Can Romney Win on Fears Over Higher Taxes?

Do Enough Voters Care?

I’ve heard it said in a number of places, by countless commentators, so much so that I think it’s become part of the script.  It goes along with those who tell us that the Roberts treason has a silver lining, because it makes plain that Obama is imposing new taxes all over the place.  This, along with the economy, is said to be the reason Mitt Romney can win.  I have given this a bit of thought, because it’s been conventional wisdom for so long that most now accept it as something of a truism.  Mitt Romney, they say, now has the biggest tax increases in history against which to run, a veritable “taxmageddon,” they’re calling it, scheduled to being hammering tax-payers in 2013.  The so-called Bush tax-cuts will expire, and of course, all of the new Obama-care “taxes” will begin to phase in.  The problem most Republicans seem not to have noticed, and the reason Romney is in far worse shape than many understand:  Many don’t care that taxes are going up.  As Joe Biden might say, “BFD!” It may not matter if taxes were doubled.  It may not matter how much the Federal Government under the leadership of Obama raises taxes. Taxes may no longer matter as an election issue, and there are two compelling reasons to take this seriously.

The first glaring reason that many voters won’t take this seriously is that even among the few who pay attention, they’re accustomed to hearing outrageous claims by campaigns against their opponents.  Most of the claims boil down to some form of “If you vote for my opponent, a plague will descend upon you, and your children will be carried off by the bogeyman, and the country will melt into the fires of hell and there will be starving people in the street, and you’ll be homeless, naked, and penniless.”  Voters have heard this from both sides so often that whether one side or the other may actually speak plainly about it for a change, most of the relatively low number of voters who pay attention only within the six weeks preceding the election(at best) will feel as though they’ve “heard it all before,” and chances are, they’re right.  The problem is that politicians inflate things all the time.  It’s the norm.  The last time a presidential nominee explained the facts and had no need to embellish, and could merely point to the complete disaster at hand was Ronald Reagan, because all the evidence supported everything he said.  People were living it.

This ought to weigh in Mitt Romney’s favor, and it would, if we were living in 1980 America.  The problem is, we are living in 2012 America, and it’s a very different country.  Consider that we have millions who have spent 99 weeks on unemployment.  Consider that we have roughly fifty million people receiving foodstamps.  Consider that we have a total adult workforce that constitutes fewer than one-fourth of the total population.  We may have passed that critical point at which more people are now beneficiaries of big government than are paying for it, and if this is the case, the economy could become a good deal worse, and it wouldn’t matter because Mitt Romney’s tax arguments, if he were to make one, would fall on the deaf ears of those who have a net tax rate less than or equal to zero.  If we’ve passed that tipping point, Romney can make the tax argument until he’s blue in the face, but it won’t matter to the outcome.  More, with Obama-care now uninterrupted in its implementation by the court, there is now one more inducement to the non-workers, and that is why Democrats were willing to walk the plank in 2010 when the law was passed: They knew once it was in place, we would never be rid of it without revolution.

Of course, it’s not as though all tax-payers will side with Romney, because you can count on the unions to show up and support Obama.  You can bet that the education establishment will support Obama.  The trial lawyers will be there.  In short, all of the usual Democrat constituencies, even those who actually earn a living, are likely to support Obama over Romney because they are either doctrinaire leftists, or because they’ve accepted the language of class envy.  Either way, Romney doesn’t stand a chance in hell of getting their votes.  When you consider this together with the legion of dependency-bound persons who live in large measure or entirely from the system, without effort, you’re looking at what appears to be a majority of voters, or something very close to it.  Romney is going to need to become creative, and find other ways to convince voters, because I no longer have confidence that taxes are a winning issue with the majority of the electorate any longer.

