What Mitt….Doesn’t Get

Look! It's a Poor Person.

44 Million. No, it’s not Mitt Romney’s earnings this past year.  It’s the number of Americans living below the poverty line.  According to the 2012 Federal Guidelines, a family of four earning $23,050 a year is considered “poor.”  When considering the poor, however, it doesn’t seem to register for Mitt Romney.

“I’m not concerned about the very poor.”  Those were the words of the man who seeks to be the Republican nominee for President.  He couched his gaffe saying they (the poor) have a social safety net. That was the insult to the injury.

There was a time when the Republican Party — the party I joined as a first-time voter at 18 years of age — was the party of opportunity.  Today though, based upon Romney’s comments, dignity apparently cannot be afforded those 44 million Americans.  Dignity is even further stripped by suggesting the poor simply be reliant upon government.  This isn’t the Republican Party I joined.   

If Romney wants to shed his image as a rich guy out-of-touch with the average American, he should take a page from one of the more forward thinkers of the modern day Republican Party.  I’m speaking of the late Jack Kemp.  The former Congressman, HUD Secretary, and Vice Presidential candidate was a strong proponent of an “Ownership Society.” He believed the way out of poverty was a rising tide created by supply-side economics whereby business would reinvest in capital — both durable goods and human capital.  And as HUD Secretary, home ownership was key to breaking the cycle of multi-generational poverty. 

Jack Kemp pushed the GOP to not concede the inner-cities and the poor.  Sadly, Mitt — in his own words — isn’t “very concerned”  about them.  To paraphrase Senator Lloyd Bentsen, “You’re no Jack Kemp, Governor Romney.”

Mitt has shown a chameleon-like ability to be on multiple sides of such polarizing issues as abortion and gay rights.  His latest gaffe, however, will be a difficult one to overcome.  It’s an inevibility the Obama campaign will exploit this issue to show Romney out of touch.  If Mitt wants to be President, he needs to reconsider those 44 million Americans….”The Poor.”

For a look back at my tribute to the late Jack Kemp, please visit:  https://livedifferently.wordpress.com/2009/05/03/jack-kemp-rip/




Filed under In the News, Uncategorized

6 responses to “What Mitt….Doesn’t Get

  1. satinvalentine

    Your comments are always thought provoking. Good job!

  2. John Mocella

    I just can’t get my arms wrapped around supply side economics.

    Many of the “job creators” have become drunk with acquiring more and more money. It’s not about prosperity anymore, it’s become a numbers game and a race to have the most numbers.

    Supply side economics is like giving as much food as you can to a gluten and counting on the scraps to trickle over the table to the waiting hungry masses.

    In theory, supply side economics would work, but when for factor greed into the equation, it fails.

    • livedifferently

      John — Couldn’t agree with you more. The theory of supply side economics was bastardized because of greed. As it relates to revenue for the federal government, it absolutely worked. Records were set in the 80’s as to how much the Treasury was taking in. The problem was the overspending that created the debt. When Caspar Weinberger was Nixon’s OMB Director he was known as “Cap The Knife.” As Reagan’s Secretary of Defense he was known as “Cap The Shovel.”

      A free-market economy and opportunity to achieve wealth is the best means to lift people out of poverty. However, with liberty comes RESPONSIBILITY. It is not only sad, it is immoral to keep people suppressed and locked in poverty for the purpose of acquiring excessive amounts of wealth. Pope Paul VI said that economies are for people; people aren’t meant for economies. There are record profits being achieved. The patriotic thing to do…the moral thing to do is to reinvest in our people.

      Thanks for your comments, John!



