Some TACers might remember a couple of Monty Python sketches relating to rich people. In one Michael Palin approaches John Cleese and asks him to contribute money to a fund for orphans. Cleese cannot figure out why he would want to do something like that and questions what the orphans will do with the money. He then goes off into a reverie about how wealthy he is, “Yes, yes I am extremely rich. Quite extraordinarily rich, really.” In another sketch Graham Chapman plays an upper class twit who has a multiple and incomprehensible surname which he then explains “…is pronounced Luxury Yacht.”
Python came to mind when I read the Mitt Romney tax story today, \$6.2 million paid in tax on \$42 million in income over the past two years. I cannot even imagine what \$42 million in income, not assets, must look like and it is hard for me to imagine what Romney has in common with most Americans. Does he really understand what has happened to the economy and to the middle and working classes over the past five years?
I have followed the debate over Bain with some attention and do understand how a company in trouble sometimes has to be taken over, reorganized and restored to health, or dissolved if it is beyond saving. But is that really what Romney did? How often was a company taken over only because its assets exceeded the takeover price, meaning that the company was then stripped of assets and allowed to go out of business, resulting in the loss of jobs and livelihoods as “collateral damage.” Was this some kind of benign intervention or predatory capitalism at its worst? Clearly, whatever it actually was resulted in a vast fortune for Romney which I have seen estimated to be in the \$250 million range. Romney’s father George was also a rich man but at least he built cars to make his fortune. What has Mitt built? And why would we want a man whose life as a “businessman” has revolved around such an enterprise to be our president?