In the months of campaigning that unfolded after Mitt Romney was skewered for saying that “47 percent” of the country “believe that they are victims… believe the government has a responsibility to care for them,” President Obama was relatively silent about the remarks. But today, during his second inaugural speech, Obama got the last word in on the issue. He took the opportunity to push back on the idea that there are “takers” in America, and to stand up for the social safety net:
We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other – through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security – these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.