Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Long term 47%

Obama may have failed to nail him for calling nearly half the nation parasites, and Romney may have beat a hasty retreat from the beans he spilled in a private moment among rich friends, but Americans should heed the core truth it revealed.  
If President Obama wins re-election, historians may view Mitt Romney's now infamous "47 percent dependent" remark as the decisive turning point. But the comment has deeper implications than the election outcome.
It weakens the long-term credibility of right-wing political discourse on dependency and welfare. And it will help transform the public's understanding of capitalism, as Americans see that those most dependent on government are corporate elites, turning upside down our ideas of who is parasitical.
In the first debate, Romney never mentioned the 47 percent and Obama, in a devastating blunder, never called him on it. And just two days later, Romney did his ultimate etch-a-sketch and said his comments had been "completely wrong."
But the now-infamous comments will not fade away since they are the heart of right-wing philosophy and Romney's agenda. They tell the core conservative narrative of "producers versus parasites" and they reveal the nasty realities of capitalism crucial to understanding our economic system and decline.
Romney defined the 47 percent as those Americans who feel entitled to government benefits, don't pay income taxes and are parasitical in the sense that, "I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
The potent right-wing narrative on which Romney builds is that society is always divided between a class of producers or "strivers," and one of parasites. The producers are private sector employers and their workers, who create wealth. The parasites are government workers and the needy depending on government benefits, especially welfare.
It has now become dogma among Republicans that the government is inherently incapable of generating wealth, that it can only be a leech, draining resources away from private individuals and corporations, who, if unfettered, would bring untold prosperity to all.
The Republican anti-parasite narrative teaches that society can prosper only when the producers dominate the parasites and keep them from destroying wealth, progress, the work ethic and the broader health of society. In an economic crisis, the 47 percent, specifically white workers, could turn against their corporate employers and even capitalism itself. However, the narrative tells them the source of their troubles are government, the Left and shiftless parasites.


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