Half drowsing yesterday afternoon I let the channel changes lapse and found myself sort of listening to The Five, a panel of pseudo-pundits offering semi-humorous, occasionally penetrating, long-legged stiletto-heeled time-killing for an hour before the nightly news.
The topic, naturally was the Romney statement regarding the 47% of Americans who pay no federal income tax. It quickly provided a lesson in how to high-jack a fact and confuse the boobousie. The resident liberal, foul-mouthed hyper-opinionator Bob Beckel, quickly brought out that most of these people pay payroll taxes, i.e. Social Security and Medicare. Yes, they also pay sales tax if they buy something. How irrelevant must it be to count?
Then Beckel jumped into the "dependency" aspect of those 47% who pay no income tax and collect a government stipend of some sort. He dumped the elderly drawing Social Security, the sick drawing Medicare benefits and veterans into the mix.
His assertion for you to accept was that these folks pay no income tax and are going to be thrown under the Bentley in a Romney administration.
Let us quickly dismiss SS recipients and Medicare beneficiaries. Social Security recipients pay income tax. I am and I do. Medicare beneficiaries pay income tax. Certainly some low income SS and Medicare folks don't pay, but as a class you can't throw the whole cohort into the argument...unless you are Beckel.
But my real scream came with "veterans". Beckel is probably the least qualified on the panel to speak of veteran issues, but he quickly threw all vets into the mix as recipients of government largess and by association non-taxpayers.
Memo to Beckel:
A "veteran" is not a military retiree. A military retiree does not receive an "entitlement". We receive deferred compensation we were contracted for during our extended careers in service of our country. We pay a lot of income tax.
A "veteran" served his/her country, but has no associated entitlement. The great majority of veterans are productive, working and tax-paying citizens. The very limited entitlements of veterans are largely associated with qualified (service-connected) medical assistance. Not all vets are qualified, not all vets need such care, and not all who receive it are non-taxpayers.
The associative leap from the 47% who pay not income tax to a group which receives a government entitlement to a group which is characterized by neither attribute is very typical of the left liberal argument style.
Look for it. Question everything.