June 12, 2012
Mitt Romney- Just Like You and Me?
by John Davis LUPA Advisory Council Chair
For the past four years the conservative media has hammered President Obama constantly, saying he is “out of touch” and “not like us.” Right wing bloggers have repeated the Kenya Prophecy nonsense.
Now they are hard at work trying to convince us that “Mitt Romney is just like you and me.” They would have us believe that Romney is a self made man, who has used the “American Way” to become a successful business man. But just how much do middle class Americans have with Mitt Romney? Actually very little if you look at who Romney really is.
Mitt Romney was born into power and privilege. Born and raised in Bloomfield Hills outside Detroit, where his father George Romney was the CEO of American Motors and served as the governor of Michigan. He attended a prestigious private school then went to college at Brigham Young University and then Harvard Law and Harvard Business School.
Recently Mitt Romney talked about “how hard it was to get through college.” In an interview Ann Romney talked about “how they had to sell stock to live on during college.” Mitt’s father had given him American Motors stock when he was a boy – stock that was bought for $6.00 a share. By the time he got to college the stock was worth $96 a share. Romney sold the stock off for them to “get by on” because neither of them worked through their college years. In the interview Ann Romney stated they got by through “chipping away” at the stock George Romney had given Mitt. Investigation turned up they sold $60,000 worth of stock in 1969, which would be $377,000 by today’s standards. In the interview Ann Romney states, “We were married a long time before we had any income, about five years as struggling students.” Few college students would consider living on $70,000 a year struggling, but that goes to the mind set of Mitt and Ann Romney.
Ann Romney felt living on an upper middle class salary that you didn’t work was a hardship, when according to CNN in the average graduating college student last year left college with a debt of over $25,000 in student loans. Ann Romney also stated on Fox News she “doesn’t consider herself wealthy, because money can be here today and gone tomorrow.” With $250,000,000 in the bank that makes her a lot more wealthy than most Americans they say they can identify with. In 2010 Romney reported $21.7 million in earnings after his donations and only paid 14% federal income tax. Romney stated the $373,000 he was paid in speaking fees that year “wasn’t much.” For working class Americans, that would be significant money.
One of Romney’s favorite lines is "I'm in this race because I care about Americans. I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. I'm not concerned about the very rich, they're doing just fine. I'm concerned about the very heart of the America, the 90 percent, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling." But to him struggling is getting by as a college student at only $70,000 a year. If that is so, then he must consider these families trying to live on $50,000 a year and doesn’t worry about them. Another troubling thing about Mitt Romney is his statement that we have a safety net for the poor. His plan for American includes dismantling the same safety net and raising taxes on the middle class and poor while cutting taxes on the rich.
When the financial crisis hit in 2006, the automotive industry was hit hard. GM and Chrysler found themselves on the brink of collapse. Mitt Romney told the press to “let Detroit go bankrupt.” After GM and Chrysler filed bankruptcy, Romney publically railed about how “the bond holders got screwed when it was the workers who should have shouldered all the losses.” Romney doesn’t care about workers; his work at Bain Capital is proof of that. The GM bond holders didn’t lose as much as it was reported and workers and retirees gave up plenty.
Romney’s proposal for a tax plan is to extend the Bush tax cuts that have led to the current economic situation. He also wants slash taxes on investment income, further tilting the scale in favor of the wealthy. The non-partisan Tax Policy Center looked at Romney’s plan and reported it would cut taxes on those in the top 20% by 5.4% and raise taxes on those in the bottom 20% by 1.3%. The top 1%, you know all Romney’s buddies, by $150,000 and those in the top 0.1% by $725,000 a year. The Tax Policy Center’s findings show the Romney Tax Plan would raise the Federal Deficit by $900 billion by 2015 and $3 trillion within ten years.
Yes Romney sells himself as being the average “everyman”, self made millionaire who wants to “help middle class Americans.” In reality he is a spoilt rich kid, who was set up in a private equity firm that made him even richer by laying off workers and robbing pension plans to pad the pocket of the wealthy. He wasn’t to dismantle the safety net for the most vulnerable of society and change the tax code to increase taxes on the working class while slashing taxes on the rich. Just this week Romney stated that “America needs to learn a lesson from Wisconsin and cut more teachers, firemen and policemen.”
I can’t speak for everyone, but as for me I have nothing in common with Mitt Romney. His platform would further decimate the economy and wipe out the middle class. This election is referendum on the 1% versus the 99%. The choice should be simple, but so many people are listening to the right winged media. It will come down to how willing the American people are to educate themselves on the issues. Let’s hope enough people discover that Mitt Romney is not like them after all.