Sunday, October 7, 2012

Panhandlers for Romney

Mitt Romney will give you money. You don't even have to ask. If he sees you on the street and your hand is outstretched, he will put cash into it. He said so himself. Watch this clip of a 2002 Massachusetts gubernatorial debate. About 50 minutes in, he'll tell you about his one-man campaign of charitable giving.

If you don't feel like looking at his smirky face any more, here's the quote: "I made a commitment when I was 19 years old that I would not pass a person with their hand out without putting money in that hand. This is something I continue to do."

Mind you, this was 10 years ago, before Romney became a household name... specifically, that dark part of your household under the sink, or wherever your toxic cleaning products and insecticides are stored. And despite the humblebragging, he still managed to show his true colors by whining that he couldn't deduct his charitable donations on his state income tax returns.

What I found intriguing was that Jill Stein was talking about income disparity, "the one percent" of elites hoarding all the wealth, the class war, and a living wage a whole decade ago, long before the Crash of '08 and the Occupy movement brought the topics into the national lexicon.

Stein, the current Green Party candidate for president (and three other women candidates) were pitted against Romney, who ultimately won the office. I wanted to watch the clip, because the private corporatized Commission of Presidential Debates of course has barred her and other candidates from participation. The state debate was lively, yet civil, and extremely well-moderated. More than two people on the stage tends to discourage any one person from being rude and boorish, lest the incipient bully in turn become the bullied.

Meanwhile, if you're short on cash you have only one more month to head for the Romney rope lines. Stretch out your hands, palms up. Stretch early, stretch often.


Patricia said...

Lol @ "humblebragging" What a great word! I was really disappointed we couldn't hear from Jill Stein. I really don't want to watch any of the debates, since it's pretty apparent that we can only watch what MSM wants us too watch.

Unknown said...

If Mitt's policies are enacted there will be plenty more people begging on the streets. The kind of income distribution he likes
Is Jill Stein on the ballot in Ohio, do you know?

Karen Garcia said...

Jill Stein is on the ballot in every state except Kansas, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming. That is 85% of the states. I am kind of surprised about Vermont!

Valerie said...

@Unknown , Mittens isn't going to win so don't waste your energy getting yourself all worked up. You and your fellow Obama supporters were first worked up over Michele Bachman, then Newt Gingrich and then Herman Cain. Now that the Republican nominee is Mitt Romney, you are all worked up about that.

This is all such a show. Obama is their man. He has broken every promise he made to his base and given in to the corporate powers that have bought this government. They have thrown Mittens out at us so that Obama is acceptable in comparison to people who don't want to face the reality that Obama has sold this country down the river more effectively than any Republican could.

Throw away your vote on a corporate hack just because he wears the Democratic label if you want, but don't try the bogeyman argument here. We know too much about who the Lesser or Greater of Two Evils really is.

Pearl said...

A Wonderful response by you to Krugman's column, Truth About Jobs. Please add it to our comments section for others to see. I was not happy with his report on many levels. His support of the way the statistics are derived, has been attacked by people familiar with the methodology which allows for incorrect results and stating broadly that the situation is actually improving does not ring true for me. Time will tell.

Karen Garcia said...

Thanks, Pearl. Here 'tis:

As we are alternately amused and outraged by the GOP's panic-stricken writhing over the jobs stats, it's also maddening that the whole focus is on how the numbers are affecting the horserace. We haven’t heard a single word about the desperate need for a living wage law. The war on unionized labor continues unabated.

Many of the gains have been in the low-paying health care, service and warehousing sectors. Many of the jobs are part-time. Fabulously wealthy tax-avoiders are hiring more cleaners, chefs, personal assistants, packing clerks and the like. The average CEO still earns 380 times the salary of the average worker.

No matter who wins this election, all signs point to a bipartisan agreement raising the retirement age and cutting cost of living increases for Social Security recipients. The lucky duckies who mow the lawns, empty the bedpans and ship the iPads will now work until they drop. This is the new normal. We may be crawling out of our hole, but we’re emerging from it with our quality of life terribly diminished, our very lives foreshortened.

