Romney admitting that he doesn’t care about about the poor is hardly shocking. As noted here – THAT WAS NO GAFFE. THAT WAS A BRAND-NEW TALKING POINT.
UPDATE: Well, maybe it’s not a brand-new talking point — Bill Scher notes that Romney said the same thing in October:
In October, I reported here that Romney made this exact same argument while stumping in Iowa: “In our country, the people who need the help most are not the poor, who have a safety net, not the rich, who are doing just fine, but the middle class.”
That seemingly simple sentence is a dog-whisle lite as NMMNB notes. It plays into the Fox News meme that millionaires such as Romney, Rethuglican Texas businessman Harold Simmons( more on further down), right-wing conservative Las Vegas hotel casino owner Sheldon Adelson and other plutocrats are the producers, while the working poor are the leeches. This goes over really well with the conservative base. They don’t want to hear that when an American worker puts in forty hours a week they should be able to afford a decent life and be able to send their kids to a public university or some specialized training at a community college. To realize that is to realize the system is broken. You can work forty plus hours a week in the U.S. and have to choose between paying your utility bill or buying groceries at the end of the month. Working and Poor in the USA
“Our nation, so richly endowed with natural resources and with a capable and industrious population, should be able to devise ways and means of insuring to all our able-bodied men and women, a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.” Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1937
Millions of people in the US work and are still poor. Here are eight points that show why the US needs to dedicate itself to making work pay.
One. How many people work and are still poor?
In 2011, the US Department of Labor reported at least 10 million people worked and were still below the unrealistic official US poverty line, an increase of 1.5 million more than the last time they checked. The US poverty line is $18,530 for a mom and two kids. Since 2007 the numbers of working poor have been increasing. About 7 percent of all workers and 4 percent of all full-time workers earn wages that leave them below the poverty line.
Two. What kinds of jobs do the working poor have?
One third of the working poor, over 3 million people, work in the service industry. Workers in other occupations are also poor: 16 percent of those in farming; 11 percent in construction; and 11 percent in sales.
Three. Which workers are most likely to be working and still poor?
Women workers are more likely to be poor than men. African American and Hispanic workers are about twice as likely to be poor as whites. College graduates have a 2 percent poverty rate while workers without a high school diploma have a poverty rate 10 times higher at 20 percent.
Four. What about benefits for low wage workers?
Ten percent of US workers earn $8.50 an hour or less according to the US Department of Labor. About 12 percent have health care and about 12 percent have retirement benefits. Nearly one in four get paid sick leave and less than half get paid vacation leave.
It should be disturbing to most Americans that Romney and the conservative base are so out of touch with the challenges faced by millions of Americans. Those people who empty the bed pans, repair your roof, balance your tires, ring up your gas purchase certainly work harder day to day than Mitt, or Newt or the millionaires who contribute to their PACs. Remember the old Eddie Murphy movie Trading Places. It was a comic take on some crafty millionaires who experimented with trading their elitist employee with a con-artist they find on the street. The dirty little secret of the movie and the real life plutocrats like Mitt, is that they can easily be replaced. For every Romney there are hundred of thousands of Americans whose labors create the capital and wealth of the Romneys, the Koch brothers, the Sheldon Adelsons. If they disappeared tomorrow the nation would survive just fine. If American labor disappears tomorrow, we’re all screwed.
Romney’s claim not to care is also supposedly mitigated by his assertion that we have a safety net for the poor. The problem with that is Romney as well as all the Rethuglican candidates is that he plans to do as much as possible to dismantle that safety net, CBPP Report – Romney’s own budget proposals would tear gaping holes in the safety net and damage it severely
The Romney budget proposals would make massive cuts in safety-net programs. For starters, he has embraced the budget that House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan proposed last year, which would make the deepest cuts in assistance for low-income Americans in modern U.S. history. The Ryan budget would convert Medicaid to a block grant and cut its funding by 49 percent by 2030 below currently scheduled levels, a proposal that Governor Romney has specifically defended. It would also convert SNAP (formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) to a block grant and cut its funding by $127 billion (or almost 20 percent) over the next decade. These cuts, combined with deep cuts in Pell Grants, low-income housing assistance, and other programs for low-income people, would total a stunning $2.9 trillion over the next decade. The Ryan budget would get nearly two-thirds of its savings over the next ten years by cutting programs targeted on people with low or modest incomes, even though those programs account for only about one-fifth of the budget, making it the most regressive budget plan that a chamber of Congress has ever passed.
And the Romney proposals go farther than Rep. Ryan’s — they would lead to even deeper cuts in basic safety-net programs for the poor than the Ryan budget would. That’s because Governor Romney has proposed to: 1) shrink federal spending to 20 percent of GDP for 2016 and all subsequent years, which is a bit below what federal spending would fall to over the next two decades under Chairman Ryan’s budget; 2) increase defense spending to 4 percent of GDP, a higher level of spending than it would reach under the Ryan budget; 3) permanently extend President Bush’s tax cuts; 4) enact new tax cuts on top of them, which the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center estimates would lose an additional $180 billion a year by 2015; and 5) require that the federal budget be balanced.
Governor Romney hasn’t outlined cuts in specific programs. But if policymakers exempted Social Security, as he has suggested, they would have to cut all other nondefense programs — including safety-net programs for the poor — by an average of 24 percent in 2016 and 35 percent in 2021 just to reach Governor Romney’s first four goals.
