Mitt Romney on Welfare & Poverty
Former Republican Governor (MA); presidential nominee-apparent
Asked whether his words might strike some as odd, Romney said: "We will hear from the Democrat party the plight of the poor; we have a safety net to help those that are very poor." Romney added that he's more worried about the unemployed, people living on Social Security and those struggling to send their kids to college.
Democrats and Republicans alike pounced and the GOP front-runner quickly sought to explain his remarks. "No, no, no. You've got to take the whole sentence," said Romney, noting that his remark was consistent with his theme throughout the race, adding: "My energy is going to be devoted to helping middle-income people."
In the 2008 Republican primary, Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney's Mormon faith was likewise perceived as an issue by some voters. Claiming that many would be reluctant to pull the lever for a person of his beliefs, some pundits and political advisors urged him to "do a JFK." Just give a speech, they told him, and reassure voters that your faith will have nothing to do with your presidency. Instead, he gave a thoughtful speech that eloquently and correctly described the role of faith in American public life.
Unlike JFK, Romney declared that our religious liberty is "fundamental to America's greatness." And he spoke openly of "how my faith would inform my presidency, if elected."
The threat to our culture comes from within. The 1960�s welfare programs created a culture of poverty. Some think we won that battle when we reformed welfare, but the liberals haven�t given up. At every turn, they try to substitute government largesse for individual responsibility. Dependency is death to initiative, risk-taking and opportunity. Dependency is a culture-killing drug. We have got to fight it like the poison it is.
A: Well, my system is primarily based on trying to create jobs, not handing out cash to individuals. I do lower the lowest income tax bracket from 10% to 7.5%. And that helps people at the low economic level. But the heart of what I�m doing is trying to get businesses to become more active, buying capital equipment, trying to get businesses to grow in this country and to create more jobs.
Q: But what about those 50 million who don�t pay any taxes? Nothing for them?
A: Well, it�s focused on jobs. What you want to do is provide the incentives to help companies to be create new jobs. Obviously, the best antidote to having an economic slowdown is growth in the business sector, creating jobs, and that generates more income for everybody. But for those that are not paying any taxes at all, simply writing a check doesn�t seem to me to be the right course to follow.
Critics of the faith-based effort warn that Romney's move bolsters President Bush's attempt to get more federal dollars to religious organizations carrying out social services, a policy they say is eroding the traditional division between church and state. ''The Bush administration is trying to break down the church-state wall and give public money to the churches without the legal safeguards that ought to be in place," said one critic.
Faith-based organizations apply directly for the federal grants, but Romney said the state can assist groups in the application process.
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Third Party Candidates:
Mayor Rocky Anderson(J)