A video of Mitt Romney stating 47 percent of the country will automatically vote for President Obama, because they are dependent on government aid, was released last Monday.
This percentage refers to the share of Americans who do not pay federal income taxes, many of whom receive government financial assistance.
The video was secretly taped at a fundraiser dinner party in May, attended by contributors to his campaign. He was clearly speaking to please them.
The video went viral, and Romney has been under public attack since then. The Republican Party retaliated by sharing a video of President Obama speaking at Loyola University in 1998 about how he agrees with redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor.
While many college students focus on issues of marriage equality, abortion, financial aid and health care, the real debate this election season is over the role the government should play in our lives. Romney argues the government should be less intrusive than the status quo under President Obama.
To be honest, I was growing bored of the presidential campaigns.
I debated whether or not I should vote this November, being an average apathetic college student with little interest in politics until the leaked videos highlighted an issue I had been ignoring: government dependency.
While it is true Romney misspoke by lumping all 47 percent of people with no federal tax burden together, it brought greater public attention to the issue of the spread of money.
While Romney’s statement is still under public scrutiny, Obama seems to be off the hook when he shouldn’t be.
The 1998 video of President Obama highlights his approach to American government. His 2008 presidential campaign showcased it again with his comments about spreading the wealth around.
Theoretically, redistributing the wealth of the upper class to those in poverty should make the nation more prosperous, but when put in practice (as it has been throughout history in places like Cuba, Eastern Europe and China), it has negative effects.
The redistribution of wealth is a basic principle of modern day socialism. This country operates on the principle that you work for your money and the money you make is yours to spend however you’d like. This is capitalism.
In a letter to Joseph Milligan, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.”
Recently President Obama removed the Clinton administration’s 1996 work requirement for individuals receiving welfare through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
With a Congress that would not sign off on President Obama’s work-free TANF program, he performed a bureaucratic maneuver around Congress, giving waivers to states that allows individuals to receive welfare without having to work, even though there are programs designed to help the unemployed find jobs.
Now the taxes the other 53 percent of the population pay can and will be used as easy money for TANF recipients who may or may not have a job.
Instead, we should place importance on the creation of new jobs and wealth, not the redistribution of the wealth an individual already has. We should fuel the capitalistic U.S. that has been a world powerhouse for centuries.
Four years ago, President Obama promised to decrease unemployment and create jobs. Today, unemployment rates stagnate at more than 8 percent.
Granted, creating jobs is difficult in times of economic hardship, but enabling Americans to stay dependent on the government’s money—the money of others—instead of encouraging employment, needs to stop.
It only hurts our country in the long run.