President Obama's recent comment that "the private sector is doing fine" seemed innocent enough in the context of his speech which compared the positive job growth in the private sector to job losses in the public sector. Still, it was a gaffe and it took Mitt Romney only minutes to point out his error.
But in doing so, Romney revealed more about himself than perhaps he intended when he said, "He says he wants another stimulus, he wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It's time for us to cut back on government and help the American people."
Help the American people? Really? Which American people? Certainly not Wisconsin firemen, policemen, teachers or Wisconsin public employees.
What about auto workers? Apparently not. In 2008, he wrote a New York Times op-ed saying "Let Detroit go bankrupt" and has repeatedly criticized the auto industry bailout. But now that the industry is booming again, Romney says it was his idea and he would "take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry's come back."
What about union workers? Not a chance. He has routinely blamed unions for our economic ills and applauded Scott Walker's union busting victory in Wisconsin. He has called for the repeal of a federal law requiring the prevailing local wage to be paid on public-works projects, pledged that on the first day of his presidency he would forbid any union preference in federal contracting and will fight rules allowing union dues to be taken out of paychecks to fund political activities.
What about the poor? Not even close. He said, "I am very supportive of the Ryan budget plan" and "I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there." Of course that safety net includes Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, Planned Parenthood, etc., all programs he and Paul Ryan want to scrap, cut or privatize.
What about foreclosed home owners? Nope. He said, "Don't try and stop the foreclosure process ... Let it run its course and hit the bottom, allow investors to buy up homes, put renters in them, fix the homes up, and let it turn around and come back up."
What about women? Hardly. He is anti-contraception, anti-abortion and has vowed to overturn Roe v. Wade. He said, "Planned Parenthood, we'll get rid of that." He refused to take a stand on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Wages Act. When pressed by the media for an answer, his spokesperson said, "Sam, we'll get back to you on that."
What about students? I guess not. He wanted to double the college student loan rate to 6.8 percent. And in May, at a failing Philadelphia charter school, he said to a panel of disbelieving teachers, "smaller class size doesn't do any good" despite numerous studies that show otherwise.
What about the unemployed? You be the judge. He has criticized every job creation bill President Obama has put forth including the American Jobs Act. And on May 18, he said, "I wish Californians had elected Meg Whitman (Hewlett-Packard CEO and losing candidate for California governor). She would have been more successful and explained to Californians the need to cut back on spending and eliminate unnecessary programs." On that same day, Whitman announced she intends to eliminate 30,000 American jobs mostly through layoffs and forced early retirement. Even though Hewlett-Packard made a staggering $7.1 billion profit in 2011, Whitman is cutting these jobs in America while leaving jobs intact in China and elsewhere.
Romney's plan to "help the American people" is to cut more public sector jobs, cut taxes for the wealthy and continue the same trickle-down economics that got us into this mess. So when he says "American people" he clearly doesn't mean middle-class firemen, policemen, teachers, other public employees, auto workers, union workers, foreclosed home owners, women, students, the unemployed or the poor. Perhaps by "American people" he means others like himself ... as reflected by his own words:
"I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners."
"Corporations are people, my friend."
"I like being able to fire people who provide services to me."
"Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs."
"I get speaker's fees from time to time, but not very much," (Romney's fees are $374,000) (Politico, Jan 18, 2012)
"Rick (Perry), I'll tell you what: 10,000 bucks? $10,000 bet?" (It takes 50 percent of Americans 5 months to earn $10,000)
"If you want to go into business, borrow some money from your parents."
Decide for yourselves. Based on his own words, which American people do you think Romney is going to help?
"Speech is a mirror of the soul; as a man speaks, so is he." Pulilius Syrus (~100 BC)
Beauchamp is a retired aerospace marketing director and consultant and a member of the local Coffee Party living in North Ogden.