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Economist Mike Davis says Romney both right and wrong on 47%

Michael Davis
Mike Davis

September 21, 2012

Economist Mike Davis of SMU's Cox School of Business says GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney was both right and wrong in his "47%" comment made public on September 17, 2012.

"I think he's right about that number and the broader point that the U.S. has a remarkably progressive tax system," Davis said. "He is wrong, though, about the politics. It is quite likely that many people in that bottom 47% would consider voting for him. That group includes older people who are concerned about the economic uncertainty and it includes young people who are frustrated about their future."

Davis specializes in the intersection of government and business. An expert in economic theory, he has researched topics ranging from how to measure the value of publicly funded sports facilities to the question of why politicians lie. He is a frequent commentator on the Texas and national economies, including financial markets, unemployment and the impact of economic stimulus.

CBS News reported September 18 that in a video made public by Mother Jones magazine, Romney said, "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 — that that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. ... These are people who pay no income tax. ... [M]y job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

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