Are You Part of the 47% Mitt Romney Doesn’t Care About? I Am!

The Mittster1 Are You Part of the 47% Mitt Romney Doesn’t Care About?  I Am!

Let me begin this post by giving you a little context in case you’ve been living under a rock over the last month.  In a private high dollar fundraiser event held just down the road from me here in sunny South Florida (no, I wasn’t invited but I can almost see Boca Raton outside my window), Mitt Romney, caught on hidden video said “There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what.  Alright, there are 47% who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims; who believe 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! That that’s an entitlement, and the government should give it to them.”

I don’t know how you felt when you first heard, watched, or read those statements; but me?  Incredulous is the word that comes to mind!  If incredulous is defined as being skeptical or disbelieving – then I was both skeptical as in “does he really believe what he just said” and disbelieving as in “did he just say that about half the population?”

How Did He Arrive At That Number?

Let’s go ahead and review the Governors math, shall we?  First, according to the United States Census Bureau’s population clock, as of October 7, 2012, the U.S. population is 314,532,884 million.  Now I’m not Nate Silver performing Political Calculus here or anything, but 47% of 314,532,884 is 147,830,455 million people voting for Obama because they are victims and who are dependent on government; right Mr. Romney?  (And no, there isn’t an empty chair next to me as I type this blog post).  Let’s look at the numbers of that “entitlement” crowd.

According to the Social Security Administrations website, 56 million Americans will receive some form of Social Security Benefits in 2012.  Now Before you blow a gasket, I know; Social Security is called an “entitlement”. But is it?

Social Security Is an Entitlement

The mistake many of you make when you hear the word entitlement is to think like Mr. Romney does which is to think that those receiving social security benefits believe government has a responsibility to care for them and that’s just nonsense.  Here’s why; last time I checked, you have to pay into the system and the program is funded by workers’ payroll taxes so if the word entitlement is defined as “having a right to something”, then sufficed to say, you have a right to collect those benefits!

Let’s get back to the math.  56 million collecting social security benefits subtracted from 147,830,455 leaves 91,830,455 million more “Obama Voters” to account for.  Let’s move on to another entitlement; Medicare.  According to the 2012 Annual Medicare Report, in 2011, Medicare covered 48.7 million people.  Again, let’s go to the math; 91,830,455 million subtract 48,700,000 leaves 43,130,455 million more dependent on government, Obama voters still to account for.

Did Romney Actually Mean To Say 49%?

As of June 2011, 49% of Americans received some sort of financial support from the government according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  However, that number includes more than just people receiving anti-poverty assistance. It also includes Social Security and Medicare, the federal pension and health care programs for seniors, which as I mentioned earlier, are programs funded by workers’ payroll taxes and aren’t typically associated with concerns about dependency (AKA Obama voters to Romney). It also includes other benefits, such as worker’s compensation or educational assistance for veterans.  Surely Romney wasn’t including veterans in his accounting, was he?

The number of people who qualify for “means-tested” benefits, which require applicants to have incomes below a certain level, was actually 35.1%, according to the Census Bureau.  By comparison, when the already-slumping U.S. economy began its free-fall in September 2008 of which I happened to be a casualty of, 24% of U.S. households received means-tested benefits such as welfare or food stamps.  An April report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that roughly one in seven Americans received food stamps, compared with about one out of 11 in 2007.

Holy Crap! He Really Did Do the Math

So let’s go ahead and add roughly another 44 million to represent the number of Americans on food stamps and now our math is up to 148,700,000 free-loading Obama voting Americans dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims and believe government has a responsibility to care for them who will never vote for you, right Governor Romney?  Wait a minute.  Holy Crap; he really did do the math.  That’s exactly 47%!  Take that Fact Checkers!

Only…there are some serious flaws with these numbers. But why let those get in the way of nailing a statistic like Romney did at his high dollar fundraising event?  Do you know anyone on welfare, collecting social security, or on Medicare who have voted Republican – EVER?  Do you know of anyone right now collecting those aforementioned government benefits that have proclaimed they are voting for Mitt Romney?  Of course you do… and so do I!

