Someone working in a meat processing plant in Omaha, Nebraska makes about $12 per hour. That’s $24,000 per year. Throw in some overtime, and maybe he makes close to $30,000. Now deduct the nearly 8% that goes to Social Security and Medicare taxes. Imagine that this guy is lucky and his employer provides health benefits, of which he pays some of the cost. He’s married with two small kids. His contribution is around $250 per month. Now his actual monthly take home pay is $2,050 each month. Rent is $800. Car insurance for one car is $100. According to the USDA, a very frugal family of four can survive on a food budget of $600 per month. They get their clothes, furniture, and appliances at Walmart, and with rigorous budgeting only spend $100 per month.

Okay, now our imaginary American who is working more than 40 hours a week at a physically taxing job has $400 per month that isn’t spoken for. He wants to be independent, so he forgeoes a cell phone and has no internet connect and no cable TV (which together might cost $200 per month). He never goes to Starbucks. He never has a beer after work with friends. His family never eats out. They take no vacations. But wait. His car, which is an old one that he prudently paid $2,000 for two years ago, breaks down. And one of his kids gets sick. And his wife needs monthly medication.The $400 evaporates quickly…

So, to return to Romney’s crude comments, yes, they are “takers,” but it is absurd to say that they’re not also “makers.” More importantly, it’s an insult to suggest that someone working more than 2,000 hours per year at a necessary and unpleasant job is somehow mooching off the “producer class.”