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October 20, 2021

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Friday, August 27, 2021

Romney’s Entitlement Problem

In case you missed it, this week we had “Talk Like a Pirate Day.” The guy who made my coffee took it pretty seriously. He made more sense than the news I was trying to tune out.

Guess what, America. Mitt Romney doesn’t like poor people. He says things with his inside voice — when he should really just zip it. He wears bronzer when he goes on Spanish TV. I’m pretty sure brown face won’t help him with the Hispanic demographic.

His wife complained, “Stop it! This is hard.” Really, Ann? Is it as hard as having to sell your husband’s stock options to pay for college and put food on the table? Is it as hard as selecting a blankie for your dancing pony? Did you think running for president would be easy?

Can we now have “Talk Like a Grown-up Day?”

Some people are poor because they’re lazy or dysfunctional, but the vast majority of poor people ARE WORKING THEIR BUTTS OFF TO SURVIVE.

The Republican Party’s bad attitude about the poor isn’t new, but it’s as clueless as ever. In 2005, then-President George Bush responded to a hard-working, divorced mother of three in Omaha, Neb., by saying, “You work three jobs? Uniquely American, isn’t it? I mean, that is fantastic that you’re doing that.”

Fantastic? No. It sucks. The woman is working three jobs, raising kids, and no doubt exhausted. She’s probably one of the 47 percent who has a pitiful income, child tax credits and pays no income tax.

This country was built by people just like her — who worked hard, for very little, but survived.

My great aunt worked and paid taxes for decades, funding wars in which her brothers fought, schools her nieces and nephews attended, roads she drove to visit them. Now she pinches her pennies and pays no income tax. She wasn’t born into a millionaire family like Mr. Romney. She’s not a victim — nor is she asking for anything she didn’t earn, yet she’s part of Romney’s written-off 47 percent. Who the hell is he to describe her as a taker?

I called Pop Moore to talk about this “war on the poor.” He and mom were both raised in impoverished Appalachia. I grew up hearing stories about my coal-miner grandfather and how hard he worked. “He worked as hard as anyone down in those mines. He wasn’t rich with something you could stash in the Caymans. He was rich with reputation and the love of his family and friends. They haven’t figured out how to tax that yet.”

This week Forbes magazine published its list of the 400 richest Americans. As a group, their wealth grew 13 percent this year, far faster than the economy, deepening the canyon between rich and poor. The wealth of those 400 people, about $13.56 trillion, amounts to “one-eighth of the entire U.S. Economy.”

Included in Romney’s 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay taxes are some of his wealthy, less-than-1-percenter friends. According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, in 2011 7,000 Americans made nearly $2.2 million dollars a year and paid no federal income tax. Another 24,000 taxpayers made between $562,613 and $2.2 million and paid nada to the U.S. Treasury.

The Waltons, heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune (not the poor family who said good night so sweetly), have the same amount of wealth as the bottom 41.5 percent of American families. Between 2007 and 2010, median family wealth in America fell 38.8 percent. Most of us noticed. The Walton’s fortune grew by 22 percent.

Here’s the truth, people are working harder now than before. Productivity in the U.S. is up 400 percent since 1950. But wages haven’t gone up nearly as much. In fact, a two-income family today is 15 percent poorer than a one-income family was 40 years ago. Republican policies like the Earned Income Tax Credit helped reduce the tax liabilities for many to zero. Almost two-thirds of the 47 percent who don’t pay taxes are working. Corporate profits have gone up 22 percent since 2007 — why aren’t companies hiring? Oh, that’s right, whatever was left after executive bonuses is stashed in the bank.

Bashing the rich isn’t the point. I’m defending the working poor. Some of the people on Forbes’ list grew up with nothing and worked their way to the top. Mitt Romney isn’t one of them. He was born on third base and hasn’t a clue that millions of Americans never got within a hundred miles of the ballpark.

America has an entitlement problem all right: a Republican candidate who he thinks he’s entitled to be president without answering questions or floating solutions to help the 47 percent of us he disdains.

