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Uncomfortably Numb: Mitt Romney Has No Idea How You Feel
Were you to slam your head into a dead tree trunk for hours on end, that tree trunk would have a vastly more dramatic reaction to your suffering than corporate prince and right-wing presidential nominee Mitt Romney. A professional corporate plunderer whose political career has previously hovered just inches outside of the national spotlight, never before has Mitt Romney’s boardroom detachment been so obvious. Surely there have been other cold, out-of-touch millionaires who have applied themselves to winning national office, but the others could at least fake a little humanity–even pretend to a “compassionate conservatism.” Mitt Romney couldn’t be more out of touch with America if he lived in Pyongyang.
Corporate fantasy has turned into hard-knock reality where the consumer economy has failed working folks while corporate interests have turned their eyes on the commons. From working class to professional, times have changed in America.
Are you one of the 1 in 2 Americans that is poor or low-income? Mitt Romney has no idea how you feel. With an estimated personal worth of up to $250 million, if there ever was such a thing as “Easy Street” Romney would probably own a whole block on it. He has reported over $40 million dollars in income over the last two years alone. Much like the 26 hugely profitable corporations that paid no taxes last year, Romney even gets a nice break on his tax bill. While the tax man may be eating away at your personal savings, Romney only pays 15%, “lower than what he would pay if he earned a regular paycheck like many Americans.”
Not that Romney minds sharing–with other millionaires. Back in 2011, when the Romney Plan was first released, it was discovered that it also included a further tax break for his fellow millionaires to the tune of $1.5 trillion. One can get a sense of Romney’s “empathy” when you consider the Romney Plan’s tax cut for the average working class family: $54. Unlike many Americans, Romney is loaded to such an extent that when asked about the $374,000 he earned in speaking fees between 2010 and 2011, he replied that that amount was “not very much.” Most Americans, would probably consider themselves blessed to ever see that amount in a year.
Most Americans desperately need that income to pay for a life that is becoming prohibitively expensive. As the price of housing continues to eat away our population’s personal wealth, just having a roof over your head can be a challenge. Mitt Romney has no idea how you feel. He is the epitome of the 1 percent lifestyle. In August of last year, for example, at the same time as Americans faced a wretched job market and depleted personal finances, Romney decided to knock down one of his mansions–spanning 3,000 square feet and worth an estimated $12 million–so he could replace it with a new mansion that would be four times larger. The “non-living” areas of this new home are themselves twice as large as the actual homes of average Americans. Nor has the campaign trail ruined his appetite for the luxurious domestic life. Check out this collection of high-priced luxury hotels the Romney camp has been staying in during their national campaign. While the rest of America rubs worried hands over housing being the single biggest expense in the average family’s budget, Romney unwinds in numerous palatial dwellings.
Maybe you’re among the millions of Americans that has given up on owning a home because of the unpredictably of the job-market and the uncertainty of maintaining the kind of employment that can pay a mortgage. You’re not alone. Millions of Americans who depended on the auto industry (and the dozens of secondary industries it supports) for employment faced an uncertain economic future a few years back when it appeared major American auto makers would bite the dust. Typically callous to the livelihoods dependent on the industry, “let Detroit go bankrupt” thundered Romney from the Op-Ed section of the New York Times–not that it stops him from taking credit for Detroit’s auto-industry resurgence. The “auto bailout” that Romney so opposed saved up to 1.5 million jobs. The comeback of the American auto industry has become undeniable. By way of comparison, the Wall Street bailout of $700 billion which Romney supported only saved a few bankers.
Perhaps you wish you too had gotten a slice of that $700 billion (now over $7.7 trillion) Wall Street bailout as you make your daily commute, and even the price of gas slowly eats away at your pocket money and savings. As if poisoning our planet isn’t enough, we’re also going broke to do it. While average American families stand to save approximately $500 billion by 2025 with a moderate increase in fuel efficiency standards, according to Consumer Federation of America, Romney is opposed to even the current standards. Maybe the gas expenses for his collection of Cadillacs doesn’t register as a concern for him, but perhaps if the average American had ties to big oil we too could could spend happily on gas knowing that we’re lining the pockets of our friends.
Perhaps your son or daughter are among the more than 2 million Americans who have been shipped to warzones in Afghanistan or Iraq, ostensibly for freedom and obviously for resources (like oil for friends of Romney). Mitt Romney, the millionaire draft dodger, has absolutely no clue how you feel. More than a chickenhawk, Romney’s overt support for the Ryan Budget exemplifies a quiet aloofness to the potential suffering either caused or allayed by the simple moving of numbers, money, a reflection at least in federal budget terms, of limited resources. Either too distant or too greedy to care, Romney supported a budget that would actually cut aid to 1.3 million veterans. It’s a pattern with Romney, reminiscent of his days as governor, when he tried to privatize veterans’ care into a for-profit voucher scheme. Newton Massachusetts Mayor and Veteran Setti Warren explains:
“As a Mayor I know the importance of having to balance a budget and keep spending under control, but I also know you need to set the right priorities when accomplishing these goals. Getting rid of HUD as a way to cut spending while maintaining tax cuts for billionaires is extremely offensive to our military families. As Mayor of the state that Romney formerly governed, I know firsthand how out of touch he has been with Veterans. He tried to cut Veterans’ programs by 11 percent in his first budget proposal and he even proposed turning the VA healthcare system into a voucher program. Bottom line, we need to take care of our Veterans when they come home…”
In all this, perhaps the most frustrating thing as an average American is being so voiceless. Corporate hacks on television are echoed by corporate hacks on radio are echoed by corporate hacks online are transmitted by corporate hacks through satellites world-wide. Against that accumulation of corporate voices, it’s hard to feel as a single individual or even an aware and active community that you can ever truly have your voice heard. Well… Mitt Romney has no idea how any of us feel. Many of those corporate hacks work for Romney’s profit. So as the Limbaughs of the world belittle you and your friends, as the Hannitys of the world conjure cheap excuses for corporate rapine, us Average Jane and Joe Shmoes should remember that the profit from that corporate hate speech quite directly goes into the hands of one very out of touch millionaire named Mitt Romney.
Come November, Romney will for once have to sit and be judged by millions of average folks, instead of the other way around. It’s an almost karmic moment of irony that a child of such unearned privilege seeks to sweet-talk the vote from so many who have had to earn for themselves. At least for a moment in our democracy, us double-jobbers, over-time chasers, working parents, citizen intelligentsia, abandoned youth, colonized urban communities, lip-serviced veterans and economic untouchables–we’ll get to express our opinion on this millionaire. Each person’s vote is their own, but if you give a damn about your condition, you need to realize that Mitt Romney does not.