Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is calling on Republicans to court “the 47 percent who are dependant on government,” a false statistic that may have been one of the reasons former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney lost the 2012 election.
Speaking to The Shark Tank’s Javier Manjarres at the Cuba-Democracy PAC luncheon on Saturday, Cruz seemed to take the wrong lesson from secretly recorded video of Romney telling wealthy donors that he wasn’t worry about the “47 percent who are with him [President Barack Obama], who are dependent upon government.”
“I think the reason why Republicans did so poorly in this last election was actually not primarily immigration,” Cruz explained in video posted on Sunday. “I think it was two words: 47 percent. And by that I don’t mean that unfortunate comment. I think Mitt Romney is a good man and a decent man who ran a very hard campaign.”
“What I mean is the narrative of the last election,” he continued. “The 47 percent who are dependant on government, we don’t have to worry about them.”
“And I got to tell you, I can’t think of an idea that is more antithetical to what we believe to conservatives and Americans than that idea. Look, this country was built on the notion that anybody with hard work and perseverance can achieve anything. That’s why I’m a Republican… And what I think Republicans did a poor job of last time around is making the case to the single mom, making the case to the young African-American and the young Hispanic coming out of school looking for his first job that the party of opportunity is a party that allows and encourages small businesses to thrive, that encourages economic growth. That’s the message we didn’t carry.”
But, like Romney, Cruz seems to be making the mistake of conflating the 46.4 percent of Americans who pay no federal income taxes with a much smaller group of people who actually receive government checks.
As the Christian Science Monitor pointed out last year, only about 25 percent of Americans received an “entitlement” in 2010, a year with higher-than-average unemployment. The number could be as high as 35 percent if Social Security and Medicare are included, which arguably shouldn’t count because they are considered earned benefits.
Cruz suggests that the “47 percent” is made up primarily of single mothers, Hispanics and African-Americans, but The New York Times noted last year those voters were more likely to live in red states, and about 25 percent of those who paid no income taxes were exempt because they received Social Security. And over 20,000 household earning over $200,000 paid no income taxes in 2009 thanks to loopholes like exemptions and deductions.
Watch this video from The Shark Tank, broadcast March 10, 2013.
(h/t: The Blaze)