Comments

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Comments
29 Responses to “Romney’s Entitlement Problem”
  1. Dagian says:

    I do not like Mitt Romney for a lot of reasons. I have very little respect for him and scarcely any for his wife. I don’t deny that breast cancer is a beast, and MS is no picnic, regardless of whether you’re insured or not (but try dealing with either of those WITHOUT insurance).

    I think Mitt Romney is the WORST kind of phony – but then again I shudder every time I see or hear a politician donning checked flannel shirts for the first time EVER and pretending to have half a clue about the difference between a bushhog and flail mower. Although watching them approach whistle pig stew is pretty funny!

    I really, really, REALLY want to see his tax returns for the last ten years. Not a summary – the returns. I’m quite certain he acted within the boundaries of the tax laws, but I’m equally certain that he took advantage of the off-shore account amnesty and that many people would be very unhappy with that information.

    However, as a horse owner for 34 years and a rider for 29, please don’t denigrate dressage. Many people who can get their hands on a horse participate in dressage. It’s not just for the well-heeled. It’s for the kid in 4H who gets to ride in exchange for “sweat equity”, it’s for those of us who aren’t going to compete at all and fundamentally dressage is about training a horse and a rider to have a solid foundation and communication. It’s about making it possible for a horse to reach his or her full potential without destroying their minds or bodies – strengthening them both.

    In fact, dressage was brought to the states by the military. Carl Asmis was one of the founders of what has since become USDF and he (rightly) believed that it was for every rider. Not just those who prefer direct reining to indirect reining. http://www.camdadressage.org/asmisbio.html

    • It’s too bad during the Olympics that there wasn’t someone explaining dressage the way you have. I knew that already as I’ve always enjoyed watching the kids at The Fair put their horses through their paces. It’s hard and fascinating and beautiful.

      My oldest daughter went to horse camp at Camp Fire’s Camp Sealth many years ago and fell in love with horses. We live in town and had no place for a horse so she found an instructor through our neighbor. She was learning dressage before she injured her previously injured knee and later she was a counselor at horse camp. None of those kids were rich and all learned and benefited from the experience.

      I think the biggest problem with the Romneys and their horse is that they list their horse as a business and haven’t always dealt honestly in selling previous horses. But that’s a different issue than dressage.

      • Dagian says:

        *correction: rider for 39 years, not 29*

        Thanks for the compliment, Pat. I’m sorry your daughter can’t ride anymore – has she considered learning how to drive? There are combined driving competitions, as well as simply doing it for fun.

        I can’t write off my personal horses as a business expense, but I do board horses for others and I write off any losses as well as my accountant as a business expense. Breeders also write off their expenses for standing, promoting, showing and insuring their breeding stock and get.

        I’m a dismayed at the way dressage is becoming more of a “show me the fancy stuff!” pressure cooker and fewer people are spending the time on building a solid foundation for their horses. A pyramid’s height is determined by its base.

        I was lucky enough to score FREE tickets to see Apassionata this year before they decided to end the tour early. I’ve also seen the Spanish Riding School’s Lippizaners several times when they’ve come to the states.

        I’m glad more people are coming to appreciate dressage, I don’t want to see it get either over-gimmicked OR see someone turned away or turned off by the time it can take to train a horse and rider to their potential. Some trainers stretch it out far too long. Of course, there is that risk with any pursuit.

        As for the slimy circumstances re: Anne Romney and Super Hit’s pre-purchase exam, etc. Well – I understand why the case was settled out of court, but Anne as the horse’s owner is ALWAYS responsible for the treatment of her horse. ALWAYS. If the vet or trainer did something she didn’t want them to do, she should have gone after them. But Anne didn’t, so as far as I’m concerned, she defrauded the buyer and did it in conjunction with the trainer and veterinarian. I still can’t get over the drug cocktail that horse was swimming in for the pre-purchase exam. It boggles my mind.

        I read the report written by the veterinarian for the buyer and the fact that Super Hit had an exclusion on the policy for *that* leg due to a pre-existing condition is the kicker.

        If they had sold him as a schoolmaster with a limited riding career ahead of him and disclosed his condition, there is no reason they wouldn’t have gotten 25K for him. They got greedy. Imagine that.

