Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What's wrong with America? This.

If you want to know what went wrong with America over the last generation look at the life story of Mitt Romney (via Slate):
It’s telling that George Romney, Mitt’s father, made around $200,000 through most of the years he ran American Motors Corporation. Doing work that clearly created jobs, the elder Romney paid an effective tax rate that averaged 37 percent. His son made vastly more running a corporate chop shop in an industry that does not appear to create jobs overall. In 2010, Mitt Romney paid an effective tax rate of 13.9 percent on $21.7 million in investment income—around 14 times as much as his father in inflation-adjusted terms. This difference encapsulates the change from corporate titans who lived in the same world as the people who worked for them, in an America with real social mobility, to a financial overclass that makes its own separate rules and has choked off social mobility. The elder Romney [DB: unlike his son] wasn’t embarrassed to explain what he’d done as a businessman or to release his tax returns.
Doesn't that tell it all? Romney Sr. ran for president, in part, on his record as a successful businessman. Only, the business he ran created jobs, instead of destroying them. As a result, he wasn't afraid to talk about his business life. Indeed, George Romney, unlike his son,  had every reason to be proud of the things he did at American Motors. He also paid his fair share of taxes - 37 percent - and not the piddling 13.9 percent his son paid on a vastly larger fortune. George Romney belonged to a world in which middle class people could live comfortably on middle class salaries. His son, and companies like Bain Capital, are part of the reason why that is no longer possible.

NOTE: This little vignette is not meant to disqualify Romney's candidacy. That fact that he was very much a man of his time - and profited handsomely at it - isn't a reason to vote against him. Its not his fault, for example, that laws he didn't create permit him to escape his tax obligations, nor is it his fault that it became unprofitable to hire American factory workers. The title of the post, after all,  isn't "Don't Vote for Romney", but "What's wrong with America? This."

BY THE WAY I am not excited about a second Obama term. I give him a B* on his first term, and I have low hopes for the future as the president has proven woefully ineffective in his dealing with opponents, and entirely unable to deliver on his domestic campaign promises. Also, the Republicans have dedicated themselves to destroying him, above and beyond everything else, making collaboration and progress impossible. People like Mitch "Screw the American people! All that matters is denying Obama a second term" McConnell are a bunch of bad-manned destructive traitors, but neutralizing them is Obama's job and he's failed at it. In fact, the Romney who ran Massachusetts and created the model for ObamaCare might make a good president. I am just not sure he exists anymore. And if he does exist, I am not sure he can function with people like Rush, Sean and Mitch in his corner.

* Here's his full report card:
Defense: A
Foreign relations: A
Domestic relations: C
Handling the political opposition: D

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