NEW YORK — Writing so eloquently on Christmas Day, Thomas B. Edsall, of Columbia University and the The New York Times, elegantly eviscerates the overblown, right-wing, "anti-entitlement" rhetoric of Mitt Romney's December 19 USA Today op-ed. Edsall argues: "Mitt Romney wants to stigmatize most “safety net” spending – the array of social insurance programs from Medicare to food stamps to unemployment compensation to free school lunches — as a form of welfare that is 'cultivating government dependence.'"
Romney's USA TODAY screed is no different than most of the Republican
rhetoric promoted over last five decades---as especially well-documented in Edsall's "Chain Reaction: The Impact of Race, Rights, and Taxes on American Politics" (Norton, 1992).
But, what makes Romney's thinly veiled racism and classism so horribly galling is that he is the scion of
"opportunity" he did not create. The product of great fortune, a private
education (financed not by his own hard work or student loans, but by
his father); telegenic good looks; and the social and political connections of his family, Romney has no frame of reference for what it is like to
struggle to gain "opportunity" in our society. If every child in America
was born with a multimillion-dollar trust fund, perhaps we could
discuss "how" they either make the most of their "opportunity" or fall
back on the "entitlement" of their trust funds.
Shame on Romney for playing the same old Republican game
of demonizing the less-fortunate to leverage the fears and frustrations
of the same white middle class whose jobs they continue to eliminate
through outsourcing, off-shoring, technology, and greed, while he and his fellows enjoy the full advantages of "entitlement" and the good fortune their "opportunities" bring.
Mitt Romney has NEVER been a net "job creator." Nor, has he been an
opportunity builder (for anyone other than his fellow scions of great
If Romney wants to be taken seriously, he needs to come clean on who he really is, and stop hiding the sources of his growing wealth. He needs to reveal that depth and breadth of opportunity extended to him not because of what he has accomplished, but because of the "opportunities" he has been given. Only then, should he feel free to criticize an American safety net created in reaction to a depression caused, in large part, by generations of greed; and fraying by the moment, due to the ignorance and insensitivity of his ilk. The "Mitt" Romneys of this world are "opportunity destroyers," benefiting from the economic, social, and educational advantages proffered to them at birth. Some, make the most of them, others do not. But, few of us ever experienced anything close to the "opportunities" enjoyed in being born to the Romney family, the Walton family, the Koch family, or the Lauder family.