Ryan Also Part of the 47%

I’m only 47 years old so I don’t collect any social security or Medicare Benefits…yet.  But my Parents do and I expect my children and I will as well.  But not if Romney and Ryan have anything to say about it.  Funny thing about the Governors running mate:  Ryan and his family would have been part of the 47% Romney referred to as well because at the age of 16, Ryan’s father passed and he collected Social Security benefits until he was 18.  I would like to ask him what having that social program step in and help meant to him, his family, and to his future.  Unless of course, he really didn’t need it.  You’ll have to ask him.

That only leaves one qualifying item; when my business failed, I was not entitled to any unemployment benefits.  I was also paying almost $2000 dollars a month for my Blue Cross–Blue Shield health insurance policy to cover me, my two children, and Kelly who had a pre-existing condition, that I could no longer afford and at the end of a long and torturous road through financial hell, I had to accept both Medicaid and Food Stamps.  Judge me if you must, but as a person who was averaging paying $40,000 dollars plus a year to the Federal Government in taxes (Yes, I was formerly a 1 percenter) and has been paying into the system since I was 15 years old, I never felt entitled to these benefits as much as I was grateful they were available for me and my family in our time of need.  I never felt like a victim Mr. Romney, rather a casualty of the economic realities that befell me and millions more across these United States.

Mitt Was Right

So you see; I am truly part of that 47% Mitt Romney referenced at his fundraiser and far be it for me to make a liar out of him since he’s so good at doing it for himself.  Yes Mitt; you were right!  I am not voting for you but not for any of the reasons you laid out on video to your high-level fundraising contributors, and everything to do with Mitt Romney the candidate!

What did you think when you first read or heard about Governor Romney’s statements referencing the 47 percent and do you agree, or disagree with them?  Please lend your voice to the conversation and if you liked this post, please share it with your friends



Forced into frugality and loving it!

frugalityVillage1 Forced into frugality and loving it!Photo: coneslayer

An amazing thing happened to my family and I while traveling the byways of credit and financial hell; we learned how to be frugal! Granted, while I was making a solid 6 figures a year, frugal to our family meant deciding to go to the Outback Steakhouse instead of Morton’s Steakhouse, or buying some new clothing items at Marshall’s or TJ Max instead of Macy’s or Saks.

If frugal is defined as sparing or economical with regard to resources such as money or food, truly I was neither sparing nor economical!  When your new economic reality becomes living day to day, frugality becomes a ‘lifestyle’.  In fact, Economists have created a new term for this condition as millions have been forced into living this very way; Forced Frugality.

When Life Gives You Lemons….

As the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  And that’s exactly what we did.  I learned the true meaning of frugality is being smart with the resources you do have!  One of the early blogs I read as I tried to wrap my mind around our new “lifestyle” was Katy Wolk-Stanley’s “The Non-Consumer Advocate” blog.    As she says in her About Katy section, “I am here to help people learn to live on less” and I needed all the learning I could get!

What immediately struck me about Katy’s blog was her tagline; “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”.  This was not my first exposure to this mantra since I had read it in an article printed in the Chicago Tribune and written by  Gregory Karp on June 26, 2011 titled, Spending Smart: Living Frugally, being happy the Amish Way.  However, the way it now resonated with me… was new!  There was a deep emotional and physical connection to those words because my family and I were now living them!

True Abundance In Simplicity

Lorilee Craker, author of the book “Money Secrets of the Amish: Finding True Abundance in Simplicity, Sharing and Saving” said that culturally, the Amish are so different from us because they are always hunkered down. It’s not, ‘Live it up’ and then, ‘Oh my gosh, we have no money’.  Well, I can tell you that we were never ‘living it up’ nor did we just wake up one day and say, “Oh my gosh, we have no money!”  But…we were definitely not hunkering down either!

