Mitt Romney’s campaign, in the, um, collective opinion of the “mainstream media”, suffered a major setback the other day. As you may perhaps have heard by now, Mr. Romney’s opponents unearthed a video clip in which the GOP candidate, speaking to a private audience (or so he thought), commented on the difficulty of winning the support of the large segment of voters who draw more revenue out of the federal government than they put in.
It was, of course, only those folks whose vote he does in fact have little chance of winning who saw Mr. Romney’s remarks as damaging. For the rest of us he was only making, though perhaps carelessly and inelegantly, rather an obvious point — and indeed his doing so, and the dedication of endless news cycles to it by the press, has had the effect of energizing his base.
Pat Buchanan has just written a tart essay about this. An excerpt:
[W]hat was right about what Romney said was discerned two centuries ago by that governmental genius John C. Calhoun.
“The necessary result … of the unequal fiscal action of the government is to divide the community into two great classes; one consisting of those who … pay the taxes … and bear exclusively the burden of supporting the government; and the other, of those who are the recipients of their proceeds, through disbursements, and who are, in fact, supported by the government; or, in fewer words, to divide it into taxpayers and tax consumers.”
A nation sundered between taxpayers and tax consumers, said Calhoun, “must give rise to two parties and to violent conflicts and struggles between them, to obtain the control of the government.”
Is that not a fair description of where we are today?
Of course it is, with the acknowledgement that the adherents of the two parties aren’t riven with arithmetical precision along maker/taker lines.
You can read the rest of Mr. Buchanan’s essay here.