You may have heard that, in what he thought was a joke, Mitt Romney told a group of unemployed Americans, “I’m unemployed, too.” He meant it to be funny, but it was a strikingly sad statement about how fundamentally out of touch not only Mitt Romney is — but how most big business CEOs and millionaires are out of touch with the plight of ordinary people.
When you are used to making more money in a day than most workers make in a year, even when you’re out of work you’re not really in the same league as the average unemployed or underemployed Joe and Jane. And pretending you are is plainly insulting.
But what’s more, Mitt Romney’s callousness and aloofness reveals a fundamental flaw with the notion that running a successful business qualifies you to run a successful government. The problem hinges on the definition of “success”. A successful business makes money for investors and CEO shareholders, even if it does so by dismembering the American economy and sending jobs overseas — as Romney did at Bain. In other words, often the most successful businesses make money for the few at the expense of the many.
Successful government, on the other hand, works for everyone — creating opportunity not just for those at the top but also those at the bottom and everywhere in between. Plus successful government doesn’t hand the reigns of power over to corporations, no matter how much campaign money they give, but acts as a vital check and balance to the private sector so that the dangers of unchecked greed are not unleashed.
Mitt Romney got rich by helping break the back of the American economy. That does not make him qualified to be president. In fact, if there’s any justice in the world, he really should be unemployed.
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