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A Conversation with Two of the 47%

On Wednesday morning, the twins came down for breakfast, and I let them know that I’m now onto them.

“I’m onto you,” I said (because, as I just informed you, I’m onto them).

“What do you mean?” the ChickieNob asked uneasily.

Me: I know you’re a freeloader.

Wolvog: What’s a freeloader?

Me: It means you expect the government to provide you with things like food and housing so you don’t up and die in the middle of the street.  Mitt Romney told us in a speech all about freeloaders like you without jobs.

ChickieNob: I don’t believe you.  Where did you hear the speech?

Me: Online.  Do you want to hear it?

I bring up the speech on YouTube and play it triumphantly for the freeloaders.

ChickieNob: Is he speaking English?

Me: Yes.

ChickieNob: How do you know?

Me: What do you mean, how do I know?  I’m listening to it.  He’s speaking English.

ChickieNob: It doesn’t sound like English to me.

Me: Well, now you’ve talked right through the speech and missed the most important part!  He let us know about freeloaders like you and your great-grandma and your friends who have stay-at-home mums and all those people who lost their jobs with the recession.  You guys think you’re entitled to food and housing and medical care.  And forget it!  If Mitt’s not going to pay for it, then I’m not going to pay for it.

ChickieNob: I really don’t think Mitt Romney speaks English.

Me: That was English!  Freeloader.

Wolvog: I’m too young to get a job.

Me: That is exactly what I’d expect a lazy 8-year-old to say.  You don’t think there are elementary school children with jobs?  Turn on the television, kids.  If you watched any tv, you’d know that plenty of young children are employed by television stations to sing and dance on tv shows.  You can get a job.  You just don’t want a job.

Wolvog: I thought you were voting for Barack Obama.

Me: I was until I had my eyes opened to the 47% who don’t pay income tax because they have no job.  I wasn’t aware two of those 47 Percenters were living IN MY HOUSE.  Under my roof.  Eating my food.  Taking my Band-aids.  See, Romney is right!  You both are freeloaders.

ChickieNob: I just really don’t think that was English.  He may have been speaking a different language.

Wolvog: If you vote for Romney, I’m going to go live at Grandma’s house for four years because she’ll feed me.

At this point, I realize that I may have taken the joke too far because the Wolvog is trying to hold back tears, thinking about how he’ll have to live with his liberal grandparents, and we sat down and had an actual conversation about the 47% and whether we thought human beings should be entitled to food, housing, and medical care if they can’t cover those things themselves or they’re not lucky enough to have a support system in place via community as we do (answer: yes).  But all of that had to come after I convinced the ChickieNob that Mitt Romney speaks English.  In fact, he speaks clearly and loudly, exactly what he thinks.


1 Katie { 09.20.12 at 8:35 am }

I’m laughing so hard at the conversation, even though the story behind it isn’t funny. All Americans ARE entitled to food, shelter, and medical care, and I hope to raise my child to believe that. Whatever happened to looking out for your fellow man – or woman?

2 Lisa { 09.20.12 at 8:49 am }

Taking my Band-Aids. I’m DYING from giggles here!

Wolvog is going to Grandmas and I’m going to Sweden.

3 Mud Hut Mama { 09.20.12 at 9:02 am }

Hahaha! Love this post and especially love the ChickieNob’s reaction.

4 Tiara { 09.20.12 at 9:20 am }

Love it!

What kills me even more is what Romney said in his defence at the news conference, that he was speaking off the cuff & it wasn’t eloquently stated…that’s his defence? Maybe not eloquent but pretty darn clear!!

5 Nicole { 09.20.12 at 9:33 am }

Hilarious 🙂

The part of all of this that kills me is that the republicans scream the most about being “christian” but then say things like this. I don’t get how you reconcile this. It actually makes my brain hurt… “pro”life and pro death penalty… against funding for education but for more military spending over what we already have… complaining about jobs going to china but attacking science education. I can’t figure it out.

6 Carla { 09.20.12 at 10:01 am }

Mel, I love your posts and have always respected the way you thoughtfull and clearly express your opinions (even if I haven’t always agreed!). I am over-generalizing here, but I do not understand why either party seems to go to such extremes. If the Republicans want to cut every social program out there, it seems that the Democrats respond by wanting to blindly throw money at social programs with no restraint or accountability. I sincerely hope that when Romney referred to “freeloaders” he wasn’t referring to children, those who have lost jobs, are disabled, etc. I have absolutely no problem with my tax dollars going to help those “freeloaders”. I give to several charities and am glad to be able to help. What I can’t stand seeing is the television interviews with some people who say that they will never get a job because welfare will take care of them. I just can’t believe that they are “entitled” to the food, clothing, and medical care that my tax dollars provide.

