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Romney’s 47% and Why The Rich Are Meant To Be Rich

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Entitlement Cuts Both Ways

I’ve been puzzling over Romney’s comment that 47% of the country is not paying taxes, dependent on the government and freeloading (my paraphrase). Everybody from Jon Stewart to local pundits have been breaking it down and taking due umbrage. Everybody except Fox News, of course.

A thoughtful New Yorker piece (“Why Do America’s Super-Rich Feel Victimized by Obama?”) gives more background on Romney’s comment. It turns out the super-rich, like Leon Cooperman (billionaire founder of the Omega Advisor hedge fund), are feeling unappreciated if not vilified by Obama. They feel they are the targets of increasing class warfare and they are not going to take it anymore. But the piece by Chrystia Freeland also argues the paradox that the super-rich have done well under Obama’s administration, for example, with “ninety three percent of the gains during the 2009-2010 recovery went to the top one percent of earners.”

So—tell me again—how are Romney and his rich friends victims?

It turns out the supposed sense of entitlement works both ways. The super-rich accuse the 47% of freeloading and expecting the system to supply all their wants. But the super-rich themselves have learned to take advantage of the system to live extraordinarily well—something perhaps they also feel entitled to.

Romney’s comment shows me again why no one candidate or party fits fully within the rubric of “Christian.” We’ve painted compassion for the poor with the broad brush of entitlement and freeloading while failing to examine why and how the system rewards those who have assembled it. And then we douse the whole subject with an indignant tone.

We need a new way of talking.

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Written by kirkistan

October 5, 2012 at 9:03 am

Posted in curiosities

Tagged with , ,

3 Responses

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  1. Hi Kirk. I enjoy reading your blog but don’t usually comment 🙂

    Politics is a power struggle. This basic fact limits the types of discussion that can take place and the tone that is used.

    ” the paradox that the super-rich have done well under Obama’s administration, for example, with “ninety three percent of the gains during the 2009-2010 recovery went to the top one percent of earners.” ”

    This isn’t a paradox, unfortunately, but an intentional reality. Look at how Obama has handled the financial sector in the wake of a huge crash caused by fraud. Look at his Treasury Secretary. Look at how he “backtracked” on allowing lobbyists into his administration as full-time advisers. There are plenty of elites willing to sponsor Obama and benefit from inside connections. It happened in 2008 and it will happen again (is happening again). Any populism that Obama claims is merely a gloss over his real actions.

    (full disclosure–not voting for Obama or Romney this year)

    Ken Hood Jr. (@silent0)

    October 5, 2012 at 9:45 am

    • Ken, thanks for reading and thanks for commenting. The paradox in the New Yorker article was that the super-rich were complaining even as they got more super-rich. It’s been just lately that I’ve come to understand more detail about how the system works in the favor of some, no matter what. I agree with your last sentence: maybe any populism in Washington is always a thin veneer.

      kirkistan

      October 5, 2012 at 11:01 am

  2. […] “That 47% […]


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