Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mitt Romney - Class Warrior

Mitt Romney wouldn't be the first really rich man to enter the White House.   But, as Robert Reich points out, he'd certainly be a lot different.

America has had hugely wealthy presidents before — think of Teddy Roosevelt and his distant cousin, Franklin D. Roosevelt; or John F. Kennedy, beneficiary of father Joe’s fortune.

But here’s the difference. These men were champions of the working class and the poor, and were considered traitors to their own class. Teddy Roosevelt railed against the “malefactors of great wealth,” and he busted up the oil and railroad trusts.

FDR thundered against the “economic royalists,” raised taxes on the wealthy, and gave average working people the right to form unions — along with Social Security, unemployment insurance, a minimum wage, and a 40-hour workweek.

But Mitt Romney is not a traitor to his class. He is a sponsor of his class. He wants to cut their taxes by $3.7 trillion over the next decade, and hasn’t even specified what “loopholes” he’d close to make up for this gigantic giveaway.

And he wants to cut benefits that almost everyone else relies on — Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, food stamps, unemployment insurance, and housing assistance.

He’s even a warrior for his class, telling his wealthy followers his job isn’t to worry about the “47 percent” of Americans who won’t vote for him, whom he calls “victims” and he berates for not paying federal incomes taxes and taking federal handouts.

...Money means power. Concentrated wealth at the top means extraordinary power at the top. The reason Romney pays a rate of only 14 percent on $13 million of income in 2011 — a lower rate than many in the middle class — is because he exploits a loophole that allows private equity managers to treat their income as capital gains, taxed at only 15 percent.

...So much wealth and power have accumulated at the top of America that our economy and our democracy are seriously threatened. Romney not only represents this problem. He is the living embodiment of it.

It's time Americans busted this myth of the "self-made man" Romney and his clan steadfastly hide behind.   Nobel laureate economist Joe Stiglitz in his recent book, "The Price of Inequality", traces how government policies, not normal market forces, have created the inequality that plagues today's America and has resulted in the undeserved transfer of wealth and power from the middle classes to the richest of the rich.   The government "of the people, by the people, for the people" turned its back on the people, lining its pockets richly in the process.

The frightening thing is that there a great many Americans, especially the prominent and affluent, who don't think this is corrupt.

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