An old photograph of Mitt Romney has surfaced and I understand why people are disgusted by it. From 1966, it shows the GOP presidential front-runner joining a group of students at Stanford University in a counter-protest of anti-war demonstrators. Romney supported the expansion of the Vietnam War before he avoided the draft on the grounds that he was a Mormon missionary. Like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, Romney is a rich man who loves war as long as someone else is dying.
Romney wouldn't have been able to dodge the draft if it weren't for the privileges of the American class system.
The dominant myth of this country is that we're all equal even when some of us are more clearly equal than others. It hardly needs mentioning that if you're the son of a governor, who was himself a corporate executive, you have friends in high places far away from Indo-China. Most of those 58,000 working-class soldiers killed in Vietnam did not.
Yet Romney is able to say with a straight face that President Obama's economic policies plainly incite class warfare.
Just before he won the Iowa caucuses last week, he told an audience that Obama aims to "substitute envy for ambition and poison the American spirit by pitting one American against another and engaging in class warfare."
I know why you're sucking on your teeth. All the ambition in the world isn't going to help when you're out of work or overworked or upside-down on your home mortgage.
The idea of unity is great, too, but it's hard to take from a former Wall Street guy like Romney. If deregulation and low corporate taxes result in the rest of us fighting over crumbs, well, that's the free market for you. But when the rest of us start wondering why corporations aren't paying their fair share, well, that's getting downright divisive.
Obama's economic policies, no matter where you stand politically, successfully saved capitalism. There was enough panic in the air that he could have nationalized the banks, like they did in Europe, Iceland and Great Britain, but he didn't. He could have made the stimulus three times as big as it was (as some passionately urged him to do), but he didn't. If he were truly a socialist, he'd push for an 83 percent tax on the highest earners, which, according to a new study, wouldn't hurt them a bit. If he were truly a socialist, he'd at least attempt to argue that setting such a rate is justifiable, because individual incomes above $1 million a year is just greed. But Obama would never, ever do that, because he's an old-fashioned Reaganite neoliberal.
Romney has a plan for establishing a level playing field from which average Americans, armed with a work ethic and determination, can reach for the stars.
According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, Romney's $6.6 trillion tax plan would save the middle class an average of $1,400 while saving the 1 percent an average of $171,000. Before you say, "Well, the rich earn more and so they're saving more," consider this: Romney's plan adds $600 billion to the deficit in 2015. Who's going to pay? When it comes for shared sacrifice, some people clearly end up sharing more than others.
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