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Posted: September 21, 2012

We are all the 47 percent

But some of us are entitled to handouts we don't need

David Sneed

I wonder if Bill Gates will enroll in Medicare when he turns 65.

He can, you know. Every American is eligible, and the feds pick up half the tab for our medical bills.

It would bother me if Mr. Microsoft did sign up, though. Just because you’re entitled to something doesn’t mean you should take it.  I agree with the conservatives on this: too many people use social safety nets because they can, not because they have to.

Republicans rightly want to shut these frauds down, and I applaud them for that.

Gov. Mitt Romney said recently that 47 percent of Americans “think they’re entitled to healthcare, housing, food…and that the government should give it to them.”

It’s those 47 percent who are panhandling this country into the poorhouse.

And Romney’s running mate has the answer for that. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal will eviscerate entitlement programs that give cash (in the form of food stamps and Medicaid) to the loafers.

I supported his belief in smaller government and lower taxes for a while. Then came the disappointment of the year. I heard Paul Ryan’s proof that he wouldn’t end Medicare: “My mom is on Medicare.”

Is she part of the 47 percent Mitt was talking about? Someone who “thinks she’s entitled to health care?” It sure sounds that way. And correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Paul Ryan’s mom a pretty well-off Republican? 

What’s odd is that she actually is entitled to health care. The middle class picks up the tab for her doctor visits because, no matter how rich she is, she qualifies for the handout. And yes, even Mitt Romney considers Medicare a handout.

But does he consider her part of the problem?

Here’s a fun game: Next time you’re at a potluck dinner, stand by the most popular item and watch. If there’s one pizza and 21 tubs of tuna salad, you can bet the pizza will go first. And when it comes to the last slice of the pie, there are two types of people:

  • The first believes it’s his lucky day and takes the last piece. He has every right to do it. He contributed, so he can take – even if it’s more than what he gave.
  • The other type looks behind her; sees the horror in the downcast eyes of those who realize they’re stuck with fish casserole; and she cuts the last slice in half.

She’s my kind of people. Just because you can take all of something doesn’t mean you should.

And that brings us back to Romney’s 47 percent who feel entitled to handouts and, according to him, always vote for Democrats. I wonder: Will Paul's mom really vote against the GOP like Mr. Mitt believes? I doubt it.

Turns out many of those so-called moochers are actually members of Romney's own base, low-income seniors who collect Social Security and Medicare.

And even rich Republicans take handouts – although we never seem to talk about them. Apparently, handouts to the rich are less likely to raise the deficit than handouts to the poor.

I also doubt the 47 percent number is accurate. I think the percentage of us who benefit from the government is much closer to 100 percent. Whether we want to admit it or not, none of us has paid enough in taxes to cover the actual cost of what we use.

We are all the 47 percent.

And no, I don’t really worry that Bill Gates will go on Medicare. He seems like a share-the-pie kind of guy. Thanks in advance, Bill, for not being greedy – no matter which party gets your vote.

David Sneed is the owner of Alpine Fence Company,and the author of" Everyone Has A Boss– The Two Hour Guide to Being the Most Valuable Employee at Any Company." As a Marine, father, employee and boss, David has learned how to help others succeed. He teaches the benefits of a strong work ethic to entry and mid-level employees. Contact him at

