Friday, April 13, 2012

Out of Touch

Supporters of President Obama are frequently heard making the claim that Mitt Romney is "out of touch" with the average American. He has been insulated by his wealth from the sorts of concerns and exigencies faced by middle class Americans, they say.

Well, perhaps this is true, but it sounds awfully strange coming from people who are striving to reelect a man who spent much of his childhood in distinctly unAmerican Indonesia and then in Hawaii, who spent his college years in the insular cocoon of ivy league schools, who then taught law students at the university level, and who worked as a community organizer dealing mostly with inner city poor. From there he was catapulted into the state legislature, then into the U.S. Senate, and finally into the White House.

So, when in his adult life has Mr. Obama rubbed elbows with middle class Americans? What does he know of their values and problems? How is he any more "in touch" with average people than is Mitt Romney? He's never worked a blue-collar job. He's never sent his kids to a public school. He's never had to meet a payroll. He's probably never had to worry about making a mortgage payment.

There's nothing wrong with any of this, of course, but there is something wrong with one of the most out of touch presidents in modern history having his surrogates fault his opponent for being out of touch with average Americans.

Tax the Rich

CNBC's financial analyst Rick Santelli expresses quiet doubt (I'm kidding) that raising taxes on "millionaires and billionaires" as the president keeps insisting we do will do any good at all:
I suggest that anyone who wants others to pay higher taxes should be asked whether they themselves take any of the deductions to which they're legally entitled. If they do, then they should be asked why they do. There's something hypocritical about saying on the one hand that we should all be willing to pay more tax to the government and on the other ensuring that one pays as little tax as he can.

Warren Buffet, the multibillionaire who complained that his secretary pays at a higher rate than he does and urged that the wealthy be required to pay more than they do, is a good example of this hypocrisy. Buffet is ten years delinquent in his own tax obligation, he owes the IRS a billion dollars, and he's fighting them to keep from having to pay it. What a guy.