7 a { 09.20.12 at 10:18 am }

For anyone who wants to excuse Romney’s comments, please look at the many breakdowns of the 47%…which include the working poor and the elderly living on social security. Sure, it may also include people who are taking advantage of government services, such as food stamps…but if someone is working and still eligible for food stamps….I don’t understand what you expect them to do. Get a better job? Make more money? Starve, because that’s all they can afford?

And Carla, I think that if you look at it logically, you can see that all legislators (Republican or Democrat) want to throw money at something. For the Republicans, it seems to be the military and defense. For the Democrats, it’s education and safety nets and social programs. I’d like to see them better balanced, so everyone gets some of what they want. But please don’t pretend that the Republicans are any better at stewarding our tax dollars than the Democrats.

I’d like to pretend Romney is speaking an entirely different language, sometimes. That would make me far less offended.

8 Cristy { 09.20.12 at 10:38 am }

My vote is to send ChickieNob to one of Romney’s rallies and have her debate whether he is speaking English with her. Because even though these he and Paul Ryan are communicating with words I recognize, the message makes zero sense to me. This whole idea that if someone works then they’ll be able to pay for everything they need and will contribute to the system supporting them when they need it. Seriously, when’s the last time Romney was at a soup kitchen or food bank? Met the working poor who are barely able to make ends meet. Yes, some of these people make horrible life decisions, but this idea that your quality of life is dictated solely on what you were born into is utterly ridiculous.

9 Carla { 09.20.12 at 10:52 am }

Christy and a, I completely agree with both of you. I certainly wasn’t trying to imply that Republicans are any better than Democrats at stewarding our tax dollars (or anything, for that matter). My frustration comes from just what you said—that there needs to be better balance, and that nobody seems to be willing to listen to the other side. Everyone on Mel’s site seems to be able to respectfully discuss issues and ideas, and I bet if we all got together we could come up with creative solutions to most of the problems the politians spend endless hours debating but never solving!

10 Lollipop Goldstein { 09.20.12 at 10:57 am }

Dude, I think Carla is onto something — let’s run for office in 2016 under our own party platform and actually get things accomplished!

11 A.M.S. { 09.20.12 at 11:24 am }

Just crying with laughter over how much I love your children! You tell the ChickieNob that the Good Witch isn’t entirely convinced Mitt Romney is speaking English either. I keep yelling one of my favorite Princess Bride quotes at him on the TV… you know…”You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” And I’m trying to teach the Moonpie to yell “Inconceivable!”

I have to laugh because otherwise the fear over what would happen if that mentality takes control for four years overwhelms my already overloaded system and I just curl up and shiver.

Isn’t the President of the United States *supposed* to be concerned with EVERYONE in the United States, not just the ones who like him? I’m gonna go reread the Constitution and the Oath of Office, but I don’t remember any part about getting to pick and choose which percentage of the population you serve and represent.

On the other hand, what do I know? I’m one of the unemployed 47%. I’m gonna take my entitled, lazy butt and go finish packing now so I can get out of this red state I’ve been in for too long.

12 Carla { 09.20.12 at 11:40 am }

Mel, I love it—Stirrup Queens in 2016! We need a good slogan. Anybody have any ideas?

13 k { 09.20.12 at 11:53 am }

From the Stirrups to the White House!

14 The Cornfed Feminist { 09.20.12 at 12:10 pm }

Your kids are so awesome.

15 Mary { 09.20.12 at 12:47 pm }

Several things about Romney’s speech make me think he may be speaking English, but he’s clearly not thinking in any language I recognize.
1. He seems to think that the 47% ENJOYS asking for/receiving help. Ha ha ha. There’s very little as humiliating as asking for assistance to take care of all of your or your child’s needs.
2. He seems to think it’s EASY to get the help that IS available. SO m f-ing not true!!! My DH and I are filing bankruptcy because we cannot pay my son’s medical bills, we’re living month-to-month, our cars are broken and my son, who had autism, still doesn’t qualify for assistance.
3. He claims to be Christian, but I’m pretty sure Jesus wasn’t down with the whole, “Well, I COULD help you and all, but I think it would be better if you saved yourself from sin and all that, instead of asking me for help.”

