Romney: Do What I Say Not What I Do

Ezra KleinIn a widely quoted passage from The Real Romney, Kranish and Helman explain that when Romney was asked to take over Bain Capital, he first demurred. It was only when he received guarantees that if the Bain Capital venture went bad he would not lose any money and that his reputation would be protected.

Ezra Klein today, uses this story to discuss Romney’s economic policies. He goes on to discuss the careful “no way I can lose” manner that Romney left Bain Capital. And this, to Klein, shows the lie of Romney’s entire argument for cutting the taxes of rich people:

But Romney’s policies seems to reflect the inverse of these lessons: They increase the rewards for taking risks that pay off handsomely while reducing the baseline level of security people need to take those risks. In that way, his platform seems likely to widen the economic gap between the rich and the poor, as it will be even harder for a working class father who can’t count on having health insurance for his family to leave his company and start a new business, but it will be even more profitable for a son of privilege to take a sweetheart deal to start a new business.

There is a sense in the United States that the rich play by different rules than the poor or the middle class — rules that make it easier for them to get even richer. Romney history show he has been aggressive in taking advantage of those rules, which is fine. But his proposed policies would make it even easier for the rich to stay rich and even more difficult for the poor to scrape by, which is not fine. As Romney likes to say, the American people don’t resent success. But they do resent tax cuts for the rich at the cost of health care for the poor.

Let me put this more directly than Klein does: Romney’s wealth does not come from risk taking; it comes from risk avoidance. His argument that the rich need to be rewarded for taking risks is belied by his own story. People need a certain amount of security if they are going to take risks. Romney’s economic ideas will only make the wealthy more so and provide fewer options for everyone else.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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