The not-so-lazy 47 percent


One of the things that makes Mitt Romney’s 47 percent comment stand out is that it flies in the face of what we really know about most Americans and our work ethic.

As you probably know, Romney was recently caught telling a group of wealthy donors back in May, “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what.  All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who 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.”

Romney calls almost half of the American population “dependent,” “victims” who “believe that they are entitled” to the basic necessities.  Keep that in mind as you read this next statistic:

90 percent of wage and salary workers were offered paid or unpaid leave in 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Only 21 percent used that leave.  You can see the whole study here.

These are working Americans who were offered some form of time off and didn’t take it.  And it’s not because they didn’t get paid.  During an average week, 57 percent used only their paid leave.  40 precent used unpaid.

Look at it this way, almost 70 percent of workers who had the option to stay home or go on vacation or run errands or whatever just didn’t take it.

None of these statistics can tell us who will vote for President Obama or not.  But the numbers do give us some insight into just how misguided and frankly insulting Mitt Romney’s claim about 47 percent really is.

Does a “dependent” “victim” go to work when they could take the day off?  How many Americans decide to work instead of calling in sick?  How many Americans put a vacation on hold, or switch shifts so they can attend a child’s school event?  Does Romney call them “entitled”?

Picture this: While Romney complains about American laziness at a high-dollar fundraiser to fellow multi-millionaires in a vacation hot spot in Florida, a vast majority of American workers are on the job, refusing to take the time-off their bosses give them.

It kind of gives new meaning to Ed’s phrase, “Let’s get to work.”


The not-so-lazy 47 percent