In other words, Mitt might have passing familiarity with our language, but that doesn’t mean he’s human.

16 Justine { 09.20.12 at 1:20 pm }

Your kids ARE awesome. And I would love to know if Romney’s reading this. 🙂

But you didn’t offer them the nectarine!

17 Finding K { 09.20.12 at 1:21 pm }

As an independent who voted for Obama the first time, I think Romney speaks the truth and that’s refreshing. It’s probably closer to 40% but the fact is we are doing an injustice not helping people to get out of the 40% and instead, keeping them in a box so they continue to be dependent on the government.

Th government is not the answer. People need to believe in themselves and have support. But support is not forever. And, it shouldn’t be. Our country, especially in these bad economic times, cannot afford to support 40% of the country. Worse, we are responsible for 40% of people relying so much on govt assistance by enabling them instead of teaching them to get off of it.

I really like Romney. He knows how to turn an economy around bc he’s done it with companies and he’s done it with the Olympics that was going bankrupt. Obama has had 4 years. Instead of bringing the country together, he pins us against each other. I don’t want my daughter hating someone bc they have nothing or bc they have a lot. That’s not the American way. I want her to shoot for her dreams and try hard and not expect others to hand it out. I want her to have a work ethic, independence, and the self confidence to succeed and not allow others to tell her she can’t do it or shouldn’t.

I don’t know who will win, but I do think Romney has a very good chance this year of pulling it off. And if he does, I expect him to follow through with what he says he will do. Obama has let me down. I gave him a shot, but he doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing. and frankly, we can’t afford of another 4 yrs of him trying to figure it out. We sure as heck don’t give employees 8 yrs to figure it out.

18 k { 09.20.12 at 1:26 pm }

But how do you reconcile that in the 40% are WORKING people who have below living wage jobs, CHILDREN, and elderly? Cut them all off? How does that work?

Romney turns companies around by outsourcing jobs and destroying lives. He demolishes companies, not revitalizes them. It didn’t take us 4 years to get into this mess, why do we think it takes 4 years to get out of it. I’m so over people thinking Obama can do it in 4 years, could you? Romney won’t be able to either, and we’ll just have a bigger mess to clean up later. On top of it he’s going to take women’s rights and gay rights back to the 50’s. His OWN VP NOMINEE is against IVF. I’m sorry, but I refuse to sacrifice my ability to love who I want and make my family how I choose because Romney can misstate statistics.

19 Mary { 09.20.12 at 2:44 pm }

So what you’re saying, Finding K, is that my son, who has a diagnosed condition, and whose father works a 60 hour week, and whose mother has delayed going back to school so she can provide transportation for his therapies, should not receive any help from our government because that will somehow teach him to fend for himself in this world? I’m not sure I understand the logic……Who is it that is supposed to help him with that? Should we just say, “Oh well, he has autism and he’ll always have autism and he should just learn to fend for himself the best he can, and get out of the way of spending on more bombs?”

I’m an independent, and I’m not a huge fan of Obama on several key issues. But I don’t hear Romney coming up with any way to help people learn to fend for themselves, despite all his rhetoric that we’re supposed to be doing that. That’s a bit like saying that swimming lessons are a drain on the economy and instead, just throwing babies in the pool and refusing to help the ones that are drowning. Illogical. Just illogical. And machiavellian.

20 Mojo { 09.20.12 at 2:52 pm }

This will, I’m sure, be an unpopular comment but –

Do you really believe that 47% of the population “can’t cover those things themselves or they’re not lucky enough to have a support system in place via community as we do” – I mean really CAN’T do those things, are unable to do those things even potentially?

Do you really think that ‘Julia’ is an appropriate role model for your kids?

If so, why do you think that most of the people who agree with that mindset are in above-average income brackets?

21 a { 09.20.12 at 4:32 pm }

Mojo, I think most of the people in above-average income brackets have convinced themselves that they had no advantage over anyone else. They think that people earning wages so low that they need government assistance are just plain lazy – not unskilled with no educational opportunities (or abilities), not living in places with no industry and unable to move elsewhere, not temporarily monetarily disadvantaged, not disabled; just lazy.