What we did was spend money unwisely like tomorrow was guaranteed, being less than intelligent with our money making decisions, until I woke up and said, “Oh my gosh, we are heading toward financial ruin”!  This blog is all about sharing my story and experiences of surviving credit and financial hell and you can read more about that journey throughout my other posts.  The only thing that mattered once caught in that financial storm, was circling the wagons and surviving.  Especially with two young children aboard that wagon!

Learning How to Be Happy the Amish Way

Craker went on to say in Gregory Karp’s article that many Amish enjoy their frugality and many seem to benefit from an inner peace that other Americans will never find as they attempt to keep up with the Joneses.  “They’re not stressed out like we are. They’re not wondering, ‘How am I going to make my car payment”, she said. “They’re secure. They sleep peacefully because they know there’s money in the bank.”

Have you ever had a moment where suddenly everything becomes clear to you, the clouds move on, and you find some direction and inspiration?  That’s what happened to me as I was forced into being frugal!  As I said in my very first post; it is what it is…but will become what you make it!  Excuse my French, but I no longer give a crap about the Joneses and what they have or think!  My only concern became my family, having inner peace, and sleeping well at night!  Maybe you know what I’m talking about icon smile Forced into frugality and loving it!

Frugality Is the New Cool

Yeah, OK, so I was forced into frugality.  But I have accepted it like nothing I have ever accepted before in my life!  Do you know why?  Well again, if frugality is defined as sparing or economical with regard to resources such as money or food, doesn’t that mean learning how to better manage those resources and fine-tuning your personal values along the way; finding out what’s important to you?  You better believe it does, which lends itself directly to step #1 of my 3 Steps You Must Take To Recover From Credit And Financial Hell post: change your mindset! And that’s exactly what I did!

I realized that being frugal wasn’t a label or a title someone gives you for being cheap.  That’s a false perception of what the word really means!  Hell, after letting everyone know my personal story of success and fortune, collapse and reinvention, there are probably a lot of our closest friends who now look at our lifestyle and feel sorry for us, like we’re suffering or something.   And if they do; so what!  I have found being frugal means learning good money and resource management and it’s a lifestyle we have fully embraced as a family!  You need to remember and be conscious of the useful life of every single thing you have at your disposal; food, supplies, money, clothing – everything!

Craker said the mantra described the Amish’s reluctance to replace anything before it’s fully used and when it seems kaput, they look for ways to fix it or re-purpose it.  Before, I was in the habit of simply throwing things away.  Something broke – throw it away.  Something not as shiny and new as it once was – throw it away.  Fact is, we live in a “throw it away” society and I was gladly participating in it…but not anymore!

Welcome To The Village Of Frugality

One of the best parts of being frugal is the lesson we are teaching our children by creating a culture of frugality in our little village.  Our children not only know they have to make do with what they have, but more importantly, they know and understand why!  It’s also more than just a “live-within-your-means mind-set”;  it’s an “embrace frugality” moment where they understand we are trying to make our lives better.

Frugality forced us to allocate our resources on goods and services that would provide us with the best value because having lived through credit and financial hell, we weren’t sure when the next time would come for us to purchase anything new again. This was a really scary time in our lives but it made me personally understand that new doesn’t mean ‘better’, that old or used doesn’t mean ‘not useful‘, and that being frugal doesn’t mean being cheap!  To the contrary; being frugal is the smartest thing we have ever done…even if we were forced into it!

Have you been forced into being frugal?  What lessons can you share about being frugal and how has it made your life better?  Please lend your voice to this important conversation icon smile Forced into frugality and loving it!

 



It Is What It Is…But It Will Become What You Make it

It is what it is2 It Is What It Is…But It Will Become What You Make itSo you were forced into bankruptcy for one of the many reasons people go into Bankruptcy.  Had to short-sale your home or had property foreclosed on.  Lost your job, experienced a drastic reduction in income or lost your business.  Maybe one of these, or as in my case, all three happened to you. And so to you I say; it is what it is!

Yes, I know it sounds simplistic and yes, believe me when I say I know firsthand that there are a whole range of emotions and scenarios that you will go through before you get to that place. [Read more...]