Wednesday, September 26, 2012

An Unrepentant 47%er

I am an unrepentant 47%er, one of those leeches on society that Mitt Romney disdains. And of course I'm also a 99%er. Here's how I got to be a 47%er:

In college, I needed financial help, even though my undergraduate years were at a state college. Oh, wait. A state college is subsidized by tax dollars. Check #1. I qualified for federally-funded student loans. Check #2. I paid them back with interest on time.

In grad school, I qualified for more federally-funded fellowships. Check #3. Private university; no state funds required.

When I went to work, I paid taxes on my income. I paid faithfully into Social Security and Medicare, never believing that either would be around when I retired. Paying my fair share was my responsibility, rather like paying for the privilege of being a US citizen. I hoped there would be enough Social Security and Medicare for my mother and mother-in-law when they retired and needed the promise to be fulfilled. Both drew leech-y entitlement checks. Check #4.

On April 1, 1984, a day that would be fraught with irony were it not so important in my life, the federal government initiated a tax-deferred saving program called 401(k). Designed to become the primary source of retirement funding for individuals, it was a government godsend. Check #5. I opened my first 401(k) account that very day and paid in until I retired on December 30, 2012. Now, as I draw from my own funds, I pay those deferred taxes. Check #6. Again, a privilege that allowed me to retire on my own terms.

I'm eligible for Medicare. Check #7. I applied for and received coverage, means-tested, to be sure, from another government program. I have private supplemental insurance, but Medicare is part of the package. Sucking off the government teat once again.

And in three months I will begin drawing Social Security. Check #8. I paid into it for 40 years. But, it's a government handout to those of us too lazy to work, those 47%ers who want a free ride. There's nothing free about Social Security. It's an entitlement I paid for, not a handout.

With all those government programs, I was able to get a great education, find well-paying jobs, work for 40 years with only two layoffs and retire when I was ready. I never had to draw unemployment insurance, food stamps or any other aid to the needy. Still, in Romney's eyes, I'm a parasite on society and on the government dole.

Ain't it great being an unrepentant leech on society???


sharonstruth said...

Great post, Betty. As a fellow 47 & 99 percenter, I resented the implication a hard working tax payer since I was 16 years old I've done anything wrong. Jeesh, didn't I hear that even Paul Ryan got through college with some assistant from Uncle Sam? Let's hope our great nation can find the common ground to uninte as Americans who care about our fellow man and stop all the division between the "haves" and the "have nots."

Betsy Ashton said...

My son was in the Navy for 20+ years. He'll draw a pension... My husband was in the Air Force, is retired and on Social Security, Medicare and his IBM pension + his 401(k). Guess I come from a family of leeches. I, too, was furious at the tone Romney took as much as by his words. He was so dismissive and demeaning. I agree. Jeesh.

Melinda Crocker said...

Great post! I'm another member of the 47% & 99%...I have worked and paid taxes since I was 17 (and I am still paying plenty!) My husband, a teacher and principal, dedicated his life to helping others until his death in 2005. Woops, guess I am a leech for getting his social security instead of mine at the early age of 60. I believe we are the backbone of this country...guess who I'm voting for? ;)

Marian Allen said...

I have nothing to add, because you and your other guests have said it better than I could. If retired teachers and servicemen and servicewomen, retired cops, retired firefighters, retired park rangers etc. are leeches, I'm rooting for Team Leech!

Helen said...

I think you said it all. And you said it eloquently.

Bob Sanchez said...

I am a fellow 47 per center who expects to be a 51 per center on November 6. I'm with that Kenyan guy all the way.

Franz X Beisser said...

Great. In America you can read into a statement whatever suits your current conviction. I'm sure Romney was not knocking you or any of your friends that commented. I'm also in the same boat as you are. No need to repeat your saga.
I'm sure he was talking of the perpetual leaches. The folks that find it a well deserved handout although they never worked a day in their lives. The folks that moan and fake disability to get on the dole. The ones that eat out every meal and yet they need their food stamps to swop for cash or have another kid to stuff their pockets.
I know I sound cruel, but I'll be the first one to help a person or family in need. We all made it the American way, but piglets translate into votes!

Maryann Miller said...

Great post, Betsy. I wish everyone who took advantage of government assistance was as conscientious as you in paying back and not staying on the dole any longer than necessary. When I was a child we were on welfare for a while, but that ended once I was grown and working two jobs. My daughter also received assistance when she was going to college and raising 3 children as a single mother.

S.B. Lerner said...

Well done post, but I tend to agree with Franz. He went too far, but Obama's 'clinging to guns and religion' comment, explaining people who wouldn't vote for him, was equally offensive. Would like to read as intelligent a post negating that, in the spirit of fairness!