Sharkara Peters is a 35-year-old single mother of two. She works 34 hours a week at a fast-food restaurant. A few months back, she was hospitalized with a blood clot in her lung. Then, one of her daughters needed surgery. As a result, Peters lost about three weeks of work, and could not muster her $335 monthly rent. When I met her last month while in Charlotte reporting on poverty on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, she was facing eviction.
I asked Peters what President Obama should do for people in her economic situation and she answered without hesitation. Obama, she said, needs to do something about girls on welfare that just sit up and have baby after baby and never try to better themselves.
You see, nobody likes freeloaders.
The point is made for the benefit of Mitt Romney. Of course, he’d likely consider Peters herself a freeloader. I’ve not seen her W-2, but it seems a safe bet that, working less than full time for fast-food wages, she doesn’t pay much if anything in federal income taxes. Romney was heard last week in a secretly-recorded video disparaging the 47 percent of Americans — low-income earners like Peters, Social Security recipients and others — that he says pay no taxes. Last May, speaking before a room full of well-heeled donors in Boca Raton, Fla., who had paid $50,000 a plate for some face time with him, the Republican presidential nominee described those non-taxpayers with contempt as people “who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims…”
In the video, posted online by the liberal magazine Mother Jones, Romney says it’d be a waste of time pitching his campaign to those moochers: “I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Sharkara Peters does not need Mitt Romney’s lectures about personal responsibility.