Op-ed: A Student Among the 47%

The former president of the College Democrats of America, and Democratic National Convention speaker takes umbrage at Mitt Romney's comments about nearly half of the country.

BY Alejandra C. Salinas

October 02 2012 4:00 AM ET

Who is Mitt Romney talking about when he says 47% of Americans don't take responsibility for their lives and want to be dependent on government?

He’s referring to our grandparents who worked their entire lives to provide a better future for us and now live on a fixed income. The soldiers and veterans who can now proudly serve this country without hiding who they are and whom they love. And college students like me who are seeking a higher education to pursue a career in public service.

Mitt Romney has had a few words of advice for college students. When we’re deciding the best way to finance our education, Mitt Romney recommends to just shop around or borrow more money from our parents. I, along with the vast majority of college students, don’t have that luxury. Instead, we have to make the tough choices whether to take out student loans and to work jobs to help put ourselves through school.

The truth is, I don’t believe my pursuit of a quality higher education makes me a victim or a freeloader. And I don’t believe the vast majority of young people in this country want a handout either. Yet Mitt Romney still believes we think of ourselves as victims. What does this say about his understanding of our generation?

He has accused us of not paying our fair share in taxes. However, most students pay plenty in taxes. We pay Social Security and Medicare taxes if we have a part-time job to support our education. We pay state taxes, local taxes, sales taxes, and gas taxes. In fact, most of us pay a higher percentage of taxes then the 14.1% Mitt Romney paid on the $13.7 million he earned in 2011.

Tags: Commentary

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