Regardless, this mindset of Romney’s – that people who are paying no taxes are sucking the government teat is offensive to me in another manner. Romney has taken heat for having offshore investments – sheltering his money from taxes. His defenders say that he is merely taking advantage of legal tax deductions and breaks. So why is he so dismissive of people who make so little money that they can take advantage of the Earned Income Credit? It’s a legal tax credit to reduce liability. It’s hypocritical to demonize a group of people for doing the same thing you’re doing.

22 jjiraffe { 09.20.12 at 4:42 pm }

Who’s Julia?

Here’s my take: the video was cray cray for a few reasons. I worked for a political consultant for a while, and his conversations with candidates sounded exactly like this: bare bones, here’s who’s going to vote for you, here’s who isn’t. I’ve never heard this kind of talk outside a closed conference room.

He’s referring to the fact that 47% of people don’t pay income taxes, which is true. But there’s a diverse group at play within that percentage and many support him in that group based on conservative values (seniors, evangelicals with lower incomes) and also that 47% pays other income to the government (via payroll tax for example). So, strange analysis…I can’t see how his polling numbers reflected this statement.

23 Michaela { 09.20.12 at 4:49 pm }



Everyone one in this great country of ours receives an entitlement in one way or another. They come in many forms. Some are direct and some are indirect. But they are entitlements all the same. For example:

Corporations enjoy and benefit from many types of entitlements. They are in the form of tax elimination loop holes in the laws, tax reductions on investments and infrastructure, off-shore tax eliminations and numerous types of manufacturing subsidies and incentives.

The wealthy receive entitlements also. They are in the form of tax reductions on investments and property. And on and on…

No one ever mentions these kinds of entitlements except the very obvious ones like food stamps or nursing care for the elderly. You cannot compare these pitiful amounts to the millions benefited by corporation and the wealthy entitlement breaks.

@Mojo – My father is a Vietnam vet who served his country for years after the war and now according to Romney he is a freeloader…A dear friend of mine got MS in his early 20s and has been in a wheelchair since, he’s worked 38 years and now needs government assistance. Freeloader?

Here’s the thing…there will always be people who take advantage. Unfortunately that is the nature of the “douche”. We need to weed out the douche and keep the appropriate programs for those in need.

The Preamble of our Constitution states:

” insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare”

Why is defense the only one focused on?

24 Michaela { 09.20.12 at 4:58 pm }

Also, I am a middle of the roader but the misogynistic rants from the Jurassic Age that spew from Romney and Ryan are too much for me to take.

25 Finding K { 09.20.12 at 5:27 pm }

@michaels and @mary I am a cancer survivor, my sister has MS and my nephew has autism. We all work and struggle. We get by and it may not be easy, but we have to sacrifice and figure it out. I don’t hate or blame anyone for having more. I actually admire it and I hope one day K will be one of them, to be honest. Not struggling bc it’s not easy raising a family and struggling. I want more for her.

There are definitely some people who need govt assistance and I already acknowledged that if you read my entire comment. But, NOT 40%. Not even close to 40%. That’s the problem. And, yes, you can crack down on those people. It’s called holding them accountable and having checks and balances on these programs. That is something our govt needs to do if they want to raise people up out of the 40% instead of keeping them down. We can’t help people blindly and at the expense of building our economy up, protecting us from domestic and international threats, and giving our children a shot at a better life. The latter is the worst part bc they are the ones that have to pay for this trillions of dollars of debt and I don’t see how they can possibly do that unless we get a hold on it asap.

And, the argument about children and elderly being part of the 40% he mentions is just silly.

26 Stupid Stork { 09.20.12 at 6:30 pm }

I am 100,000% behind Obama and am more than a little petrified if Romney gets elected (I won’t even let myself think about Paul Ryan anymore because I’m afraid my useless-to-begin-with uterus will just run screeching out of my body altogether). But you know what’s funny? That video actually made me feel a little BAD for Romney.

Onnnly because that’s the first time I’ve seen him talk where he seemed comfortable, honest (even though, in my opinion, that which he was being honest about was horrifying) and that was the only room I’ve ever seen him in where he’s seemed.. comfortable.

I dunno, he just seems way out of his league and while I certainly wouldn’t vote for him, I just wish he would retire happily back to one of his mansions.. Wouldn’t mind having him as a neighbor maybe, but president.. no.