      • Nancy Hollenback

        Jason and John,

        I some what disagree with your lament of supply-side economics. Check out Space X. It’s a little company in CA that is developing a manned space craft that will provide transport to the space station. It is funded by the dude who started Pay Pal (and the list goes on and on and on…). In fact, it’s a huge story about what the private sector can do better than the government sector. Oh, and that greed thing can be quite useful. Those big companies want to grow more and hire more. It might just be a gaming device like the XBox, but the new design and engineering campus is providing real jobs at all levels. And then there are the founders of the company that I work for. Yea, they could have cashed out and sailed the seven seas, but they didn’t. These greedy types can also be driven, driven to build and create and build and create more. And some of them build socially conscious communities, encouraging charitable donations, working with local schools to better equip our students, and working in and with other countries to help lift their economic status.

        Oh and then there are the VCs. I wish I recall the rag and the issue that talked about the strengths that we possess as a nation. One of those was our VC system. Darn if those rich greedy types don’t want more money. And where better than investing in the next big “thing”

        Yes, I grant that some greedy types do nothing with their new found riches. That is the plague of humanity and we’ll never be perfect. And greed infects many.

        Yes, politics is ugly. Yes, our nation is not perfect. And yes, that comment might be the one that sinks Romney’s aspirations.

        And I disagree that “homeownership” is what breaks the cycle of poverty. To say that “possessing a thing” is what endows us as humans to have dignity is off kilter. To have a clean safe place to live… now that is important. Seems that the whole everyone-needs-to-be-a-home owner got us into a bit of trouble recently

        I would posit that dignity comes with being equipped to be a productive member in our society (pretty sure I could make a nice Biblical argument about that one). It’s not about what we own and have. It’s about being about being able to work and contribute to the well-being of others. And one of the vehicles for that is education. And don’t expect DC to solve that problem. It’s already being solved by those wicked rich dudes and gals that also believe in empowering the next generation.

        Yes, Romney is not the favorite of many. But it’s likely he’ll be our dude. So instead of tearing him down, what can we do to plug the dike where he is weak (as everyone has a weakness)….

        Jason, sorry for hijacking your blog… You rock!!!!

      • livedifferently

        Nancy — Thank you for your comments. I will check out Space X and I agree with your assertion the private sector can do better than government because of the profit motivation — which is quite different than “greed.” In fact, the examples you described as”greed” aren’t that.

        The operative word you used is “create.” That’s exactly what drove our economy in the past and what is needed now to drive it in the future. Our economy today is a mostly service-driven economy where we have points of extraction (e.g. Walmart, Costco, etc.) that takes money out of our local communities and off to Wall Street or Bentonville, Arkansas. Imagine if we had a manufacturing and technology renaissance. It could happen if we’d stop some of these crazy so-called “free-trade” deals. Companies that export their goods pay, on average, 17% higher than companies that do not export. Leveling the playing field is what needs to happen.

        If government would stop picking winners and losers, we’d be a lot better off. Instead, small and medium-sized businesses (which is where the creative entrepreneurial spirit resides) aren’t afforded the same kind of tax breaks or incentives for re-investing in capital or for keeping their companies here domestically as larger corporations do. Just look at what happened when GE moved its x-ray business to China investing over $2 billion in that overseas operation. GE paid $0 in federal taxes. There’s an example of where supply side doesn’t work.

        Thanks again for you comments. Feel free to hijack anytime!


  3. Lowell Ingram

    In fairness to Romney, his apparent disinterest in the plight of the poor results from an akward statement taken out of context during an interview with Soledad O’Brien where he was attempting to explain that the plight of the middle class needs more attention right now.

    Continuing with a theme of fairness, we should recognize that Romney’s campaign wasn’t above taking a Barack Obama statement far out of context in an ad that showed Obama saying, “if we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.” Sadly, we are facing some of the most grim choices for President that I’m aware of.

    All of this being said, I find it outrageous that we blame the producers of our economy for the plight of the poor. The worst exploitation of consumers and workers from the most self-serving capitalist institutions cannot compare to the damage inflicted by social programs that are systematically destroying the family structure. I would like to not by cynical and assume that the family destruction and cycles of dependency result from unintended consequences of well-meaning social activists. However, I have hear minority activists suggest that these social programs are actually designed with a racist agenda to destroy minority families in order to “hold them back” as a race.

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