Romney's 47% Remarks Throw Stay-at-Home Moms Under the Bus

Romney 47 %When Mitt Romney said that 47 percent of the people in this country are essentially deadbeats who don't pay income taxes, he painted a lot of people with a broad stroke. He called them "Obama supporters" but we all know who they really are. They are the poor, the unemployed, and wait ... what? The stay-at-home moms? That's right.

Romney's comments are particularly galling given that just a few months ago, Romney was all about the stay-at-home moms of the world and all of their "hard work." He was right the first time. There are people in our country who don't make a lot of money or contribute directly to income tax coffers; however, they still contribute in profound ways to our economy. It's just less visible and grossly undervalued in our society.

Hypocrisy, thy name is Romney.

The fact is, our economic strength isn't just based on money. It's also based on people. We need to think about the contribution of those people ... and perhaps more importantly, the unpaid contributions of the women who raise those people. As a country, we would be remiss to just write them off. 

More from The Stir: Mitt Romney's 'Dear Daughter' Ad Assumes Moms Are Really Stupid (VIDEO)

"Parents who invest their time, energy, and love into their children are creating the most valuable economic commodity: human capital," says Valerie Young, advocacy coordinator for the National Association of Mothers' Centers and blogger with Woman in Washington. "This human capital, in time, will mature into the movers and shakers, producers, consumers, visionaries, artists, inventors, in other words, all the people in our society, whose potential is unlimited."

Of course, Young is talking about moms (and some dads, too) and all the hard unpaid work we do raising our children to be contributing members of society. Sadly, that work is notoriously invisible in our country (there is a reason women over 65 are twice as likely to be poor as men of the same age). Ann Crittenden, the author of The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World Is Still the Least Valued, says: "The work of mothers remains invisible, invisible, invisible. Money is all that counts for people. Nevermind your social contribution."

And what might useful social contributions look like? Well, many stay-at-home mothers devote their time, energy, and mental resources toward raising well-adjusted, creative children with healthy attachments. They are ultimately creating people who will give back in critically meaningful ways. These moms may not be hedge fund managers, but they may have a hand in producing something far more useful than a big wad of cash.

That said, creating people takes investment on the part of our society. We can't just sit back and expect this work to continue without resources, policies, or programs to help. Romney wants to brush non-earners off, toss them aside as a lost cause. That would be a huge mistake. In fact, "Studies show that early childhood education has a 600 percent return," says Kim Otis, director of the Center for Partnership Studies (CPS), an organization that advocates for looking at our economy in news ways and for measuring the "human capital."

And who is educating our kids in the earliest years? It's us moms. Many moms may not be paying taxes directly, but we get better returns on OUR investments. Why isn't Romney talking about that? As mothers, of daughters AND of sons, we should be deeply concerned that Romney talks a great game about caring for stay-at-home moms and in the next breath lumps them in with lazy, greedy, entitled tax evaders that make up a small portion of the "47 percent."

Women who stay home with kids DO contribute in many, many ways. This isn't made-up mumbo jumbo designed to pat moms on the head and say, Wow, good job in a patronizing way. This is real. It's quantifiable, though maybe not in the way we are used to. People are what matters, the work that they do is what matters, not how much every person contributes in dollars and cents. 

If we ignore the people whose contributions do not pay taxes, our country will fail. We can't afford such short-sightedness. As Riane Eisler, the author of The Chalice and the Blade and the co-founder of CPS, says: "Once you recognize that social capital has intrinsic economic value, then you have to change your policies. You have to have policies that support this work."

Will we ever?

Which candidate do you think has policies that support the needs of stay-at-home moms?


2012 election, mitt romney


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nonmember avatar Bird

How long is the line to beat this dead horse?

nonmember avatar Tiff

He wasn't talking about stay at home moms. I love people who twist words to mean what they want them to. He was talking about the people who expect handouts from the government so they can sit on their butt and do nothing... this is def. not the case with most stay at home moms.