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Readers Respond

I am most concerned with the life and opportunity entitlements steal from the recipients. I don't know how many welfare recipients either OBama or Romney know. I do however know those in my own family, my neighbors, and people I serve at work. In that large group of recipients is a future doctor, teacher, scientist who has the vast possibility and makeup to cure cancer, solve the energy crisis, turn dust into food and harness not just the power of the sun, but the stars as well. But because we make it better to stay on the dole, they never break out of their generational dependence on the government. They fall into the trap and they pass that along to their children. It crosses all races, genders and religous or political affiliation. Its not a life sentence, but for most its a choice. One that sneaks up on them and traps them forever. By Heather on 2012 10 16
The 47% that expect the govt to take care of them, also expect the govt to do so for more than just basic necessities. I can't tell you how irritated I am when a tween in front of me in line at the convenience store with a new manicure and very hip clothing puts a big gulp and a candy bar on the counter for herself and little bro then whips out mom's food stamp card to pay for all. Now, surely if Mommy can afford a manicure, she can afford a big gulp and a candy bar. These are the folks that Mitt is referring to. They may be low income or at poverty level, but if so, shouldn't the benefits be restricted to use for necessities and not treats? All this in front of a store clerk making minimum wage wondering why she is busting her a** for $7.25 an hour because she can't find a decent paying job utilizing the skills she had at her pre-recession job from which she was laid off. By SusieQ on 2012 09 21
Here is why, even if you are middle class, not Bill Gates why you need medicare. If you have a prexisting condition and you lose your medical coverage on retirement or it isn't offered in the state you retire to, you will not be able to get insurance except through Medicare. We came from another state and had pre-existing conditions which actually in fact never caused any excessive medical cost. We were not old enough for medicare. We had to go on Cover Colorado which was $1000 per month for each of us and increased every 6 months. In Denver today, many internists (primary care physicians) will not take you as a patient if you do not have some kind of supplementary insurance such as Rocky Mountain HMO. They can't cover their costs other wise. Denver Dave By Dave W on 2012 09 21
John, Even Liberals agree that too many take. No intelligent Liberal would say that Republicans individually are less compassionate than Democrats. 99% of us agree on 99% of everything. The dispute is over WHO is allowed to take, via tax cuts or medicare, or food stamps; and who should pay for it. A USMC E-3 with a wife and 2 kids doesn't pay Income Tax. He receives a tax credit. When he gets out, he will most likely qualify for food stamps. This may last for 2 years (or more) until he gets on his feet. Is HE the 47% that is a Liberal Obama-voting moocher? Or is it the wealthy retiree who votes GOP and uses Medicare just to conserve his own wealth? I personally believe the richer one is more harmful, and that's why I want to change the public discussion from where it is - to where is might actually encourage changes that achieve the (very similar) goals of both parties. By David Sneed on 2012 09 21
What is wrong is characterizing republicans as heartless, non-giving persons. It has been acknowledged that the welfare/food stamps and unemployment benefits are being misused. That is not to take away from people who genuinely need help. 47%. I am not one of them. So, we are all not 47%. It refers to those who do not pay Federal Income Taxes. By John Republican on 2012 09 21
Marsh, I can appreciate your sentiments. You ask that I know more about Mrs. Ryan before I judge. That is good advice not only for me but for anyone who looks at someone on assistance ( a neighbor perhaps) and despises them for being poor, or stupid, or selfish. And how many of the 47% has Mr. Romney met? I believe the welfare rolls should be much smaller. I merely point out that those with their hand out aren't necessarily poor, or Democrats, or black. By David on 2012 09 21
ps - I agree with John Republican... I had a friend who had 2 babies and decided the gov't (you and I) owed her the ability to be a stay-at-home mom for 18 years sucking up welfare. A Section 8 house across the street from us can't work, but they sure as hell can afford tattoos, cigarettes, more elaborate cells phones than I have, daily trips to Safeway down the street to buy Pepis and Marlboros and they drive a newer car than I do - an 18 year old Honda. Yet they can't water the new lawn you and I paid for 3 summers ago which is now all weeds, depreciating our home values. This is what our political leaders needs to abolish. If Mr. Obama has truly created all those jobs, oh please, give one to our neighbor? By Marsh 57 on 2012 09 21
Perhaps Mrs. Paul is like my parents... she has Medicaid in case she needs it but has a supplemental insurance which pays first. In addition, if its just an office visit, they don't pull out the Medicaid card, but pay cash. Mr. Sneed - until you know Mrs. Paul's exact situation, don't jump to your own conclusions. It's wild guesses like this that misinform the public. Further - although her son and his wife are wealthy, doesn't mean Mrs. Paul is as well.... By Marsh 57 on 2012 09 21
John R. We couldn't agree more. No one likes people who take when they don't have to. And people vote for whichever party they think will give them more. For some it's the Dems, for others it's the GOP. But we all vote ourselves money. Not really a political discussion - more of an economic/government/electorate one. By Joe No Particular Affiliation on 2012 09 21
Should we make ColoradoBiz a political Forum? For Democrats? It can not be denied that there a number of people who live on welfare, unemployment and try to maximize their benefits. How do you like a food stamp recipient buying cakes at the grocery store? How do you like an unemployed being offered a job, but denies it because it will mean end of his unemployment earnings? Yes, they are dependent on Government and will vote for people who help them keep it going. By John Republican on 2012 09 21
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