      • Dagian says:

        Sorry non-horse people – I left this out and there are those who would find it interesting reading (particularly starting at page 12):

        http://www.scribd.com/rosie_gray/d/97683774-Soule-Declaration

        If that doesn’t work, try running a search for Dr. Steven Soule + Super Hit. He has served as a United States Equestrian Team Veterinarian since 1978.

  2. Duck Driver says:

    Shannyn,

    Another spot on observation. The race to the bottom of GOP candidates has astounded me.
    Please keep pointing out the RWNJ’s theater of the absurd.

    DD

    • Yeah, so I’m not much of a football fan but I do live close to Seattle and I’m always glad to see them win. However, that was clearly a rotten call and Green Bay was robbed.

      I think the best thing to come out of the latest bad call that clearly changed the outcome of the game is to see the union busters from Wisconsin crying for the union refs to come back. That’s the best entertainment ever (concerning football) and sort of worth the crummy officiating. 😉

      • mike from iowa says:

        The officiating crisis is a microcosm of these here United States as we are today. The billionaire owners locked out union officials because the union wants the owners to chip in 3.5 million bucks for pensions for retiring officials. Owners claim they can’t find the money in their 9 billion dollar a year sport and want to eliminate the union aspect of pro football. Owners are betting that enough fans will continue to watch and show up for sibstandard play that the owners will eventual win. I would not like missing a year of football,but I wish the fans would call the owner’s bluff and shut them down and up.

  3. mike from iowa says:

    “two right wings” good one Shannyn.

    • mike from iowa says:

      Maybe some rwnj will suggest “abstinence only” electrical fires on aeroplanes with operational windows.Mitt could make a fortune selling gullible passengers little oxygen containers to fuel on-board fires if their windows don’t roll down at 30,000 feet.

  4. mike from iowa says:

    http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-romney-beverly-hills-fundraiser-20120922,0,2317962.story

    The Mittster apparently doesn’t understand why you can’t open airliner windows when the cabin fills up with smoke. Can this guy be THAT stupid? For the safety of the entire world,someone should let Mitt learn for himself about de-pressurization and soon.

    • zyggy says:

      I’m still laughing at that comment.

    • Well, really, he can’t be that dumb. I’m willing to give him the benfit of a doubt that he was trying to be funny. After all, Anne has said that he’s really funny. Hmmm, but if that’s an example of his humor it just proves that his sense of humor falls as flat as his political ideas. Here’s a tip, Mitt – it’s not funny to joke about the possibility that your wife and others could have been seriously injured or worse. Not funny. Ever.

  5. I didn’t think it could get any worse when we had McCain and Palin trying to take the top two spots. But it seems the republicans do excell at something – picking candidates who are clueless and heartless.

    Shannyn, I think your point that Romney, and those like him, think he is entitled to the presidency and the rest of us should just bow down and do their bidding.

    We need to make sure that they don’t get any where near the White House. It wouldn’t be good for any of us.

  6. Zyxomma says:

    Willard is totally unqualified to lead the country. He proves this every time he speaks.

  7. ibwilliamsi says:

    He didn’t build that.

  8. mike from iowa says:

    Appropos picture of the sun setting on Romney’s chances of being elected. I suppose since the handsome couple are firmly ensconced in the stern of their boat,one could argue Mitt is a “stern” leader. One could also argue Black Bart ordered Mittens to fill his hand and he grabbed Ann for self defense. Hope we can have some fun with Mitt. Sure looks like he could use some about now.

    • John says:

      We kid ourselves if we think he still doesn’t have a good chance of being elected. The polls can change overnight. Money is being spent both to convince voters and to keep voters from being allowed to vote unless they are rich and white.

  9. Simple Mind says:

    When you get those foreign charity solicitations in the mail, they usually contain a picture of an individual, often a child, who is introduced by name. The implication is that if you contribute, you’ll be helping this poor child. There’s a reason for this type of marketing. Plenty of research has shown that if you tell someone that thousands of people are starving, you’ll get some contributions, but if you imply that your money is going to this specific child, you’ll get lots of contributions. Why? People have trouble seeing big problems, even horrendous ones, as reality. When they see that child, they can “see” the problem, sympathize and decide to act. The Romneys are just the far end of this spectrum. Willard grew up in a cocoon of entitlement created by his family wealth, religion and gender. He may or may not be a good person or a sincere person, I don’t know. I do know that he is simply ignorant of what it is like to not be privileged. He clearly has no clue whatsoever. He sees people as figures on a spreadsheet. Whether he is incapable of perspective or simply never learned it, no matter. Putting him in the Presidency would be exactly like electing someone who had never for a day in their life left their hometown. Or maybe someone who thinks Africa is a country or who can’t name a newspaper they read.