This is the Pottersville plan. Keep the poor so poor they have no chance of digging themselves or their children out of poverty. Part of this has to do with the psychology of conservatism. They believe that those who make lots of money are doing so not because of education, specialized training or being born into wealth; they believe that wealth automatically follows virtue. If you’re not wealthy that means you are not virtuous that you deserve your lot in life. This weird world view is directly descended from the Puritans. It forms a viscous loop of justification for regressive economic policies. While used mostly as a racist or ethnocentric dog whistle he works well for white southern males with only a high school level education. In the tradition of What’s the Matter With Kansas, these white males with modest incomes vote for policies that are counter to their rational self-interests because they are obsessed that someone is going to use food stamps to buy a candy bar or Medicaid to have a wart removed. If they never seem to make economic progress in their lives they just blame the fairy tale Marxist Liberal Kenyan elitists, not the actual policies that create the economic conditions that hold them back.
And about those plutocrats. Sure Democrats have a few big donors that is hardly a gotcha when big donors not only dominate the Republican presidential primaries, they will also dominate the general election. As bad as big money has been in past elections – we got a sample of it with the election of corporate cronies like Florida’s Rick Scott and Wisconsin ‘s Scott Walker, 2012 will be the first full tilt plutocratic election, With restrictions gone, ‘1 percenters’ dish millions, alter race for White House
Forget about the poor, the unemployed and the sinking middle class participating in the democratic process.
The race for the presidency is increasingly being bankrolled by “1 percenters” — those among the richest of Americans.
Year-end campaign finance reports show that many of the nation’s wealthiest individuals and their companies have written huge checks to Republican and Democratic “super committees” that are exempt from the usual $5,000 campaign donation limits.
Texas businessman Harold Simmons and his Contran Corp. have donated $7.5 million to two GOP committees. Las Vegas hotel casino owner Sheldon Adelson and his family have poured more than $10 million into a so-called super political action committee backing Newt Gingrich. Filmmaker Steven Spielberg gave $100,000 to one of several committees aiding Obama.
Partly as a result of the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling that even corporations enjoy the right to free political speech, a 2002 congressional overhaul that was supposed to rid big money from national politics is fast becoming a distant memory. Not only are wealthy Americans serving as financial angels to presidential candidates, but companies also have begun to write multimillion-dollar checks, and some may be doing so secretly.
American Crossroads, a conservative super PAC founded by former Bush White House political guru Karl Rove, has raised $51 million to date, including $33 million garnered by a nonprofit arm that isn’t required to disclose its donors. The groups have set a goal of collecting another $200 million to raise Republican prospects in next year’s presidential and congressional elections.
Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Al Franken of Minnesota and Chuck Schumer have called on Congress to at least pass legislation requiring better disclosure. because the conservative minority in the Senate can block any legislation they don’t like, this modest attempt at disclosure is going no where. So we can assume the average conservative could care less if foreign millionaires like Rupert Murdoch or a Saudi prince that is part owner of Fox parent company News Corp., or any other foreign interests can legally and secretly funnel money into organizations created overnight, to influence the outcome of U.S. elections. How is it that conservatives can look at themselves in the mirror and say without irony that they are patriots.
Ann Coulter has always wanted to be relevant. Give her credit for continuing to try – It’s only OK if a state does it
No one ever accused Ann Coulter of consistency or intellectual maturity, but even then this is really something:
Ann Coulter offered a surprising defense of Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts health care law — affectionately dubbed ‘Romneycare’ — on Wednesday.
In a blog post featured on her website, entitled “Three Cheers For Romneycare!”, she explains, “If only the Democrats had decided to socialize the food industry or housing, Romneycare would probably still be viewed as a massive triumph for conservative free-market principles — as it was at the time…
In her post, Coulter lays out what she sees as a basic distinction between the Massachusetts law and the federal law. “One difference between the health care bills is that Romneycare is constitutional and Obamacare is not,” writes Coulter.
Coulter does conveniently gloss over the fact that Romneycare was based on a proposal endorsed by the far Right Heritage Foundation that envisioned it as a nationwide goal.
– Heritage On Romney’s Individual Mandate: “Not an unreasonable position, and one that is clearly consistent with conservative values.” [Heritage, 1/28/06]
– Heritage On President Obama’s Individual Mandate: “Both unprecedented and unconstitutional.” [Heritage, 12/9/09]
– Heritage On Romney’s Insurance Exchange: An “innovative mechanism to promote real consumer choice.” [Heritage, 4/20/06]
– Heritage On President Obama’s Insurance Exchange: Creates a “de facto public option” by “grow[ing]” government control over healthcare.” [Heritage, 3/30/10]
Don’t cry for Ann, she can still afford to hang out at those South Miami Beach nightclubs and drink imported champagne.
Coulter is a tenther – she believes your local and state government can make all the laws in the world to restrict individual liberty or not make laws to protect you, from say corporations dumping cancer causing toxins into your water supply. Its all about some weird worship of geography,
The remarkable thing about tentherism is that while it is clearly driven by wingnuts who don’t want the federal goverment denying them the “right” to work 9-year-olds for $2 an hour while segregating the schools, in theory it is completely devoid of any particular ideology beyond the notion that each State can run its affairs pretty much however it pleases. What Coulter is saying here is that she doesn’t object to the Affordable Care Act in principle, beyond the notion that such things should be enacted solely at a State rather than Federal level. For daring to implement at a national level what Romney did at a State level, President Obama is an overweaning Socialist Dictator.
Most normal people would say that’s crazy. Things like child labor laws and healthcare mandates are either a good idea or they’re not. Some people passionately oppose them, while some passionately support them. Generally speaking, they either work for everyone with minor nuances and exceptions, or they work for almost no one. That’s basic Kantian ethics….
Update: It turns out that in October of 2011 Coulter said that RomneyCare “shows the failure of even statewide universal care.”