|North Bay Labor Council, AFL-CIO|
Trumka: Romney’s ‘Entitlement’ Remarks 'Spit in the Face of Everyday People’
When Mitt Romney dismissed 47 percent of the population as shiftless riff-raff who pay no income taxes and live off government largess, the Republican presidential nominee “spit in the face of everyday people who know what it means to work incredibly hard and still sometimes fail to get by,” says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.
Romney’s remarks were revealed in a secretly recorded video at a $50,000-a-head fundraiser hosted by private equity billionaire Marc Leder—who has a track record of buying firms and laying off workers and pocketing profits—kind of like Romney’s background at Bain Capital.
Mitt Romney has built a life and a fortune on the losses of others. Those so-called victims he dismisses with ease are victims of his—they’re victims of a system that was rigged by Mitt Romney’s backers so they’d lose. In a moment of candor, he was very clear he doesn’t understand and doesn’t care what almost everyone goes through, except for people like him.
The “entitlements” Romney rails against include Social Security and Medicare.
Edward Coyle, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, says:
No, Mitt Romney, retirees who receive Social Security and Medicare are not ‘dependent’—rather they are proud men and women who paid Medicare and Social Security taxes in every paycheck they ever earned. They are part of a generations-old national commitment to workers, honoring a lifetime of hard work with help toward retiring with dignity and security.
James Gilbert, director of the AFL-CIO Union Veterans Council, said Romney’s comments "are disrespectful to veterans and military families but should be not surprising.”
Those 70,000 American troops currently serving in Afghanistan, that he failed to mention during his Republican National Convention acceptance speech, would be in the 47 percent….
U.S. troops serving in designated combat zones are not required to pay federal income tax during that time of service. Gilbert also criticized Romney’s attack on people who receive “entitlements.”
I would ask him, are you referring to families of the more than 6,500 American service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, including a member of my family who was killed in May and leaves behind a wife and young child that receive survivorship benefits, when he said, 'My job is not to worry about those people?'
Our Damon Silvers, AFL-CIO policy director, also points out that even the poorest 20 percent of Americans pay 17.4 percent of their income in state and federal taxes—in payroll taxes, sales taxes other excise taxes and state income taxes. Romney earned $21.6 million last year and paid only half a percent more in total taxes than the poorest people in the country. Also, in 2011, 13,000 families in the top 1% of income paid no federal income tax.
Without a guest list, there’s no way of telling how many of those at the gilded GOP fundraiser were part of those 13,000 1 percenters.
Watch the video of Mitt Romney's remarks on the 47 percent.
© AFL-CIO. All rights reserved.
Photographs and illustrations, as well as text, cannot be used without permission from the AFL-CIO.