'47' -- What's in a Number? | The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
’47’ — What’s in a Number?
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The newest pro-Obama, media-generated scandal is this Middle-East diversion of a story about Mitt Romney stating that “47 percent of the people … will vote for the president no matter what.” These are people who, said Romney, are “dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.”

The Obama media think this new magic number will help Obama. They hope it diverts our attention from the disaster in the Middle East, where Obama faces a Carter-like catastrophe. They hope it shifts our focus from genuine shockers, like the fact that Obama has missed a literal majority of his daily intelligence briefings, including all of them in the week leading up to the anniversary of 9/11 and the Middle East eruption. Our nation’s so-called “journalists” dig feverishly for something negative regarding their true enemy: Mitt Romney. They smell blood (or so they hope) in this “47 percent” thing. They sense a winning issue for the president who they strive not to cover with objective reporting but to shamelessly promote.

If I were they, however, I wouldn’t be so confident. You want to talk about “47”? I’ll give you a “47” that all of this comes back to: It’s the 47 million Americans who are on food stamps. That’s an astonishing number, truly unprecedented, and it strikes at the core of Mitt Romney’s message, and, more so, at what works to Romney’s advantage in this election — and to Obama’s disadvantage.

Newt Gingrich has used the phrase “food stamp president” to describe President Obama. He has done so for good reason. No other president has overseen such an upsurge in the number of Americans on food stamps. It’s a record — a dubious record of, yes, heightened dependency.

A few weeks ago, a colleague of mine was talking to a friend who owns several grocery stores. He was amazed when the owner told him about the level of distortion caused in his business by this food-stamp epidemic. For instance, there are currently so many customers on food stamps that store managers must carefully coordinate with suppliers and vendors to ensure there’s enough food in the store when food stamps flood in at the start of each month. In other words, the normal store estimates are so distorted that the store must make special plans to accommodate the food-stamp onslaught.

This also means that a much larger portion of the store’s revenues come not from cash in private hands but from government money collectivized and redistributed. This is money that has been transferred from one group of Americans to another. It’s what the late Hans Sennholz referred to as “the Transfer Society.” In his stores, said the owner, the volume of food stamps seems like it’s 10-20 times higher than just four or five years ago.

This is merely one segment of Americans who are currently depending on the government. We also have all of those depending on government for unemployment payments. And then there are those like Sandra Fluke, a new liberal superstar, dutifully demanding that government (i.e., taxpayers) pay for her contraception. Recall, too, the infamous “Julia,” the Obama administration poster girl for cradle-to-grave dependency.

Those are just a few examples. And guess what? The Obama media could care less. They have one interest: Obama’s re-election. Thus their focus on Mitt Romney’s “47 percent.”

Hey, that’s fine with me. This brings the presidential/political debate right where conservatives have wanted it all along: on the economy, on big government, and on Barack Obama’s redistributive state. You want to talk “47”? Bring it on. Let’s start with the 47 million on food stamps under President Obama.

Paul Kengor
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Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College in Grove City, Pa., and senior academic fellow at the Center for Vision & Values. Dr. Kengor is author of over a dozen books, including A Pope and a President: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Extraordinary Untold Story of the 20th Century, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Communism, and Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.
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