The extreme wealth inequality and the criminal behavior of the financial class that caused the crisis in the first place have not been rectified. The Galts and the Gekkos are still running wild and free. The top 1% still own 40% of all the wealth. It’s only a matter of time before another economic mudslide buries us anew inside that deep, deep hole.

spreadoption said...

Pearl just raised an issue that's been bugging me, too, for some time. While I always appreciate Paul Krugman's heroic efforts to discredit the Republicans and their treasonous economic ideology, I also resent his never-questioning support for Obama.

Karen's reply to PK was wonderful and I was pleased to see it ranked #4 in popularity among readers. What I suspect, however, is that the Obamabots there will fail to catch Karen's main point, "No matter who wins this election, all signs point to a bipartisan agreement [to cut, cut, cut and]... we’re emerging from it with our quality of life terribly diminished, our very lives foreshortened."

No matter who wins! is the point. The one is evil, the other complicit. We lose. America loses.

And the lemmings shuffle on...

What confuses me, though, is that even Paul Krugman doesn't seem to get it. I expect more of him than being another lesser-evil guy, and it galls me when he enthusiastically supports Obama at every turn, with nary a reproach, no matter how far into Reaganomic Republicanism Obama follows. I hate to say it, or even think it, but is it possible Krugman is a secretly paid shill for Obama? Or is he merely trying to keep his job with the NYT editors?

Karen Garcia said...

I think PK is being careful to be careful because he has such an outsized influence in the "liberal" community, and probably doesn't want an Obama defeat on his conscience. You may remember he warned in 2008 about the Obama Cult of Personality. And just last week,pre-debate, when it looked like Obama was a shoo-in, he wrote about the coming Grand Bargain. Also, note the similarity with the column his wife just wrote for The Guardian:

I think she, in turn, is a huge influence on her hubby. Some people suspect she even writes some of his columns.

Don't know if you've noticed, but I am done with being circumspect in the NYT comments threads. Now that the Obama website itself is openly boasting about cutting SS, I am trying to spread the word every chance I get. Some of the faithful are none too happy about it. And if you dare criticize the drone strikes, you are considered an Enemy of the State. Sad and scary.

Kat said...

Yes, thanks for your response to the Krugman column. It only points to how disconnected our elites are from the day to day realities of most Americans that everything must be spun as "how does this affect the race".
It is like yesterday with Tom Friedman's latest steaming pile. Most of the comments were "Mitt just doesn't get it" and only a few questioned the very premise of the column-- that heroic risk taking entrepreneurs will save the economy. Very few pointed out that it probably is not desirable for legions of Americans to be risking it all with a start up.

Kat said...

Mittens isn't going to win so don't waste your energy getting yourself all worked up. You and your fellow Obama supporters were first worked up over Michele Bachman, then Newt Gingrich and then Herman Cain. Now that the Republican nominee is Mitt Romney, you are all worked up about that.
Amen to that.
It is kind of sad when your argument begins "there will be plenty more (emphasis mine) people begging on the streets.

Pearl said...

Karen: (and spreadoption) I agree with your analysis Karen
of Krugman's "support" of Obama. Not only that, but I remember him making some offhand remarks about Obama's
qualifications for the job when he became president which didn't sit well
with readers. I think he realized that he had to hold on to the
liberal/progressive community in order to get them to accept his financial and other warnings going on and had to be careful.

I do have a major difference with him which I commented on several times on
in his columns. He was more or less a defender of Obamacare and any
criticisms about the horribly inept health care bill that Obama fought for
were muted. I used my experiences and knowledge about our health care system
in Canada (where cutbacks are beginning to take place now thanks to the Harper regime) to tell him that until and unless a national single payer system was instituted which were what the majority of citizens supported,problems would continue regardless of the band aids being added.

