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Who are the 47 percent Romney was talking about?

Jennifer Erickson explains what she thinks Mitt Romney meant by his comments on the "47 percent."

As someone born and raised in the commonwealth, I grew up with a lot of people who at various times would find themselves among the 47 percent of the country that Mitt Romney recently seemed to write off. Footage that aired of Romney trying to divide the country into those who pay income tax and those who do not is troubling both in its inaccuracies and its assumptions. I’m not sure who exactly Romney was referring to when he talked about the “47 percent,” but I wish that he would clarify a few things, particularly in terms of many of the people who have served our country.

When Romney spoke of people “who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims,” did he mean my father? My father doesn’t pay income tax on his veteran’s disability payments. After 25 years of military service he has retired. And he needs good health care since he broke his back after surviving a helicopter crash in the line of duty. After the accident, he went straight back to work — even flying in a back brace — because that’s how he feels about personal responsibility and service. But it’s true, now that he’s older and the arthritis has settled into his spine, he needs to see doctors more often. He considers himself lucky, though, because his military benefits pay for most of his medical costs. That strikes me as fair, but maybe Romney has a different view.

The above excerpt was originally published in Richmond Times-Dispatch. Click here to view the full article.

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Jennifer Erickson

Director, Competitiveness and Economic Growth