NEW YORK — In what seems like a coup for Mitt Romney's publicity team, The New York Times argues that, despite his fortune, Mitt Romney is really a very frugal, old-school conservative. The Times surmises that Mitt's personal prudence was passed down by his father, George—a former presidential candidate, Michigan governor, and American Motors president—whose own father was bankrupted during the Great Depression.
It's a terrific piece, framing Romney's fortune-building at Bain Capital as a function of his drive to win, rather than a desire to accumulate massive wealth. Detailing myriad ways in which Romney's personal thrift conflicts with his wife's interest in collecting multimillion-dollar homes and thoroughbred horses, the piece provides a perfect counterpoint to the notoriously profligate spending habits of GOP presidential frontrunner Newt Gingrich.
WEALTHY DOES NOT ALWAYS EQUAL ‘JOB CREATORS’
Here at The Complainer, we see a deeper story, however, one which refutes the GOP's notions that the 1-percenters, particularly the .1-percenters are all "job creators." At nearly every turn in the Times' tome, the Romney's are shown as people who rather do the work themselves instead of spending the money to hire others; people whose very admirable devotion to instilling a solid work ethic in their own family, may have cost others, many others, jobs which might have supported countless working class families.
We can't begrudge the Romney's for trying to live within their means, but they certainly could have hired a moving company, rather than personally renting a U-haul to transport their effects from one multimillion-dollar vacation home to another. Nor can we chide Mr. Romney for commuting to his job at Bain Capital in a "Chevrolet Caprice station wagon with red vinyl seats and a banged-up front end," when he easily could have afforded a new car—and a driver. And, its tough to criticize Mitt's father, George, for refusing to buy him a car in high school, even though he was chairman of American Motors; but buying him one might have helped American Motors save at least some part of someone's employment. Finally, it would be wrong of us to berate Mitt for holding down a high school job as security guard at an automobile plant, or for doing countless household maintenance tasks ranging from raking leaves to shoveling snow; however, the Romney's certainly could have afforded a garden service and a family man might have liked those extra hours at the Chrysler plant.
No. Instilling a work ethic in one's family is perfectly good parenting, even for the supremely prosperous.
BUT, we can chide the GOP for arguing that the wealthy are all "job creators." From Mr. Romney's "creative destruction" of jobs during his tenure at Bain Capital to his job high school employment, to his current penchant for frugality, Mitt Romney has taken jobs away from the less fortunate and proved our case that the wealthiest American's don't necessarily create more jobs than they eliminate.
© 2011 by The Complainer