Also, if he would say in his columns that it is a waste of time to vote for either candidate and to think about third party support, the N.Y.times would get rid of him overnight. He doesn't need the job as he would be offered positions of all kinds should he depart, but I think he wants to make a difference and the N.Y.Times reaches the entire world. Most of his readers are very hesitant to offer this solution and it is disturbing that another
choice besides the "acceptable" cannot even by spoken of in polite political circles and pits peopIe against each other.

I found Bob Herbert's article that I mentioned recently, disappointing because he works for a progressive outfit (Demo, I believe)
where his job would not be on the line and also because he is encouraging members of his own minority to vote for him. He surely knows that Obama has done little to help young black men get a foothold in the job world, and had
alluded to that in some of his N.Y.Times columns and I wonder how black support will hold up.
However as I also mentioned, he really got an earful from furious
progressives some of whom were involved in the civil rights struggle and were not kind to Herbert's article. It will be interesting to see the demographics of who voted for the candidates after the election.

Jay - Ottawa said...

Here’s modest proposal to end the class war with its obscene disparities of wealth: institute a "maximum [sic] wage." First, some background about the minimum wage.

There is no one single minimum wage from coast to coast, although we usually read comparisons based on the federal minimum wage (FMW). State and even city minimums prevail in many jurisdictions whenever a job is not touched by federal contracts or special legislation. About half of the states automatically adopt the FMW as their own, but a significant number of states either beat or trail the federal standard within their own circle of control.

That said, we know from a glance at the map in the link above that, generally speaking, the FMW is a representative measure of buying power. Twenty-four states use the FMW as their own; 17 exceed the FMW; 4 states trail the FMW; 5 states of the Deep South have no minimum wage whatsoever. Call it a wash.

We’ve all heard how the FMW has not kept up with inflation. In Lyndon Johnson’s last full year in office (1968) the FMW went up to $1.60/hr. If that level of buying power had been maintained, the FMW would now stand at $10.55/hr. Instead, it’s $7.25/hr with no hot executive or congressional moves to increase it soon. On an annual basis that means the minimum wage worker of today, in terms of buying power, is worse off by almost $7,000, compared to 1968.

How about solving the problem on this end by solving the problem at the other end? Shortly before Labor Day, Larry Hanley, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union, “called for a ‘maximum wage,’ a cap on the compensation that goes to the corporate execs who profit so hugely off low-wage labor.” The maximum wage would be 100 times the minimum wage. With the FMW about where it is now that would allow for an annual maximum wage of $1.5 million. Execs might then take a real interest in raising the minimum wage for workers, not from a refined sense of justice or proportion but as a means of boosting their own pay.

During WWII President Roosevelt proposed something along the same lines, but the Congress did not approve of capping the wages of tycoons. Instead, FDR and the Congress agreed to tax the super rich at around 94% for income over $200,000. However, the 1930s and 1940s were an exceptional time. The US was at war then. Oh, and there was a Depression. Things are so much different today.

Jay - Ottawa said...

Incidentally, the Canadian dollar is close to par with the USD, and, under the Canadian Constitution, provinces enjoy considerable independence as compared to states south of the border. Provinces set their own minimum wage, and those minimums range between $9.50 to $11.00/hr. Ontario, the most populace province by far, has had a minimum wage of $10.25 since March 2010.

Strictly speaking, since 1996, there is no federal minimum wage in Canada. A minimum wage federal worker (I assume there are few federal workers in that category) is paid the minimum wage of the province where the federal work is performed.

$9 - $11 minimum wage – not bad for a country with a late start at political independence and one tenth the population of the US. But, as Pearl reminds us from time to time, things they are a changing under a new and dominant ideology akin to that in the US. Canadian wage disparity may be less than in the US in absolute terms but it is escalating alarmingly at twice the rate.

Valerie said...

Australia's minimum wage - and the Australian dollar is also at parity with the U.S. dollar - is $15.96 per hour. PLUS we have socialized medicine so everyone has access to health care!

But we Americans maintain we have the greatest country and medical system in the world - maybe if you are super rich or even moderately rich but if you are a normal citizen pretty much the entire First World is leaving the good ole US of A in its dust in terms of quality of life for the Middle Class!