Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Let's Hear It From All "the little people"

Leona Helmsley mug shot
Leona Helmsley, one of those rich, arrogant American plutocrats that we love to hate, once said to a housekeeper at her hotel (who remarked that she must pay a lot of taxes): "We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes..." Helmsley eventually was imprisoned for "federal tax evasion" in 1992.  People like Leona Helmsley follow in the tradition of arrogant wealth that looks with disdain upon the rest of us "little people".  Of course, they may say such remarks because they have no inkling about our lives and are "out of touch" with ordinary people.  Marie Antoinette, the French Queen, gained historical notoriety for an infamous remark attributed to her as the hungry poor rioted outside her palace gates demanding bread.  She asked what were the people doing there? And when told the people were asking for bread, she answered: "If they have no bread, let them eat cake" (cake was an alternative to bread and, in her mind, the people could just substitute cake for their lack of bread.)

Marie Antoinette

Now we have a Republican Party candidate for President who lacks empathy for us "little people." The multi-millionaire Mitt Romney appears "out of touch" with average Americans on the economy. When talking to students at Otterbein University in Ohio last April, GOP candidate Mitt Romney told a story about a friend of his who borrowed $25,000 from his parents and started a successful business.  He told the students that they, too, could ask their parents for a loan. 

Students graduating from college in 2012 average almost $25,000 in student loan debt and very few have parents capable of providing another $25,000 in a loan to their already highly indebted son or daughter. Romney's running mate proposed in his "Ryan Budget" to cut billions from Pell Grants, the federal funding available to low income undergraduate college students.  Such remarks can be attributed to Mitt just being "out of touch" with the rest of us who are struggling to make ends meet and keep hold of the American Dream to reach at least Middle Class status.  Now comes the revelation that Mitt consciously doesn't give a damn about "the little people",  at least 47% of the American population. Romney believes that nearly half of America isn't worth his attention because they are people who don't take "personal responsibility and care for their lives" and "pay no income tax".  Mitt's disdain for average Americans was caught on a secret video released by Mother Jones Magazine yesterday.  As quoted at Bloomberg.com today:

On the tape, Romney explains that his electoral strategy involves writing off nearly half the country as unmoveable Obama voters. As Romney explains, 47 percent of Americans "believe that they are victims." He laments: "I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

So what's the upshot? "My job is not to worry about those people," he says. He also notes, describing President Obama's base, "These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax."

Even Republican commentators were outraged at the stupidity and callousness of Romney's remarks. David Brooks attributed Romney's point of view that of the country club set that don't know much about how the rest of us live:
 This comment suggests a few things. First, it suggests that he really doesn’t know much about the country he inhabits. Who are these freeloaders? Is it the Iraq war veteran who goes to the V.A.? Is it the student getting a loan to go to college? Is it the retiree on Social Security or Medicare? It suggests that Romney doesn’t know much about the culture of America. Yes, the entitlement state has expanded, but America remains one of the hardest-working nations on earth. Americans work longer hours than just about anyone else. Americans believe in work more than almost any other people.
William Kristol of The Weekly Standard went even farther, asking that Romney vacate his nomination in favor of a Ryan-Rubio ticket  because of his "arrogant and stupid remarks".

The Obama campaign was quick to respond to Romney's remarks, pointing out that the 47% that Romney refers to do indeed pay taxes and are not parasites living off the federal government:

Not only do the vast majority of these Americans pay a significant percentage of their income in taxes—whether they are federal payroll taxes, property taxes, sales taxes or other state and local taxes—but they often pay an even higher share of their income in these taxes than wealthier families. In fact, well over half—61%—are workers who actually pay federal payroll taxes, which can include military families, cops, firefighters, and teachers. And an overwhelming majority of the Americans Romney dismisses are seniors, working families, students, or people with disabilities.

Here are a few examples of Americans who—according to Mitt Romney—don’t pay enough in taxes:

U.S. soldiers in combat

U.S. soldiers’ pay while in a combat zone is not subject to federal income tax.


A firefighter with the average wage of $45,000 with a stay-at-home spouse and two kids.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeants

An Air Force military police staff sergeant with 8 years of service—who earns basic pay of $34,723—with a spouse earning $10,000 through part-time work and at least two kids.


A steelworker making the average wage of $45,000 with a stay-at-home spouse and two kids.

Security Guards

A security guard making the average wage of $23,900 married to a bank teller making an average wage of $24,500, with three kids.

High School Teachers

A high school teacher making the average wage of $54,000 who is the primary source of income and has at least three kids.

Police Officers

A New Mexico patrolman with a starting salary of $39,000 married to a part-time child care worker with at least two kids.

Clergy Members

A clergy member whose income of $44,140 is the primary source of income in a family with a spouse and two kids.

I have previously addressed why I think that Mitt Romney unsuitable for President in my previous post here and here.  Now it's time that "the little people" make their voice heard on November 6th. 


  1. Well really. Or as famous cultural analyst Paris Hilton once said "There is no class war. We've already won."

  2. One of the more starkly partison blogs I have read....you mind seems to filled with Democratic talking points and devoid of fairness...

  3. Well, no one has ever accused me of not supporting my President.