    • Beaglemom says:

      I think you can look at his behavior as a teenager and as an adult (remember the dog on the top of the car) and you have the idea of a not very nice person. And from the things that he has said on his never-ending campaign trail you get a pretty good idea that 1) he is not very intelligent, 2) he certainly has little or no intellectual curiosity, and 3) he could care less about the vast majority of people in this country.

      • Simple Mind says:

        Actually, I agree with you. I suspect Willard is a self-centered jerk. What I was trying to say was that when I discuss this with my Republican friends, I try to avoid the personality argument. Since none of us has met or will ever meet the Romneys, we’ll never know. On the other hand, I try to point out that Romney is like Mrs. Palin in many ways and he causes the same hesitation among thoughtful conservatives that she did. Both Romney and Palin grew up in bubbles and haven’t shown any desire to look outside them. In short, they are equally clueless. She is the “you-betcha” redneck and he is the blue-blood patrician. She shows her disdain for people she considers not “real Americans” and he shows his contempt for “you people” who don’t pay federal income tax. They are bookends and equally unqualified to serve as President of the entire United States.

  10. judy says:

    I’m confused. Tell me again — who are the makers and who are the takers?

    • John says:

      A pile of money (capital) has never grown an ear of corn, mined iron ore, or built a computer. It takes labor to create wealth. Capital is a necessary evil to keep it going, but the investors are the takers, not the makers. Ayn Rand got it backwards.

  11. mike from iowa says:

    While I haven’t paid strict attention to Willard when he speaks,I have yet to hear him,his wife or anyone else from the right explain just exactly why Willard wants to be President. Haven’t heard a word about this being his calling.He obviously doesn’t care about the larger part of the population who aren’t well off. He doesn’t seem to be honored or even motivated to lead America. Seems to me like we have enough unemployment and government debt without a leveraged buyout goon taking over. Willard and crew didn’t take over businesses out of the kindness of their hearts. They took them over trying to enrich themselves. It is a rwnj kinda thingy,although some dems are just as guilty. Staples is referered to as a Romney success story. I suggest Staples survived in spite of Bain,not because of it. But,since dickless Cheney eventually got a heart maybe there is hope for filthy rich Romney. If Willard succeeds it will be in spite of me,not because of me. Oh yeah, Wiki claims Romney speaks French which explains why they can pronounce whatever it is their horse supposedly is good at and I can’t.

  12. John says:

    “Whatever you do to the least of my brethren you do to me” Have they no empathy at all? I understand not wanting to create a culture of dependency, but I have yet to see very many poor people who are not struggling to raise themselves up out of poverty. They can’t pull themselves up by their bootstraps, however. They need a helping hand. That is what government can do so well: give someone some help now so they can be productive and pay taxes later.

    And then there are those who will never be able to support themselves. The woman with a mental illness that keeps her from holding a full time job. The man with an addiction that he just can’t beat. The people whose skills and knowledge limit them to minimum wage jobs. They are real people who deserve a full belly, a roof over their head, medical care, and reliable public transportation. And heck, why not a phone, TV, and internet connection?> The little pleasures in life help make it worthwhile.

    • Lacy Lady says:

      I can add to that list of people who have no job because their companies have moved to Mexico or other places. It happened in our small town. Rubbermaid, Young Radiator & others.
      People were sent out the door without a penion after working there for over twenty years.
      My son had a rough time for several years after the closing of one of these places. However, he is lucky in that he is a tool and die maker, and started a business of his own making turbo generators for trains.

  13. HoboJohn says:

    Romney is a pathetic a disgusting excuse for a human. Certainly the worst presidential candidate I have ever seen in my life (excluding the other clowns in the Republican primary and of course the ex-gov of AK).

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