Why do people like you have to twist words when he has never ever mentioned stay at home moms. I can tell you that I am a stay at home mom and I wasn't offended by what he said.

Flori... Floridamom96

Well, thank heavens we have you to interpret for us since we're all too stupid to know what Romney really meant. Where do you keep your handy Romney to women translator and why is it a secret? Shouldn't you be sharing such an important device with everyone so we can all know what Romney really means when he speaks?

nonmember avatar Bobbie

I also a stay at home mom, and sorry to disappoint you but NO that's not what he meant! keep trying you just might fool somebody one day! :) God Bless America!

Deann... Deanna2872

I'm a stay at home mom. And I don't feel tossed under the bus at all.

I'm pretty sure Mr Romney wasn't intending to talk about households in which a parent stays home to take care of the children because they can afford it. C'mon, you and I both KNOW that. And honestly, the stay at home parents that are at home because they can afford it without the government paying for it, they know it too. Some of them may not LIKE it. But they KNOW it.

He was talking about the people that rely on the government to take care of them. And that's why they don't pay taxes. Because they either rely on the government to fully care for them (and don't pay taxes), think the government owes them something (therefore they are a victim), or thinks its the governments job to make sure they're employed (in which case they're probably the victim AND don't pay taxes).

As for stay at home parents that can afford it? Most of us aren't offended. Our HOUSEHOLDS pay taxes.

And retired seniors? Yeah, they've been WORKING and PAYING into the system their whole lives. I'm pretty sure most of them know they weren't being called out either ;)

But, you keep trying to convince everyone their a victim, sweetheart. I'm sure you can always pick a few up along the way. You know- the ones that don't wannnnaaaa carry their own load...

Brandt Hardin

The dynamic duo of Romney and Ryan would drive the entire economy into a nose dive as long as it benefits the richest Americans. Income inequality is endangering the Middle Class and making paupers of us all who don’t have those millions upon millions of dollars. Read more about the role of Romney’s riches in this election and the power of his sacred undergarments at The working class of our country can’t AFFORD to allow this election to be bought and sold!

Flori... Floridamom96

Brandt, do you care about anything other than what kind of underwear Mitt Romney wears? You really are quite creepy.

zandh... zandhmom2

As a current stay at home Mom, I know for a fact he wasn't talking about me.  Do you know how I know? Because my husband completely supports our family without a dime from our government! Now, my soon to be ex sil who wasn't worked more than a month in the past two years and lives with a guy who hasn't worked in almost a year and who relies on food stamps, state medicare for her kids, and countless other handouts to survive is more than insulted by Romney...I guess because the truth hurts!!!  I'm certainly not against helping people but when people no longer feel the need to help themselves, then I no longer has any sympathy for how much their lives suck.  People who are more concerned about our country as a whole as oppose to those who just ask "what's in it for me" understand why Romney is better than Obama.

poppy... poppymuffin

Thank goodness for these comments (minus the one from Brandt Hardin) or I was going to have to take this blogger to task!

nonmember avatar Guest

If you are a SAHM, you are either:

1. Independently wealthy, living off of your investments.

2. Have someone else in your family who is bringing in income, and your family may or may not be paying taxes, depending on the amount of that income.

3. You are living off of taxpayer funded "benefits".

(Did I miss anyone?)

I see that the liberals continue to shriek and re-shriek the comments made about what Romney said, and what they are telling you you are supposed to feel about the pundits' critique; instead of what Romney actually DID in fact, ACTUALLY say.

Though initially only a few selected sound bites were picked and snipped, Mother Jones has now released significantly more of the speech, and a large portion of it is now available, both in video form as well as a transcript. (though there is a part of the "47%" section of the recording that Mother Jones still has not made public)

For those of you who prefer to deal in facts, I have C&Ped the relevant section. You can find the mostly complete version at:


Audience member: For the last three years, all everybody's been told is, "Don't worry, we'll take care of you." How are you going to do it, in two months before the elections, to convince everybody you've got to take care of yourself?

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