After all, if you say to the millions upon millions of government dependents that you will now reduce the size of government, what they hear is “I’m going to cut your subsidy.”  That’s a disaster they can believe in, and it’s the only one they are inclined to see as relevant.  After all, they’re not paying the bills, and they don’t have any moral compunction whatever about robbing those who do.   Romney can’t rely upon this as his line of attack because for so many voters, it’s now ineffective.  Not only are they carefree about taxes because they’re not paying them, but also because they know that the taxes are supporting them through various federal programs.  Romney’s fifty-nine point economic plan is irrelevant to many, because apart from siphoning off the economy, they’re not participants in it, and have no intentions of changing that sad fact.  Knowing this, I’m not certain why anybody makes the argument any longer, but in Romney’s case, it may be even less effective, as Democrats now make the case that he sheltered millions offshore.

Taxes have sadly moved into the same realm as the deficit and the debt as election issues.  Everybody pays these the appropriate lip service, but the truth is that our system of taxation has become so lop-sided that too many Americans don’t care.  There are simply too few with “skin in the game,” as Barack Obama would say, because they simply don’t pay for any of the government expenditures, and probably never will.  Our massive welfare-state needs a massive overhaul, but we may have passed the point at which we could expect to have popular support to do it.  Mitt Romney may campaign with taxes as his prime issue with which to drive support at the polls, but it seems as though it may no longer be enough as the traditional Republican strategy loses effectiveness.  This is made worse by the fact that for many of those who have heard this talk, and actually want something done about it, they may have low expectations that Romney or any establishment Republican would do the first thing about it.  They have every reason to be doubtful.

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  • Shawn S

    Mark,
    As always, I am on the same road as you.

    I campaigned 7 months for Newt Gingrich and have warned everyone I could about Romney. I posted and blogged everywhere supplying information about How Romney is not and never will be a conservative. Not to mention all the Real baggage this man carries.

    I am deeply concerned having Romney as our candidate. It seems he doesnt have a clue as to go about showing the difference between himself and Obama because he is the same, to an extent.

    Newt Gingrich had a clear contrast as to running against Obama. Anyone could see the difference.

    The Republican establishment pushed this liberal Romney as if he was the one to show the biggest difference between Obama and himself. That he was the only one to be able to beat Obama.

    Mark, I am at a loss as to go about trying to convince people to vote for Romney. It seems that alot of Newt Gingrich supporters and true conservatives won’t vote at all in this election due to the fact they have all the information they need not to vote for Romney.

    A NO vote for Romney is a Yes vote for Obama and this is the problem.

    As a Business owner I personally cannot afford Obama to have a second term.

    I listen to the so called conservative radio hosts like Rush and Levin go on about how Romney will have a hard time winning and that this was the best we could do. That we have to stnd by him.

    Well, where the hell were they while the primary was going on. They knew this was going to happen and they didn’t do a damm thing about it. They knew who was the best candidate but sat quietly by as the establishment pushed Romney. They could have made a difference and should have.

    Unless there is a miracle at the convention we are stuck with Romney.

    Obama’s and the Democrats plan has worked. Give people everything they need and they won’t feel they need to work to support themselves. Why work when you can get by with all the freebee’s.

    I will continue with my endevor to convince people that if they vote for Obama they will never recover after 4 more years of the destruction he will bring forth. That we will never recognize this Great Nation of ours again.

    I see some light with people starting to realize this. I pray it starts to sink in with others.

    Holding my nose,

    Shawn Simpson

  • the unit

    Of course there is a point of no stopping or return.  Like the old Rastas and Liza joke…Rastas was entertaining Liza on the railroad tracks… Liza said “Rastas, there’s a train a-coming”…Rastas answered…”The train can stop…I can’t.”  Numb-zit for us is a-wearing off.

  • Polarbearpapa

     ”Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence
    of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public
    councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are
    rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.”

     Joseph Story    1833

  • Jeff1000

    So how do you explain the house cleaning that occurred in the 2010 midterm elections?

