Providence: the new 47 percent?

With the height of the election season upon us, controversial comments offer an opportunity for a healthy discussion.   One comment has captured my attention.

Like many, I was shocked by a comment from Mitt Romney caught off camera.  “There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them. Who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”  

Unlike most Americans though, I was shocked by his brutal honesty on a sensitive subject.   Although he has been heavily criticized and lost some of his supporters over this comment, I support Romney for highlighting the increased dependency of American society on government programs.

My point is not to suggest one political candidate or party is better than the other.  I do not agree with the agenda of either candidate.  Both parties, in my opinion, lack sound judgement in either domestic or foreign policies.  A third political party is the only hope I cling to that future elections will offer a candidate I can fully support.

The City of Providence shares a strikingly similar ratio with regards to tax collection.  48% of all property in the city does not pay tax.  Universities, hospitals and other non profits that own real estate in the city are exempt from paying real estate tax.  With only 52% of property owners paying tax, there is a greater burden on each tax payer to cover the budget.  As a result, Providence has the highest property tax in the region.  This is making home ownership in the city less attractive and a burden with a municipality unable to maintain its services.

As for Romney, he has not backed away from his comment.  Maybe he should have reversed the statistic and talked about the 53% who are covering the cost to support the federal budget.  He could have said “Can the economy work when only 53% of its citizens are footing the bill for the entire country?   With a population growing more dependent on government, the productive 53% is shrinking and more is asked of tax payers to keep government functioning.    This is not a good trend.  It hasn’t worked in Greece, Spain and other nations who have such a large dependency on government.  Can it work here?”


George Potsidis