Nick Kristof has literally erupted on the pages of The Times, penning one of the more emotional and blistering takedowns of Mitt Romney you will ever see.
What inspired Kristof's wrath and ire? The now infamous "47 percent" video published by Mother Jones, particularly the part in which he calls nearly half of America moochers.
This is how Kristof begins, which is his tamest moment:
As I watched a video of Mitt Romney scolding moochers suffering from a culture of dependency, I thought of American soldiers I’ve met in Afghanistan and Iraq. They don’t pay federal income tax while they’re in combat zones, and they rely on government benefits when they come back.Kristof then goes on to berate Romney and "self-pitying" Republicans for their own incessant cries of victimhood while manipulating the tax code. In essence, he calls out Romney for his horrible hypocrisy, for calling Americans "moochers" when he's the one who takes more than he gives:
Even if they return unscathed, most will never pay lofty sums in federal income taxes. No, all they offer our nation is their lives, while receiving government benefits — such as a $100,000 “death gratuity” to their wives or husbands when killed.
Maybe I’m being unfair, for I’m sure that when Romney complained in that video about freeloaders, he didn’t mean soldiers. But the 47 percent (more accurately, 46 percent) of American families whom he scorned because they don’t pay federal income taxes includes many other modestly paid workers or retirees who have contributed far more meaningfully to America than some who can shell out $50,000 to attend a fund-raiser like the one where Romney spoke in May.
One lesson is the narcissism of many in today’s affluent class. They manage to feel victimized by the tax code — even as they sometimes enjoy a lower rate than their secretaries and ride corporate jets acquired with the help of tax loopholes.I recommend you read Kristof's entire piece, as it's well worth the read. And as usual, he leaves his best punch for the end:
While self-pitying Republicans focus on federal income taxes (mostly paid by the rich), what’s more relevant is the overall tax bill — including state, local and federal taxes of all kinds. According to Citizens for Tax Justice, the majority of American families pay more than one-quarter of incomes in total taxes — and that may be more than Romney pays.
Romney has proved himself right: We manifestly do have a problem with people who see themselves as victims even as they benefit from loopholes in the tax code.Romney has proved himself right, indeed.
One is running for president.