I am sometimes puzzled and sometimes alarmed by the actions and statements of Mitt Romney. While he is sometimes considered thoughtless, I suspect there is a lot of thought and perhaps calculation behind what he says.
The latest example were the comments made on May 17, at a Boca Raton Florida fundraiser, and recently released online by Mother Jones magazine. His statements 47% of Americans don’t pay income taxes, and will vote for Obama, because President Obama will continue the culture of entitlement.
Most of us throughout our lives receive some government benefits. Right now my greatest source of income is Social Security. I am a Medicare beneficiary. I don’t consider myself a victim.
I suspect there are many Republicans who are like me, beneficiaries of social Security and Medicare who don’t consider themselves victims.
I am most concerned about the statements about the people who will vote for President Obama are people who don’t take responsibility for their own lives. Admittedly there are and probably always will be some people who are unable or unwilling to take responsibility for their actions. However, most of us whether we are in the Democratic party or not, whether we have been successful in business or not, whether we were raised in wealthy families or not do take responsibility for our lives, our finances and our taxes.
Lets look at a couple of facts. One it is more difficult for young people today to make it on their own. The costs of education, especially advanced professional education have become extremely high. At the same time, health care has become very expensive and workers have been expected to pay for more of the premium expense. Wages have stagnated. This stagnation has come at a time when business profits are high.
The inequality between the rich and the middle class has grown to a dangerous degree. So responsibility is important, effort is important, but the path to the middle class and to wealth is a very difficult one.
The wealthy have benefitted from the government as well. Roads, bridges, trains and airplanes have served the wealthy as well as the poor and the middle class and in some cases, more so. All of us have been served by the military, the police, the schools, and the fire department, among the many other services that the government has provided. Wealthy and poor we have all benefitted, perhaps the poor have benefitted less than the average.
When we look at some discrepancy between what a person says and what a person does, the surest tactic is to believe the acts. This is an issue for Governor Romney. He says that he will abolish the Affordable Care Act, but he signed a very similar act in Massachusetts. He says he wants to help the middle class but he wants to provide more tax reductions for the wealthy. He says he wants to balance the budget and eliminate the deficit, but he wants to decrease revenue for the wealthy, and restrict payments to medicaid and medicare.
So what will Governor Romney do if he should become President? My guess is that he would not repeal the Affordable Care Act, however much he would like to. (I don’t know that the President has the power to unilaterally repeal an act). He would protect the money of the wealthy, which is something that he has done in his own life. He protects his own wealth with off shore accounts and paying a low rate of taxes on his income. I believe he would protect the wealth of other wealthy Americans.
The belief in wealth is rooted in part in Governor Romney’s faith. There is an informative article in the August edition of The New Yorker about the Mormon Religion. In this article, Mr Gopnic describes the belief that rich people get rich by being good, the riches are a sign of their virtue, and therefore they should be allowed to rule. (Description taken from I, Nephri, Mormonism and its meanings; The New Yorker, August 13 and 20, 2012, article by Adam Gopnik.) For the Mormon Faith, Romney’s riches are an indicator of his virtue, and support his right to rule. Governor Romney who appears to be deeply rooted in the Mormon Faith, is comfortable with his own virtue, and gives little attention or acknowledgment to the help and support that he received as he grew up.
Governor Romney has been descried as personally generous but his giving has apparently been within the structure and function of the church. I wonder if he is aware of the great need for society to provide the needs of those of us who are not Mormons: specifically the need for a place to live, food, and health care. Perhaps it is the responsibility of government to provide some basic services to those who cannot provide them for themselves, because of job loss, disability, lack of education, or opportunity.
Are they entitled to those things? If not, why not?