1/3 of Ky, Ind residents don't pay federal taxes, Romney comments reinforce opinions


by Joe Arnold


Posted on September 20, 2012 at 8:24 AM

Updated Thursday, Sep 20 at 8:24 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky, (WHAS11) -- The release of controversial comments by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney appears to have reinforced what people in Louisville already thought of him.

"I don't think his campaign is over," said Mandy Connell, 84WHAS Radio host in response to characterizations of a May video recording as a fatal blunder to Romney's presidential hopes.  "I think it's kind of ridiculous to say that this is going to be the end of the Romney campaign because too many people agree with what he said."

"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what," Romney said at a May fundraiser captured on video and released by a left-wing publication. "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."

Most of the callers to Connell's conservative radio show agreed, though one critic said Romney was a hypocrite because his private business efforts have resulted in jobs being shipped overseas.

"My personal opinion is he just voiced, he kind of voiced an opinion a lot of us have, I believe," said
Greg Roque of Jeffersonville.  "The entitlement programs have gotten too big, there's too many of them and there's a lot of people that just live on these entitlement programs."

This week, Romney admitted his remarks were "not elegantly stated," and other voters also interviewed in downtown Louisville suggested that is an understatement.

"I think it's insulting," said Ben Gardner of Louisville.  "He's insulting half the population in the United States.  To generalize like that is terrible.  It's disgusting."

"I don't agree with it," added Stephanie Bryant of Cincinnati.  "I think it's discriminating to me."

In 2009, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimated that roughly 47% of U.S. households, 71 million, do not pay any federal income tax, and some of them would even get money from the government by filing a tax return.

In 2010 totals, apparently compiled by a different formula by The Tax Foundation, 35.9 percent of Kentuckians filed returns with no tax liability, 35.4 percent of Hoosiers who filed are non-payers.

Based on Romney's logic that non-payers will not support him, how is he winning Kentucky, a poorer state than the rest of the country?

Connell said many non-payers don't identify with the "moocher class."

"So even though they want there to be a safety net where people can, if they really need help they can get it, they're tired of people abusing the system and them having to foot the bill."

"I worked all my life," said Esther Joyner of Louisville.  "I'm 67 years old and I'm on Social Security. So I really felt bad about his remarks.  I worked all my life."

Joyner said she is a life-long Democrat and she wouldn't have considered voting for Romney, anyway.

"I think he was just running his mouth," Joyner continued.  "He does that 'off the cuff,' he changes all the time, changes his mind. I'm a Democrat so I don't pay too much attention to him."

Connell said Romney needs to make a distinction between people who legitimately claim government benefits and "moochers."

"The moocher class in my opinion are the people that are capable of working that have decided simply they will spend their time and energy figuring out ways not to work," Connell said.

"There's a lot of resentment from those people who have paid into the system over years and years and years about young people who simply don't seem to want to work," Connell explained.  "They want to remain unmarried while having children because they don't want to lose welfare benefits.  They want to stay on unemployment and work under the table.  I think there is a lot of resentment from the people, especially retirees that did everything right and are now retired, when they look at people who don't share that same value system."

"He said behind closed doors what a lot of us think," Roque repeated.  "I don't know if it will help him, not with the way the news media is.  The mainstream media has been over him all day.  I don't think it's going to help him."

"I really think the media is underestimating the way people in this country feel about the culture of dependency that we seem to be developing at a pretty rapid clip," Connell added.