Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mitt Romney: Will Direct His Policies to the "Middle Class" -- Not the "Very Poor"

Mitt Romney has created a stir with comments he made during a CNN interview today. Romney stated that his policies will not focus on the "very rich" or the "very poor." Instead, he would direct his energy and policies toward middle-class Americans. When the interviewer asked Romney to explain his position, he elaborated that the country already has a safety net that protects the most impoverished Americans and that if it needed repairing, he would do so.

Liberal commentators have pounced upon these statements, claiming that they demonstrate Romney's indifference to poor folks. I have a few responses.

FIRST, Romney's critics are correct. His comments show a stunning disregard for poor folks, including the working poor who cannot qualify for many government benefits. Even though he also said that he was not concerned about very rich folks, the President of the United States should have a deep concern for the plight of poor folks.

SECOND, Although Democrats have not said anything as politically sloppy as Romney with respect to poor folks, their rhetoric often focuses on the middle-class as well. President Obama, for example, created a Middle-Class Task Force during the first month of his presidency.  He did not, however, create a similar task force for poor people. Also, when Obama tours important swing states, his speeches usually stress the plight of middle-class Americans above all others. Basically, both parties are chasing large chunks of middle-class voters who live in states such as Ohio, Florida, Missouri, and other "purple" jurisdictions. If the "very poor" were a larger voting bloc and antipoverty programs had more support among voters, then both parties would pay more attention to the needs of poor folks.

So, Romney has made a very troubling statement. But it is hard to say that Democrats are doing all that they can do for poor people. Democrats' policies, however, do more for poor people than the policies advocated by most Republican politicians.

1 comment:

Sam said...

The underlying reality in this regard is that many "poor people" do not vote (for whatever reason or reasons). It is impolitic in terms of "who is the average likely voter?" to publicly advertise that you plan to "do more for the poor", because a great many of those "likely voters" deeply resent any helping hand extended to "those people". It is a sad truth that when it comes to doling out government aid, many of us are selfish, resentful people. Having said this much, it is still "far more likely" that a Democrat will at least "try" to do more for the poor than will a Republican. Human nature is often not very pretty.

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