Ryan, on the other hand… You know what it is about him? When Romney says things as clueless as I view him as being, and as.. awkward? as he is in his delivery I at least think he believes the things that he says. Ryan just looks like he knows he’s full of poo poo.

Even though I’m not living the large life (cost of living in L.A. is atrocious) I am one of those people who would have to pay more for those 47%, knowing full well there’s going to be a bit of abuse in the system, and I am positively delighted to do so. I’ve seen the abuse, and I’ve seen the people that genuinely need some kind of assistance, and helping the ones that need it is worth the risk.

Not to mention we really have to stop looking at it like we’re giving anybody anything other than an OPPORTUNITY.

And can you explain to me why the states that have the highest number of people on welfare always vote for the ones thinking they’re lazy?

Oh… And by all means, call me lazy and a freeloader, I am friggin entitled to food. Damnit.

27 lifeintheshwa { 09.20.12 at 7:12 pm }

As an outside observer (and thankful Canuck!) I am fascinated by US politics. How Romney and his ilk could ever call themselves “Christian” is beyond me. The whole point they are entirely missing is that we are supposed to HELP the poor. HELP those who need it. Not amass wealth for our own sake alone but do DO GOOD with it. Be kind to others. None of his policies do anything but accomplish the opposite of these. They’ll do everything to protect the unborn, but those who already here can go eff themselves or borrow money from their parents. Unreal.

28 Stupid Stork { 09.20.12 at 9:30 pm }

Umm, if this were facebook I would like that last full sentence in the comment above a thousand times.

29 BeeReply { 09.20.12 at 10:20 pm }

About 74% of those who do not pay fed income tax are not paying due to elderly tax benefits or benefits for children and the working poor. It’s worth noting that not paying federal tax doesn’t mean you’re poor or unable to fend for yourself. There are people who have an income above $100k who do not pay federal income tax.

I think that people are not clear on the statistics. Chances are that many people who think they pay federal income taxes actually do not. It is similar to the way most people who do not believe they have used a government program have. One study found that over 50% of those who did not think they had used a program had used FOUR or more!

30 Christina (ApronStrings) { 09.20.12 at 10:56 pm }

Well, I mean he is a real pull-himself up by the boot straps kind of guy. You know, like me and many of the other 47%’ers- I’m sure he worked at some god awful job to put himself through college and grad school. He probably even slept on the street a night or two during college like our current president- oh wait, he had EVERYTHING handed to him and he, un like so many of the 47% , couldnt care less about the less- privileged among us. I’m sorry- until you’ve been poor- seen your family lose so much- you cannot run a country where the poor and poor but used to be middle class are suffering so, so much.
I was largely indifferent to him until that speech. Now, as you might have noticed, Im the opposite of indifferent. >(

31 Ap2B { 09.21.12 at 12:36 am }

While I am learning not to burn too much time (hopefully) on arguing with strangers in comment sections (truly – who is going to care tomorrow what Ap2B’s comments were) – I’d still like to say…

32 luna { 09.21.12 at 1:39 am }

I’m with the chickie nob. he may speak his mind, but it’s a different language than I can understand too. maybe that’s because his head is stuck so far up his ass.

33 Michaela { 09.21.12 at 9:13 am }

@FindingK – Vets are definitely in his 47% and to be honest that is one of the biggest abomination and so are the handicapped.

But what’s being completely overlooked is that the money spent on social programs (let’s take the word entitlement out of it) is a PITTANCE compare to what corporations get in “kick backs” and bail outs. That is what needs to be cleaned up more than anything if we want to ensure our children have a better life. Let’s not take away their chances from the programs the will help them along way. Let’s stop bail outs that result in million dollar bonuses.

We all work and work hard…well except for maybe Romney….

34 Finding K { 09.21.12 at 12:39 pm }

Go Romney! Glad to see such spirited debate. It’ll be an interesting election. Don’t bother replying to me. I have a job and I need to go back to it. I won’t see any further comments. Later, ladies!

35 Amanda { 09.21.12 at 8:01 pm }

Wow. This post is incredible!

36 Maria { 09.22.12 at 1:18 pm }

Holy cow, I am cracking UP!!! That’s it….I’m forcing my dogs and toddler to do some hard labor….you’ve opened my eyes, Mel. You’ve opened my eyes.

P.S. Bandaids are expensive!

37 Battynurse { 09.27.12 at 4:04 am }

Lol! Great post!

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