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/