  • RebinTexas

    I don’t have low expectations……with the bunch in control of the GOPe right now, including Romney, I have NO expectation that they will do even a 1/3 of what We The People want and know is needed. This is why I cannot support Romney. Heck, just look at who he is surrounding himself with……..
    Reb

  • Kathie

    Many feel a deep sense of betrayal and resentment against the Republican party for having repeatedly sided with Democrats against us, from John Boehner to John Roberts. Mitt Romney is going to feel the backlash.

  • C Bartlett

    Agree with everything you’ve stated here Mark. What we needed in this election was someone who could say the right things to get enough votes to get elected but get in the White House with the prime goal to slash and burn to get major changes pushed through – knowing full well he/she would only have ONE term to it because re-election would be out of the question. Problem is – I’m not convinced Romney is committed to conservatism enough to do that job. He COULD but I don’t think he WILL. The ONLY hope is getting enough REAL conservatives (no squishes) in both houses of Congress to make real changes. I don’t think even Romney would have the guts to veto valid legislation out of a Republican Congress. What concerns me the most is that this may be our last chance. Once we have more than 50% of the voting population on government entitlements PLUS ObamaCare implemented in full, conservatives do not stand a chance in he** to accomplish any changes. Personally, we are stocking up on guns, ammo, food and supplies in our bunker. I do not see a good end to this.

  • http://twitter.com/camarocowboy Camaro Cowboy

    Shawn, I totally agree with, but you don’t have to hold your nose. I’ve been voting Republican for over 30yrs, but not this time. All these Republican Elites,Fox News and Glenn Beck are trying to shove Romney down our throats and have put the “politics of fear” front and center to conservative voters. How do think conservatives of the 1930′s felt whenever FDR had 4 terms? America made it through that disaster and throughout history, America has made it through the hard times. Don’t let BHO scare you into voting for someone who doesn’t share the same ideals and principles that made this country great! If we don’t get a brokered convention with someone who is better qualified and has REAL conservative principles, then write in Newt Gingrich, or whoever you please. At least you stood by your principles and voted your conscience. I agree with Mark, I want off this bus called the Republican Party who once again told us conservatives to get in the back of the bus, sit down and shut up! I WILL NOT SHUT UP about the biggest mistake the GOPE has ever done! Oh BTW, I’m listening to Rush now and he and Hannity are being Mitt’s biggest cheerleaders.

    • the unit

      Cowboy…did you hear what she said?  It’s start with “NoObama.”  Either hold or get the full effect of chlorine up your nose.  If your old enough to remember that.

  • the unit

    Everybody who reads here with me…knows what’s wrong…and getting elected on taxes or no taxes will not fix it.  Offer this comment from WSJ article today… comment below it…
    I don’t think any disinterested person surveying the economic landscape would believe that more government regulation is the solution. The people that are heavily inclined to believe that are those that want the government to extend its power without limit in any case.The problem is that the government has “its nose under the tent” so to speak and it will be very difficult to get it out now. Personally, I think we are all on a ta-bogging ride and we mostly can just hang on and hope. The world (at least the first world nations) are in a position humanity has never experienced before, i.e., we are incredibly rich compared with the past experience of humanity.The conservative view is that humankind is a tragic folly and will always find a way to blow itself to pieces. The Left believes that humanity is fundamentally good, so good, that with the right hand on the levers of power the human condition can reach perfection and heaven will arrive on earth.I hope the Left is right, but their track record where they have gotten their hands on the levers of power have been a human disaster. Yet, people like Greg don’t even realize that. They are all set to do it all over again, only this time they will get it right. I can’t help thinking of Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown to kick each year at the start of the football season. 

    http://online.wsj.com/community/groups/religion-diversity-tolerance-governance/topics/do-we-need-religion-have Screwy, ya think?

  • the unit
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robert-Lambert/100000175725589 Robert Lambert

    Can always count on this site for Romney bashing. This used to be such a good site when Sarah was the main topic.

    • http://markamerica.com markamerica

      Robert, there are plenty of people here who will vote for Romney. They aren’t all thrilled about it, however. Maybe you can give them some reason to feel otherwise.