reality. Since voter turn out for the 47% that does not pay any income tax is historically not very substantial Not true- a substantial fraction of the no-tax-payers are elderly, who show up to the polls in droves. Last edited: Mech_Engineer Science Advisor Gold Member Speaking of embarassing quotes from unknown recording equipment: "I understand your message about space," replied Medvedev, who will hand over the presidency to Putin in May. [regarding Russian complaints towards US missile defence efforts] "This is my last election ... After my election I have more flexibility," Obama said, expressing confidence that he would win a second term. "I will transmit this information to Vladimir," said Medvedev, Putin's protégé and long considered number two in Moscow's power structure. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/26/us-nuclear-summit-obama-medvedev-idUSBRE82P0JI20120326 "After my election I have more flexibility," he says... in other words he says what he needs to get elected and then does the opposite in collusion with Moscow?! Edit: Moscow's answer this past Aug- Send an attack sub to patrol the Gulf of Mexico. http://www.examiner.com/article/russian-sub-patrols-gulf-of-mexico-unbeknownst-to-us russ_watters Mentor What Romney, and others of his ilk fail to mention is WHY some people don't pay income tax, they're too poor. I'm fine with that wording as long as it is clear to members of the other "ilk" that "too poor" does not necessarily equal "poor". Most of those people are too rich to be labeled poor! But, heck, let's tax them anyway eh? So what if they are too sick to work and have live on$900 a month from SS as their only icome.
$900 a month would make a person actually poor (depending on family size). Is that what you really meant by your first line? If so, you're talking about roughly 15%, not The 47% and don't assume that when someone mentions that 47% don't pay federal income taxes they mean everyone in that group should. When you say that, it is just as big of an error (the same error? On purpose?) as conflagurating "poor" and "too poor". Indeed, it seems to me like the poverty line would be a very sensible, logic-based cutoff for being a payer versus a non-payer. And it would result in roughly 32% of the population who now pay no federal income tax, starting to pay it -- a whopping 60% increase in the tax base! Also, What Romney fails to mention is that even though they are too poor to pay federal income tax, they still pay employment taxes that go to Social Security, medicare, etc... Though we've had that discussion a number of times, I've never quite grasped why for some people, paying SS and Medicare should exempt them from the federal income tax. Seems like separate issues to me. Last edited: russ_watters Mentor Many Romney supporters would be shocked to find out that they're in the 47% that pay no income taxes, seeing as how they actually do. The lower 47%, as a whole pay no income taxes. The lowest incomes not only have all of the income tax refunded to them, but also get earned income credit. In other words, the lowest incomes are paying a negative income tax. Eventually you hit the point where a person's tax liability is zero. Finally you hit incomes where people are paying a net income tax, but the taxes they pay don't cancel out the negative income tax of lower incomes. Finally, by time you reach the 47% point, taxes paid by taxpayers finally offset the negative income tax of lower incomes. The net tax gathered by the federal government comes from the top 53%. That is not the same as 47% of people paying no federal income tax! Why is that misleading? A person in that bottom 47% that's paying taxes thinks that they're supporting the 47% that are freeloaders, not realizing that Romney's just called them a freeloader - simply because Romney repeated a catch phrase without putting any thought into it. As to what percentage actually does pay no federal income tax? That would be a little harder to calculate, especially by income, since two people can have the same income and one pay a positive net income tax while the other gets a negative income tax (one is single, while one has 5 kids). So I haven't seen a real good number on what percentage actually pay zero or less in federal income taxes - I've only seen the composite number which is actually the break even point where taxpayers have finally offset the negative income taxes. I'm pretty sure yo're wrong about what that stat is saying. Also, CNN has an article that says those who are not retired, but are net negative on all taxes is 10%. mheslep Gold Member Many Romney supporters would be shocked to find out that they're in the 47% that pay no income taxes, seeing as how they actually do. The lower 47%, as a whole pay no income taxes. The lowest incomes not only have all of the income tax refunded to them, but also get earned income credit. In other words, the lowest incomes are paying a negative income tax. Eventually you hit the point where a person's tax liability is zero. Finally you hit incomes where people are paying a net income tax, but the taxes they pay don't cancel out the negative income tax of lower incomes. You think many people, or just Romney supporters, have no idea if they pay any federal income tax or not? Evo Mentor First, it's a small mistake, but the correct number is 46%. And what about the wealthy that pay no taxes, I guess Romney meant them too? A new report from the IRS shows that nearly 21,000 American households with incomes of$200,000 and up didn't owe federal income taxes.

If you're like me, your first question is: How can that be?

Your possible next question: Can I get that kind of tax treatment?

Tax experts say it's not that difficult to avoid owing federal income taxes. And it doesn't require giving up U.S. citizenship, a step that Facebook's co-founder took last year, reportedly to lower his tax bill.
http://articles.baltimoresun.com/20...610_1_income-tax-federal-income-mark-luscombe

Mech_Engineer
Gold Member
I say we adopt a flat tax of 15% accross the board and do away with all deductions. Think about the paperwork savings accross the country, both in individuals' preparation of their tax returns and the government's processing of them!

BobG
Homework Helper
I'm pretty sure yo're wrong about what that stat is saying.

Also, CNN has an article that says those who are not retired, but are net negative on all taxes is 10%.

Yes, but the 47% only references federal income tax. If you look at all taxes, that number would be outrageously wrong.

You think many people, or just Romney supporters, have no idea if they pay any federal income tax or not?

I mean many people that pay federal income tax (and know it) have no idea that they're part of the 47% that pay no taxes when grouped together as a whole. The 47% number is misleading if used inappropriately, or when misworded as Romney's statement was.

The number is misleading, as is, since it takes some analysis to realize its limitations. Using the number wrongly is even more misleading.

Pythagorean
Gold Member
According to this blog, the majority of the 74% are in the deep south. Which is interesting, since this is a part of the US subject to all the classic examples of oppression and prejudice. So do these people have a sense of entitlement or are they subject to a heightened socioeconomic struggle?

Still trying to fact-check the blog though, if anyone else can find anything.

Here's the demographic breakdown of the 47%, according to npr

I say we adopt a flat tax of 15% accross the board and do away with all deductions. Think about the paperwork savings accross the country, both in individuals' preparation of their tax returns and the government's processing of them!
Begone! Begone! Begone!

(disclaimer, potential conflict of interests: I work in my country in tax advisory ;) )