Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t said anything about Mitt Romney’s recent gaffe, where he said he didn’t care about the poor. That’s because despite his rather poor choice of words (pun intended), what he was really trying to say was that it is the middle class he really cares about.
The media fascination with gaffes is annoying and trivializes our political discourse.
Case in point — while everyone is piling on about this gaffe, hardly anyone is pointing out the hypocrisy of Romney’s larger point, which is Romney claiming that he cares about the middle class. I mean, seriously?
According to an analysis by the Washington Post:
A quarter of the money amassed by Romney’s campaign and an allied super PAC has come from just 41 people, each of whom has given more than $100,000, according to a Washington Post analysis of disclosure data. Nearly a dozen of the donors have contributed $1 million or more.
Who are these donors? Besides executives who (like Romney) got rich at Bain Capital, there are bankers at Goldman Sachs, and — worst of all — a hedge fund mogul who made money on the housing crash.
These are the people who are supporting Mitt Romney, and to whom he will be beholden if he is elected president. And he claims his real concern is the middle class? Don’t make me laugh.
Indeed, Romney’s policies are designed to help the very richest, like his strong support for lower tax rates for “carried interest”, which is how companies like Bain Capital made most of their money — not from any investment, but from a tax loophole. How bad is this loophole? A recent survey from Bloomberg News showed that “two-thirds of money managers consider the low tax treatment for carried interest unjustified.” And that’s just the people who benefit from the loophole.
Romney supports loopholes that benefit the richest of the rich, while screwing everyone else. If he wants me to believe that he cares about the middle class, he’s going to have to do a lot more than just pretend to care. Perhaps the main significance of his “gaffe” is that maybe it shows that even he doesn’t believe what he is saying.
UPDATE: But let it not be said that Mitt Romney doesn’t care. In 1996, Romney basically shut down Bain Capital and had all the employees help find the missing daughter of one of the partners.