(Posted out of order)
The policy proposals expressed by GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney have been unremittingly brutal to the poor.
His explanation has been that short-term pain for the poor will give them the incentive to lead more productive lives.
Running mate Paul Ryan explained that the safety net has become a “hammock” that leads to dependence.
Romney and Ryan are determined to eliminate health-care access to tens of millions. They want to downsize Medicare and make drastic cuts to Medicaid. They want to reduce taxes on the wealthy while increasing military expenditures and reducing the deficit, goals that can only be accomplished by increasing taxes on the middle class and reducing programs for the poor.
Many Americans of both parties struggled quietly with the logic of Romney’s proposals. If the goal is to reduce the number of people who are poor and dependent upon governmental assistance, don’t they need to have the opportunity to improve themselves? How does a person with no assets, no access to health care, no child care, no transportation and no ability to finance an education, lift herself from poverty?
Romney’s brutal answer — an answer inconsistent with both American and Republican values — is that providing opportunity is a waste of time and money.
“I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives,” Romney said in a candid appraisal to wealthy donors.
In a videotape released Monday, Romney was specific about the lost souls to whom he was referring. They are, he said, the 47 percent of the population that pay no income tax, “who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them.”
Many have questioned the relevance of the oft-quoted GOP mantra, “Equality of opportunity, not of outcome.” It seemed an odd rallying cry for one party, because both parties agreed with it.
The shouts of, “equality of opportunity,” however, may have particular resonance within a divided Republican Party. Providing opportunity is not a goal for Romney, because he believes that almost half of Americans have no desire to advance themselves. They are content in their dependency, luxuriating in an existence that, while impoverished, includes health care, food and housing.
Romney’s words were not those of a candidate who believes in “American excellence.” They were the words of a man born to privilege who has written off half the American people as deadweight.