When Mitt Romney sat down with Fox News' Neil Cavuto yesterday, he very quickly denounced the idea of "redistribution" of wealth. Literally 20 seconds later, Romney added, "I believe the right course for America is one where government steps in to help those that are in need." Soon after, Romney also condemned President Obama for finding savings in Medicare.
It was a hint, not only that he's not clear on what "redistribution" means, but also that he hasn't really thought the issue through. As Greg Sargent noted, "Maybe someone can explain how we can pay for 'government caring for those in need' without 'taking from some to give to others.' How do you pay for a safety net without redistribution?"
The short answer is, you can't.
But there was another exchange in the interview that's worth keeping in mind.
CAVUTO: Now, you have said that your wording might have been inelegant, but others have said that you just kissed half the electorate goodbye this election year, that you all but called them moochers. Did you?
ROMNEY: No, I'm talking about a perspective of individuals who I'm not likely to get to support me. I recognize that those people who are not paying income tax are going to say, "Gosh, this, this provision of, that Mitt keeps talking about lowering income taxes," that's not going to be real attractive to them.
The point, of course, was to offer some kind of defense for his "47 percent" problem, explaining why he's largely prepared to blow off the chunk of the population he perceives as lazy moochers who refuse to "take responsibility" for their lives.
But in the process, Romney accidentally admitted something. As John McCormack at the conservative Weekly Standard noted last night, Romney "conceded yet again that his tax policies won't appeal to half the country."
Quite right. According to Mitt Romney, talking on Fox News, his tax plan won't help 47 percent of the population. Indeed, there's ample evidence that many of the folks in this chunk of the population will see a tax increase, as the Romney administration redistributes wealth in the other direction by slashing taxes on the wealthy.
Remember, as Rachel noted last night, Romney believes it's a "problem" that 47 percent of the population doesn't pay federal income taxes, and it's a problem he intends to fix. What's new is the admission on national television that his tax plan won't be "attractive" to nearly half the country because that's the part of the country that won't see any of the benefits.