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Democracy, Meritocracy, and Aristocracy

© Jen Sorensen

Mitt Romney keeps trying to paint Obama as a Soviet-style socialist, which is clearly false. Earlier this month, he declared:

[Obama] seeks to replace our merit-based society with an entitlement society. In an entitlement society, everyone receives the same or similar rewards, regardless of education, effort and willingness to take risk. That which is earned by some is redistributed to the others. And the only people to enjoy truly disproportionate rewards are the people who do the redistributing — the government.

Entitlement societies are praised in academic circles, far removed from the reality of a competitive world. Opportunity is replaced by the certainty that everyone in an entitlement society will enjoy nearly the same rewards. But there is another certainty: they will be poor.

In an entitlement society, the invigorating pursuit of happiness is replaced by the deadening reality that there is no prospect of a better tomorrow.

What makes this statement so hypocritical is that Romney claims that what he is trying to preserve opportunity and meritocracy, where education, effort, and willingness to take risk is rewarded. The reality is that Republicans have spent the last 30 years destroying opportunity and meritocracy and replacing it with an American aristocracy where the rich get their risks socialized. Where wages for the middle class have fallen even as corporate profits increased, and where the opportunity for someone poor to work hard and move themselves into the middle class has plummeted. The only entitlement society we actually have is corporate executives insisting they are entitled to their extravagant bonuses even as their companies fail and suck off the government teat.

Indeed, would Mitt be rich and running for president today if his father had not been George Romney, the CEO of American Motors and Governor of Michigan? It is interesting to note that neither American Motors nor the state of Michigan did very well at all in the end, but that didn’t stop either Romney from benefiting greatly.



  1. ebdoug wrote:

    Preaching to the choir: If the menial jobs are sent to China, then there are no jobs at the lower levels here. The rich have to support the less fortunate. I am one with a trust fund to keep me going in my old age. My ancesters raped the land to get oil. All of us so fortunate have to help the less fortunate. I helped by being a nurse “not the done thing” in the debutante circle. And keeping the price as low as possible for the tax returns I did. No accolades needed. I would feel guilty from the dirty money I live on that I inherited, like Romney’s sons.
    Though I do feel that if Perry has lots of security paid for by tax payers, it creates jobs. Romney lays them off, Perry provides jobs to protect him.
    I had two tax clients who worked as garbage men. When the company was sold, the owner paid out all the profit to his employees. His garbage men. Wealth redistribution.

    Wednesday, December 28, 2011 at 11:56 am | Permalink
  2. Arthanyel wrote:

    All the conservatrolls (and Romney) that think Obama is a socialist simply do not understand what the word means. Obama (and the Democrats, with the exception of Bernie Sanders) aren’t socialists at all.

    Asking that everyone has a fair chance to succeed isn’t socialism. And asking that those that have gamed the system to reward themselves at everyone else’s expense should pay their fair share isn’t communism.

    Wednesday, December 28, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Permalink
  3. Iron Knee wrote:

    Actually, Sanders is not a Democrat, he is an independent, although he does tend to caucus with the Democrats (I’m just trying to imagine him caucusing with the Republicans!)

    Wednesday, December 28, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Permalink
  4. anon wrote:

    Congress Votes to Outsource Presidency

    Washington, DC — Congress today announced that the office of President of the United States of America will be outsourced to India as of February 1, 2012. The move is being made in order to save the President’s $500,000 yearly salary, and also a record $521 billion in deficit expenditures and related overhead that his office has incurred during the last 5 years. It is anticipated that $231 billion can be saved to the end of the President’s term. “We believe this is a wise financial move. The cost savings are huge,” stated Congressman Thomas Reynolds (R-WA). “We cannot remain competitive on the world stage with the current level of cash outlay,” Reynolds noted.

    President Obama was informed by e-mail this morning of his termination. Preparations for the job move have been underway for some time.

    Gurvinder Singh of Indus Teleservices, Mumbai , India will assume the office of President as of March 1, 2012. Mr. Singh was born in the United States while his Indian parents were vacationing at Niagara Falls, NY, thus making him eligible for the position. He will receive a salary of $320 (USD) a month, but no health coverage or other benefits.

    It is believed that Mr. Singh will be able to handle his job responsibilities without a support staff. Due to the time difference between the US and India, he will be working primarily at night. “Working nights will allow me to keep my day job at the Dell Computer call center,” stated Mr. Singh in an exclusive interview. “I am excited about this position. I always hoped I would be President.” A Congressional spokesperson noted that while Mr. Singh may not be fully aware of all the issues involved in the office of President, this should not be a problem as President Bush had never been familiar with the issues either.

    Mr. Singh will rely upon a script tree that will enable him to respond effectively to most topics of concern. Using these canned responses, he can address common concerns without having to understand the underlying issue at all. “We know these scripting tools work,” stated the spokesperson. “President Obama has used them successfully for years, with the result that some people actually thought he knew what he was talking about.”

    Obama will receive health coverage, expenses, and salary until his final day of employment. Following a two-week waiting period, he will be eligible for $140 a week unemployment for 26 weeks. Unfortunately he will not be eligible for Medicaid, as his unemployment benefits will exceed the allowed limit.

    Mr. Bush has been provided with the outplacement services of Manpower, Inc. to help him write a resume and prepare for his upcoming job transition. According to Manpower, President Obama may have difficulties in securing a new position due to a lack of any successful work experience during his lifetime. A greeter position at Wal-Mart was suggested due to Bush’s extensive experience at shaking hands, as well as his special smile.

    Wednesday, December 28, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Permalink
  5. Iron Knee wrote:

    Please, if you are going to rewrite a Bush joke to apply to Obama, at least change all the names! It is because of just this kind of shoddy workmanship that the US is in such a pickle.

    Wednesday, December 28, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Permalink
  6. Dan wrote:

    If I’m not wrong the President makes a cool million per year. Sanders is a Socialist, but not in the “classic” sense. There is another adjective in there somewhere… Market Socialist? As for Rick Perry, he is running ads in Iowa claiming that he will make Congress “part time” after he “cuts their pay in half.” I can’t make something like that up! So if elected he promises to ignore the very Constitution he will swear on the Bible to defend. Newt is saying he will arrest judges, he seems to think that BS will fly in Iowa because of the 3 voted out because of same sex marriage. Next week can’t come too soon! Good luck non-Iowas, you turn is coming, exercise your mute button finger.

    Wednesday, December 28, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Permalink
  7. Iron Knee wrote:

    Sanders calls himself a “democratic socialist“.

    The president’s salary is $400,000/year, but I’m sure Obama makes more than that from his books.

    Wednesday, December 28, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Permalink
  8. ebdoug wrote:

    Obama’s salary is as you said $400K. He actually made 395K in 2010. And $1,300,000 from his self employment. (books he wrote before 2009) I’m guess he eschewed some of his salary when he thought what he was doing wasn’t government work.

    Thursday, December 29, 2011 at 6:35 am | Permalink
  9. ebdoug wrote:

    And if you look at the return, you can see there is no phase out of person exemptions and no phase out on deductions. This is the tax cut Congress voted for the rich starting with the 2011 Returns, and no one objected.

    Thursday, December 29, 2011 at 6:42 am | Permalink